ISSUE 21: May 2006
Yard Salers: Issue 21! The Changing Landscape of eBay Inventory
Wow..it's hard to believe it's been since last June that I've put out an issue of this newsletter. In this issue, I plan to discuss many of the topics I've been itching to cover in the past months, and also answer much of your reader mail that has come in during that time.
But first, I want to address what has been keeping me so busy. I have been working on two different books about eBay...and for some of the past few months, working on them both simultaneously. (Please bear with me here while I say a bit about each..not to worry, this is the only plug for them in
the whole newsletter).
But the good news is, they should both be out and available for purchase from book stores and amazon.com very soon!
The first is titled "The eBay Price Guide" (from No Starch Press -- "The Finest in Geek Entertainment"), and it's due out in late May.
Those of you who liked my ebook, "What Sells on eBay for What," should love this book. It's a compendium of samples of high and average prices frompopular categories and subcategories all over eBay. Every category is covered.
I must tell you, it was quite an education to probe the many nooks and crannies of eBay, and to look at categories I never really considered browsing before. From the everyday such as iPods and bed sheets, to the more bizarre -- a funeral plot next to John Wayne, anyone? -- or the services of a personal assistant for the duration of his life -- it's all there.
I hope it gives you many ideas of both things to sell and things to buy. Certainly, it will save you many hours of research, and it can also be a starting point for further research of your own.
I knew that book would be a daunting task, and indeed it was. Of all the projects I've every worked on in my life, that one was the most time-consuming, although it was so interesting that alleviated the work. I can definitely say that book is well worth the purchase price.
The other book is an update of the book I currently have out with Wiley, "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks."
That book has now been completely updated with all new screen shots, and it also has 20 new tips, with some of the latest tools for eBay such as adding audio to your auction, using Google Adwords to drive traffic to your auctions, and eBay's Blackthorne content management tool.
I'm glad to be getting back into the swing of the newsletter, and I want to thank everyone for hanging in there so patiently for this next issue. I can definitely say I've missed my readers!
I did want to mention that I do plan to attend eBay Live again this year, which will be in Las Vegas. So I look forward to meeting those of you will be there, and for those who will not, I hope I can bring a lot of the conference to you, via some articles I will be writing for AuctionBytes (www.auctionbytes.com) and my blog bidbits.
The url is:
I also have a typepad blog at: bidbits
The url is: http://juliawww.typepad.com/bidbits/
If you want to catch up with what I've been doing in the last several months, as well as read some of my commentary on last June's eBay Live, check it out.
So, without further ado, let's get to it!
Do you have your copy of Julia's book, “eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks”?
It's available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. If you do want to order the book,
I’d appreciate if you’d support Yard Salers and
eBayers by using my affiliate link below.
ebay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks
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In This Issue:
1) Craig's List to Yard Sale Twists: The Changing Landscape of Acquiring Inventory
2) What Sells: A Look at Albums...Yes, Albums
3) Requests for eBay Live 2006?
4) Reader Mail -- Lots of Reader Mail
1) Craig's List to Yard Sale Twists: The Changing Landscape of Acquiring Inventory and What You Can Do About It
If I've seen one change in the last year that has most affected eBay sellers, at least from my perspective, it's the increasing savviness of sellers at yard and estate sales. More often, as I go to sales, the seller has looked up the value or values of his most expensive items, and priced accordingly.
The worst example of this I've seen is at a recent "estate sale" I attended, described in the newspaper ad as a couple of university professors selling off many of their art and architecture books. Now, if you sell books online as I do, you probably know that those are two book subjects that can do very well in resale.
So I show up right at the start of the sale (which for some reason had terrible signage, and a lot of cars were getting lost and making U-turns along the way), bright-eyed and bushy-tailed...and what do I and the other buyers see but book after book priced outrageously high, every one of them with a sheet inserted, a printout of the book's looked-up value online! And these prices weren't even the more realistic eBay closing prices, but prices from specialty sites such as abebooks.com, which tend to skew higher.
Well, needless to say, the buyers were irked, but the other thing was, nobody was buying anything. A couple folks may have come to buy at full price, but most of us were there to pick up inventory, or at least to pick up books at a good cheap price.
The sellers, becoming aware of this, started hustling a little..but they didn't yet mark down the books. When I complimented a sheepskin rug they had (also marked too high, in my opinion), one of the sellers said she could come down in price..some $20 or $30, but off of a few hundred follars, that didn't do it for me.
Hey, you're talking to the person who nabbed three genuine Moroccan white-and-brown fur rugs for a cool $10! I mean, come on! ;)
Now, although I thought the prices were way too high, and the sellers were foolish to price things so high, as nothing was selling, I did not openly display or verbalize those thoughts. I try to be polite at sales and see no point in griping, disappointed though I was. A couple of people were grumbling, and I don't think that is productive, much less polite...plus, if the sellers did drop their prices, at the next day of the sale (which in
this case they did), they may remember you and not be inclined to offer you any special deals.
In any event, I have seen more of this phenomenon, even at the little ongoing book sale at my local library. They price the most valuable books and put a slip in them citing their online value -- Those librarians aren't gonna be steered away from making top dollar on their best books, I guess. Not that they should -- but it does take a lot of the fun out of it. At least they price the books a bit lower than the online price.
Now, thankfully, not everyone is doing this. You can still find good deals and rock-bottom prices at classic yard sales, from sellers who realize people expect dirt-cheap prices at such events. This is something I understand, too, when I conduct my own yard sales: stuff needs to be priced very low. You can have a few things priced a bit higher, but they should be a lot cheaper than they would cost retail. And you should have at least a few big-ticket or attention-getting items...just setting out a bunch of used mugs and rickety frames ain't gonna cut it.
(OK, so some vintage mugs do well...I recall one old Burger King by Fire King mug that fetched $50 on eBay; this is in my eBay Price Guide book.. But still...you get the idea). ;)
But if so many more sales are going in this direction, is there no way you can get around this? Let's discuss the ways as I see it now.
1) Check other online venues, such as Craig's List.
I now regularly check both Craig's List (www.craigslist.org) as well as the newspaper for yard and estate sale ads. Although Craig's List is getting more popular all the time (a recent Wall St. Journal article cited it as a growing and often effective site for listing real estate), I still see it as lower-profile than, say, The Washington Post classifieds. A yard sale ad
in the Post will likely be swarmed with people at the opening of the sale.
Even if you get there early, this leads to what I've been increasingly feeling is a swarm like the running of the bulls in Pamplona: people stream into the house and frantically grab items they think they might want. Yikes.
So a Craig's List sale, I have found, often has less traffic, and therefore less competition for you, than a newspaper-ad sale. Another thing that can be nice about them is that you can set up a special time to meet the seller, and so you can get to the item before anyone else does.
A Craig's List ad, by its nature, encourages one-on-one contact between seller and buyer, because the ad generates an anonymous email address you can respond to. The poster can then either call or email you, can you can set up a meeting time. (Some posters do simply list a day and time for a sale, but others set it up on an appointment-only basis. You can also email the lister of a yard sale and ask if you can see some of their items ahead of the sale).
I contacted someone recently who listed some antique boxes on Craig's list, and set up a time to meet her at her apartment. She was a young artist who was moving to California, and we chatted about her art as well, which she was thinking of selling too, but wasn't quite ready. I bought both boxes for $10, and she also offered me a nice bike, and four director's chairs for $10 each. I didn't have room for the bike, but I picked up the director's chairs, which were in great condition. If I had wanted, I could have bought
her drafting table as well. So the point there is these sales can lead to other things that may not even have been mentioned in the Craig's List ad.
So look beyond your local paper for sale ads. Other sources of stuff online: Freecycle.org, Booksalefinder.com, www.swapthing.com.
2) Get Things to Come to You. A couple of successful sellers I know, Craig Stark, editor of Bookthink.com (buys and sells books), and Terry Gibbs of iwantcollectibles.com (sells mostly collectible toy trains), regularly run ads in local papers and other venues that offer cash for people's items. They both write about their techniques in their newsletters and special reports, so if you want to read more, you can go to their web sites and check that out. (Terry also has advice for getting into estate sales early and
cherry-picking; Craig gives great advice on how exactly to word your ad to get good results).
This technique gives you two edges. One, you get to see people's stuff first, before the feeding frenzy of an estate or yard sale. (Assuming the seller calls you first, before any other dealers, but even if they call other dealers, you are most likely dealing with less competition).
If the thought of soliciting inventory intimidates you, try starting small, as I am doing, with an ad in a smaller, local paper, or even a paper targeted to a certain demographic group.
3) Sell Value-Added or Self-Made Items
eBay sellers who sell refurbished electronics or other goods are selling value-added items. They are buying their inventory, in that case items which are broken or need some kind of work, fixing them, and reselling. So they can buy them cheap, add value, and resell for a profit (hopefully).
But there are other ways to add value. One way that I do this is to make jewelry out of quality raw material which I buy at cheap prices at yard or estate sales. I find jewelry is often a good candidate for value adding because things go in and out of fashion so much, and people also get rid of jewelry a lot..I find it at almost every sale I attend. The key is getting nice enough materials -- real semiprecious gemstones, for example, as opposed to plastic beads -- and reworking them into a piece that is in style currently and that people will want. (Sometimes I will go on retailers' web sites, such as Nordstrom.com, go to their jewelry sections and do a sort by "bestselling," to get an idea of what people are currently buying. Try it out sometime; it's an education!).
4) Go West, young man (or woman). Or east, or south, or north..whatever age you are!
The idea is to get out of Dodge and seek out venues that are new to you, and preferably which are not overly trafficked. Some of my best finds were in a small-town community yard sale, a place about a three hours drive southwest of where I live. That is where I found a wonderful oil painting in an ornate gold wooden frame and an old baseball board game that was almost 10 years old for $5 each.
Still haven't read my bestselling eBay book, "What Sells on eBay for What"! You can buy it and download it instantly -- click What Sells on eBay for What or go to
SUBSCRIBE TO BOOKTHINK'S 50/50
New! A Market Report for Booksellers
What could be more important for booksellers than to know when to buy a book and when not to? Not anything I can think of. If you have a substantial amount of this kind of information in mind when you go to sales or can access it quickly (via a notebook or some sort of handheld device), great. There'll be no stopping you.
50/50 is a detailed market report that lists and annotates 50 books that typically sell for more than $50 online and - here's the best part -
surface at sales and other venues with some regularity. This is information you can use and profit from often. Uncommon books will not be included.
Here's a sample of what you're likely to see in 50/50:
THE COMPACT EDITION OF THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY
2-volumes. Unabridged. Originally issued in dark blue cloth with a 3-compartment box, the upper compartment housing a boxed magnifying glass that operated like a drawer. The magnifying glass was essential for reading microprint, a necessary evil in condensing what was originally a 10-volume set into 2. Beginning in the early 1970's, Book-of-the-Month-Club offered these dictionaries at deep discounts for new members. Many sold, and many are still out there. Values are understandably lower if the box and/or
magnifying glass is missing, but final values at or near $100 are commonplace.
So, if you could use 50 of these every other month, then BookThink's 50/50 will bring them to you. As with BookThink's Gold Edition, BookThink's 50/50 is available for purchase
either by annual subscription at $20 or individually at $10.
Click here to subscribe instantly:
2) What Sells: A Look at Albums...Yes, Albums
Albums. Remember albums? Otherwise known as records, or even, redundantly, "record albums." Or, 45s, 33s,78s.
Well, no one really said 33s and 78s, but you get the idea. I'm talking vinyl.."styluses and grooves," as a local dj once put it.
I want to look at albums in this issue for two reasons. One, it dovetails nicely with my theme in the first feature about finding under-the-radar items in this increasingly competitive yard and estate sale
Two, the reader who wrote me in the last issue about comic books had also asked about the prices ofold records, and I didn't get a chance to answer him.
When I was doing research for my forthcoming paperback book, the eBay Price Guide, one of the things I learned were that albums tended to be more collectible than other forms of music, such as cassettes, and even CD's. The highs for in-demand albums in good condition were often higher than that
of other mediums. Some point to the larger format of the album, with its big cardboard cover which is itself a hangable piece or art (they even make special frames for albums, which I have seen, at least, at Restoration Hardware).
By definition, albums older than other music formats, so you get the vintage factor with them automatically. They also stir up a certain nostalgia in collectors that is unmatched by the flimsy, easily broken cassette or
charmless plastic cd. Those of us who remember buying them new are warmed by memories of staring at the cover art, picking out the celebrities on the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album cover, for example, or checking out
the wild fantastic illustrations on a Led Zeppelin cover.
The other thing about albums is that they tend to be available in abundance at yard and estate sales, and in my experience they are much less poked-through than books, jewelry, kitchenware, and the like (and sometimes ignored altogether).
I took a look at albums the other day with the Hammertap DeepAnalysis tool, and decided to pull up some high sellers by band name. The reason for this is that it's easier for me to pull up a bunch of stats by keyword, such as band name, than to do a manual completed items search on
the general "Records" subcategory.
So let's take a look at some of the results. For now, we'll look at well-known or particularly collectible
rock bands with names that start with letter toward the beginning of the alphabet.
AC/DC - ANGUS HANGAR - HYPER RARE 2 LPs! live 1984 - $830.00
AC/DC ultra-rare "Let There Be Rock" TEST PRESS 1977! - $815.00
6 ac/dc albums - $543.00 BIN
AC/DC Dog eat Dog / Carry me home '77 Alberts - $207.50
AC/DC 15 LP Box Set 180 Gram EPIC 90643-S1 15 - $180.00
OK, great. So those rare records, including a big box set, bring in some nice dinero. But what is the average selling price of all AC/DC albums that were in this sample? $16.07. What kind of AC/DCs are selling for that?
- AC DC Sealed Back In Black 180 Gram sealed Vinyl LP - $17.95
OK, this is the "Back in Black" album, a plain black cover with the AC/DC lightning bolt logo. It is a new, sealed, album. What about an unsealed "Back in Black," in average condition, where the album cover shows some wear? One of those sold for $4.95. You can also get "Back in Black" in used CD format, with maybe a couple of scratches. for around $1.95; a couple of them sold for that.
Lesson? Rare AC/DCs: good. Grab and sell. Common AC/DC albums that are still sealed or in like-new condition? Probably worth your while; I'd buy it if I could pick it up for a buck or so.
Common AC/DCs in not-so-great condition? Most likely not worth your while.
For the most part, this price rundown goes for all band albums. Rare albums, and this often includes foreign editions, are desirable; mint and excellent condition albums, even if a common record that had many printings,
also good, though probably won't bring as much as the rare albums; common, average-condition albums, fugeddaboutit.
How do you know what the rare ones are? Some are easy to pick out. Instinct, and some knowledge of the band in question helps. But if you have a hunch, for a buck or less, I'd say it's worth acting on. It's at least easier to carry a big stack of album hunches out of a yard sale than heavier, clunkier book hunches.
OK, let's look at some more goodies:
- Rare ABBA singles collection box set + rare bonus !!!!! - $257.43
- HOT TRACKS Series 1 Issue 3 ABBA/LIPPS. INC DJ REMIX LP - $127.50
- ABBA Dancing Queen RARE DISCO 12" $100 MINT! - $110.55
- ABBA Does Your Mother Know 7" PS South America ECUADOR - $108.01
- ABBA "Greatest Hits" '80s Malaysia LP $87.25
The foreign theme is really popping up here. See how much better foreign versions can do?
- ABBA PINK VINYL 12 inch PROMO RARE BRAZIL LP $87.00
- ABBA Dancing Special YELLOW WAX w/OBI Japan LP $56.01
- MEGARARE+++ABBA+++EAST GERMANY+++WATERLOO+++AMIGA LP+++ $49.99
- pre ABBA - Ring Ring 7" PS BRAZIL 1973 no cd lp signed $42.00
- ABBA Disco Special 2 BLUE WAX w/OBI Japan LP $36.00
- ABBA: GREATEST HITS~RARE POLAR TAIWAN LP $33.00
Does this mean all foreign albums sell for more? Not necessarily -- "ABBA greatest hits 24 JAPAN DBL LP w/OBI 7577" sold for just $7.49. But, I definitely see a trend of foreign editions in the highest end of
prices. (We also have to remember what is "foreign" to us is not "foreign" to someone eBaying in another country, and in two of the eBay sales
I checked out, buyers and sellers all were non-U.S.).
A more common ABBA? ABBA - GREATEST HITS VOL.2 - LP RECORD in "fair condition" sold for $4.99.
AEROSMITH TOYS IN THE ATTIC ORIG 1975 QUADRAPHONIC LP - $49.99
AEROSMITH-Superstar Live Radio Concert Show-3 LP-NM - $46.90
The average price of an Aerosmith LP in this sample is $12.24.
A common album: Aerosmith Greatist Hits LP Record 1980 sold for $2.24.
That's all the albums for today. On a final note, I have to share an album yard-sale experience that really made me smile. I came across the very first album I ever owned (that I remember), a compilation LP called
"Fantastic," given to me by my brother and sister, circa 1973, from K-Tel...oh yes, who remembers K-Tel International?
Featuring the unforgettable "Rock 'n Roll Part Two," (you know, the "Hey" song they play at basketball games); "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John; "I Wanna Be with You" by the Raspberries, and many other period pieces.
That one only cost $1, and a recent sale is a whopping $1.99 on eBay. Did I buy it? You bet I did! It's not always about the money. ;) Sometimes a Seger is just a Seger.
3) Requests for eBay Live 2006?
Can't make it to eBay Live in Vegas this year? No problem...I'll be covering some of the action for AuctionBytes for Ina Steiner, and also blogging from it, so it will be the next best thing to being there.
Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's fame will speak there, as will venture
capitalist/author/former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki, among others.
And let's not forget the band this year: Huey Lewis & the News.
Any requests, questions, etc..please email me!
4) Reader Mail -- Lots of Reader Mail
Treasures in the Junk Drawer
Greetings, My eBay name is barterjunkie0. 1st. of all I love your site and I thought I may have a couple of tips that might help someone. Warning , I have a problem with describing everything in complete detail and making your eyes cross from too many words, So Be Careful. Remember, Safety First Please !
One of my Biggest tips is for Yard Salers, a part of my life that I can't remember not doing. All Priorities & Responsibilities go out the window when your eye catches a glimpse of a handmade sign or balloons nailed onto a telephone pole, and even if the sale happened the week before, it doesn't matter because now you are on a mission of finding one that is happening now. Everything else will just have to wait. Sorry.
Anyway one of my best tips is try to find Thursday garage or yardsales. It usually means that the person desperately needs to get rid of stuff but doesn't want it to impose on their weekend plans, so they will be selling dirt cheap to just get rid of it all and get on to their weekend.
Another reason is that they have so much stuff that they think it's going to take longer than a Friday or Sat. to get rid of it all. What they don't realize is you Never Ever get rid of it all unless someone buys you out.
Your biggest advantages are fairly obvious, especially if you get there before anyone else does. You get the pick of the finest stuff. Go at least a half hour early before they start, bring some coffee, a paperback to hide your wandering eyes, stand on the sidewalk or lean against a tree but absolutely under No circumstances go into their yard and do Not ask to go in early. Just say Hi, I guess I got here a little early. I'll make myself scarce and stay out of your way until you are ready. Just give me a Yell.
Whatever you do do Not ask them, Do you have any of this, or any of that. Do Not Ask them Anything at All, Unless they need help with something, carrying something heavy, etc. Totally disrespectful to interfere before the time they posted for opening. This is when
they are the busiest and have a thousand things on their mind. The only reason you are there is to see what comes out, where it's displayed, and to put a little roadmap in your head of how you are going to scarf it up with the least amount of wasted energy, but without totally looking like you are obsessed when the gate opens. Just know where you're going and what you're going to do. Ask for a price of an object here and there, not on everything, because your 1st. job is to lay claim to it. Sorry I'm such a motormouth.
2 more small but very important tips. If it's an Estate sale, believe it, ask where the junk drawers are in the kitchen 1st thing. Basically because there are potentially hundreds of things, and hundreds of dollars worth of stuff to go through and pick from that are a dime or less, or a couple
dollars for the whole drawer.
BTW, If you've got the drawer pulled out, you have just laid claim to everything in it till you're tired of looking at it. So, when you can feel a couple of bodies almost on top of you from behind looking over your shoulder, cure them quick of it by acting like you don't know they are there and turn around real quick with the drawer in your hand to take over to the table to sit down and go through. Immediately they will go flying off backwards to avoid touching you and being caught. Ha! I Love it. They will have the same look that someone would have if they got caught window peeking. They will look so guilty they won't dare come near you or even look at you again. Sometimes I get such a kick out of doing it that I will set some poor suckers up by hovering over the drawer Oohing & Aahing just waiting for them.
Anyway, The potential of what you will find in a junk drawer will boggle your mind. Always ask,"How much for the "JUNK" in the "JUNK Drawer?" Oh I don't know, $10 for all of it, is that OK ? Yah, I suppose. Think about what is in your kitchen junk drawer and you'll understand what I'm saying here. I've found that you will easily make 50- 100 times what you paid for a typical families junk drawer that hasn't been gone through yet. Easily !
There's pocketknives, tools, rings, old advertising pocketknives, bottle openers, advertising thermometers, old coins,you name it. So whatever you do, Don't forget that tip. OK, that'll be $10 Pay at this window please. Ha!
Besides all of the obvious things to do and look for at a sale, Always take along some business cards, downplaying your Lofty eBay position by just saying on the cards. "We Buy Junk" and Never mention eBay. You'll be seen as a Vulture, Trust Me. Give them a card on your way out if it looks like there is going to be a lot of good stuff left over, and tell them that if they can't get rid of it all , and don't feel like carrying it all back into
the house again, to end up looking at their boxes full of junk for the next year or so, that they don't want anymore anyway, until the next time they have a sale, that they swore they'd Never have again anyway, Give me a call. I'll send my 2 nephews over this evening, give you 20-30 bucks, we'll haul it off and the kids will clean up the mess. I've gotten as much as 2 full truckloads of Good stuff for a whole 20 dollar bill. Sorry about being such a ratchet jaw.
Here's an excellent eBay tip. In your first newsletter you mentioned getting things cheaply using misspelled words to find them. Well everyone probably knows about this one site by now, but just in case. They have an excellent toolbar that is free and so far hasn't given me any spyware or any problems of any kind, and they are excellent people. This toolbar, if you type in the correct spelling of a word, will come up with every possible way
to misspell it and at the same time round up everything that is misspelled for that word, on All of eBay, and all in about 20 seconds on Dialup. Pretty amazing. It's Free and I have absolutely no affiliation with these people other than using some of there STUFF. The name of the site is www.misspellsearch.com. Gotta go.
Love your site and hope I didn't wear you
all out .
Thanks for the helpful (and funny!) letter. I agree that Thursday sales are great, if you can find 'em. I haven't tried the kitchen drawer tip yet, but I will. It's true that they may contain some under-the-radar gold. When I was researching "The eBay Price Guide," I was struck by how some unassuming items, like old advertising mugs (like the aforementioned Burger King employee mug made by Fire King) could sell for a lot of
money. Not all such items can pay off, but if an item is cheap enough, you can take a chance on it. I'll try out the misspelling tool as well.
Thanks so much for writing!
Books: Postal Handling and "Down the River": Selling Books on amazon.com
Hi, again, Julia! Just to let you know my second package finally arrived...now I have some reading to do. Discovered I also have your other bound book already and have been reading it. I think it will be big help in my continuing "education." In reading your back issues of Yardsalers, thought you might be interested in an experience I had with the post office. I have used the same small local p.o. for over 30 years; i.e., they know me.
However they do get new employees!
I went in with a book to mail via media mail. They asked the standard question, "is there anything inside like a note, letter, etc.", which there wasn't. Even tho I assured them so, the clerk proceeded to open the package, remove the book, Hold out the two covers so they were horizontal to the spine and shake the book! I was appalled and speechless - a feat for this clerk in and of itself. This was a book that was 50 years old and not in the best shape to begin with. Obviously, this was not only not a book person but one who had had no instruction on how to handle books, if they did want to inspect.
Although I was speechless that day, the next day I went back to the postmaster and brought up the subject of training their personnel to handle books correctly and with care. A couple of the clerks have an "attitude" I would say. My solution? I don't mail books from this facility anymore. Not worth the hassle. Just thought you might be interested in my
Look forward to your next newsletter issues and I'm so glad to have found you. Have a great day! - Marilyn
So sorry for the delayed reply. Great story! That is true..sometimes they don't know how to handle things correctly. I leave most of my parcels in my mailbox or front porch to be picked up, but let's hope they're not doing that to them after they pick them up!
Thanks again for writing!
Hi, Julia! Good to hear from you, feel free to use my post office story, might be of value to others.
I wanted to pick your brain if I might about selling books on amazon. I'm getting ready to jump in. Do you sell on the auction site or the regular cost-basis site? I have been browsing and also wonder how people make any money when some of the hardbacks are sold really cheap. I've purchased from amazon and often will buy the lower-priced books and have had no problems. I wonder cause I have been buying books with the idea of selling them...a
lot at the $2.00 price range (what I'm paying). After figuring the fee and %, you almost just make your money back unless you can sell it for more. Just really interested in how the pricing comes into play. Any thoughts you'd care to share?
Hi again Marilyn!
Great questions. Let's do one at a time.
I sell on the regular fixed-price amazon marketplace, not their auctions site. I find it a good alternative to eBay auctions in some cases...usually with a little bit more common and/or newer books. I find that books tend to sell quickly on amazon if they're going to sell at all, and in general amazon has the reputation of having buyers who are willing to pay a bit more.
There are of course exceptions to that.
As to the $2 books and the like, I'm with you..I don't know how these people are making any money, unless they consider them to be "loss leaders" of some kind. I am really trying to stick to higher-end books like the $50 ones and up, but in truth I wind up with some $15-$40 or so. Eventually I'd like to only stick to the highest end, though. I find those books so cheap that I sometimes can rationalize selling them for $15 and up. I would steer clear of anything in the few bucks range; under $10 imo is just not worth our time.
Hope this helps at all..and do u mind if I use your most recent letter in my newsletter or blog, w/ your first name only?
Thanks so much and happy and lucrative selling!
Questions about My eBooks Ordering
Here is the original letter from Marilyn, which asked about my ebooks and prices, and which I'm printing here in case any others of y'all are wondering. Incidentally, I do plan to update my ebooks soon, and as I mentioned, the big eBay Price Guide book I worked on this past year should be out by June.
I'm a new subscriber - found you thru the Auction Sellers Resource. Liked the sample copy so much I spent hours printing out all the back issues and treat myself to reading at night. I'm a novice/haven't placed an auction yet ebaywannabe. Still feel I'm learning and there's just something about putting that first toe in there. I'm on the edge of the diving board, however.
Anyway, I'm interested in buying several of your books. I'd rather have the bound copy and not have to download it. Can I purchase
directly from you? I've checked the ebooks on your home site but it doesn't list the books you list in your newsletter.
Of course, I'm interested in the $4.95 and $8.95 values! Of course, of course! Let me know. By the way, your new home page design is great and seems totally appropriate. So glad I found you and look forward to your newsletters and your books.
I seem to have lost my original reply to Marilyn, but in case my memory is faulty and I did not yet reply, yes, Marilyn, you can certainly purchase from me directly, as can anyone. All you have to do is email me and let me know which ebook(s) you want, if you are a subscriber and thus eligible for the discount, and then PayPal me to my PayPal id at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don't encourage sending paper copies to people, but for people who really want that, I will send the paper version (just paper, not bound...yet anyway)
for just the cost of postage. It's usually between $2 and $4 media mail.
I'll be tweaking and updating the ebooks page on my web site soon.
Thanks again! Julia
NWT - New with Tags? What Tags?
I was reading your articles on the blog - and enjoying them greatly!
I wonder if you would help me with something that's been confusing me - the tags referred to in NWT - does that refer to the sewn-in tags, or store tags?
Thanks for your time,
Thanks so much...that really means a lot to me! Yours is the first comment I've seen about the blog. (OK, actually the second..the first said it "must be the most boring blog on the internet"..can't tell if it was a joke or not! So you can imagine how your comment especially came at a good time!
Yes..NWT..I'm pretty sure that means the paper, retail tags..usually attached with a plastic tie or string. That's a good question, tho..I wonder if other people are confused about it..probably so!
Thanks again! Hope you keep enjoying the blog.
As my mother and I go through items from my gram's forty years in the same house (reallycool 60s country kitsch, some silver, lots of glass), I keep thinking, "Someone could make a buck or more with this on eBay .... just not me."
Do you have any advice for selling a "lot" of these items to potential eBay sellers?
Sure. Well, I don't see why it couldn't be you making a buck or more (hopefully more) off these items, unless you just don't want the work of photographing them and creating the auction listings. If that's the case,
you could consider using one of the eBay drop-off stores which will sell the items for you (for a cost..many of them charge around 30-40% of the item's final sales price).
Without knowing more about the exact makes and models of the items, it's hard to say what they might bring in the eBay market, but if they are real silver, and vintage glass, my hunch is they'd probably be worth your while selling,
What I suggest is rounding up the similiar items (silver, glass, country
kitsch)...cleaning/polishing each up, and selling each as a lot. Best of luck, and if you get a chance, please drop us all a line and let us know how it went!
Thanks! - Julia
YOUR FEEDBACK WANTED: What Else Do You Want to See in Yardsalers?
I am always open to reader articles, so if you want to write about something relating to yard sale-ing and eBaying, just flag me down! I will of course give you credit, using your eBay ID, web site, or any other contact
That’s it for this issue. Until next time, happy yard sale-ing and eBaying!
eBooks by Julia L. Wilkinson:
[All my ebooks are offered at 1/2 price from their regular prices to the subscribers of this newsletter. If interested in any of them, please email me at email@example.com.]
- Making Big Bucks off Catalogs on eBay:
- Over 100 Books that Sell for $50-$100 on eBay: Updated for 2005!
- Selling Kids Clothes on eBay: email me!
(these last two will be available for purchase via my site soon).
- How to Spot Fakes - email me
What Sells on eBay for What: Now updated for 2005! $8.95, 1/2 price from the $17.95 retail price.
My Life at AOL (available at amazon.com, booklocker.com, and 1stbooks.com)
Copyright 2006 Julia L. Wilkinson
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