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ISSUE 4: January 05, 2003

Yard Salers and eBayers: Issue 4! 1.4 - Jan. 5, 2003

Greetings all!

I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season. If it seems like a while since you've heard from me, you're right; I took much of December off to focus on the various events around the holidays, and family. But I've been itching to get back into the auction world, and have lots of topics to write about. (Not to mention that I have a few auctions going I've been watching like a hawk). So let's get right to it!

**Don't have five minutes to read the newsletter now? Print it out; take it to bed with you! (That's my favorite place to read my newsletters!). **

In This Issue:
1) Postal Adventures from the Edge
2) Big in Japan? Selling Overseas
3) Getting Collectibles to Come to You: Correction
4) Why One Man Says Half.com is Better than EBay for Book Sales
5) A Look at Some More 'Hot' Items
6) Reader Mail
7) Coming: Secrets of the (High-Margin!) Powersellers; The Real Deal on Wholesalers, and What Else Do You Want to See?

8) Quick Recommended Reading/Will We See eBay TV?


1) Postal Adventures from the Edge

For a while now I've been wanting to write a 'light' piece on the trials and tribulations of dealing so much with the post office. (As an eBayer, of course, did any of us spend so darn much time there before becoming eBayers?).

Now, I know our postal workers have been the butt of many jokes and some frustration (the expression 'going postal' comes to mind), but I feel blessed by some pretty nice postal workers, from the nice lady who picks up my domestic uninsured packages right from my front door to spare me the dreary chore of luggin' 'em to the P.O., to the friendly chap in a Looney Tunes tie who gives me patient advice on the nuances of our fine nation's postal code. Well, usually it's patient.

The funny thing (to me) about Mr. Looney Tunes is that no matter how many trips I make to the P.O., and how much I think I've mastered the postal rules and regulations, Mr. Tunes always has to give me advice. (And/or correct something I've done).

The last time I sauntered in there, brandishing an eight-pound or so package, with my (BIG) customs form filled out (the one for packages of 4 pounds or more, as opposed to the smaller customs form for packages 4 pounds or less, NONE of which is noted on either form, of course!), my box edges more taped up than King Tut, he took a look at the form and said, 'You know if you don't want to give away that it's a gift, you can just write 'gift' on the package?'

'Well, uh, no, I didn't; OK, thanks.! (The package was a gift to a friend in Holland).

Now, in these situations, it's usually not 'til later, when I'm driving in my car, or walking away, that I realize what I could have said to have looked like less of a fool. Like, why doesn't the form TELL you if it's a gift, you don't have to list the contents? As I recall, the form simply instructs, 'list contents.' Now, in this day and age, when little old ladies and toddlers are getting frisked at the airport, it wouldn't occur to me to not be pretty specific on an international mail form.

But, as they say, you learn something new every day. And when I go to the post office, I learn something almost every time, like; if you're insuring a package, you must tape up all the edges of the box seals completely; and if you're re-using a box, you have to black out completely all the writing describing the previous contents, esp. if it's hazardous.

Do you have amusing, annoying, or otherwise noteworthy postal experiences you'd like to share? E-mail me at juliawilk@aol.com; it might feel good just to get it off your chest!

Quick packaging tip: use plastic grocery bags for packing; they will make an excellent cushion for your items, and they weigh next to nothing! *************
2) Big in Japan? Selling Overseas

As you know if you've read my ebook, 'What Sells on eBay for What,' eBay isn't the only game in town everywhere. In fact, in Japan, Yahoo's auction site is the much bigger fish.

I recently got a letter from Al, a reader who wanted to explore selling his vintage magazines to the Japanese market. He was looking into partnering up with a Japanese seller to handle the translation, listing, etc.

But from a recent discussion on international auctions in one of the AuctionBytes discussion forums, that may not be necessary.

David Steiner of AuctionBytes says he's sold quite a few items to Japanese buyers and ; never found the language difference to be prohibitive. So don't let that be a deterrent."

He also mentions that Google provides a free online translator that can help: http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en

Another poster to the forum says that 'Unlike the U.S., most foreign countries teach a second language (usually English) to their citizens from grade school on. I spent 3 years in Japan as a kid (AF Brat) and, believe me, if they want to bargain with you...they know just what to say to get the job done.'

He cautions that you have to be very careful when writing something using a translator engine. 'Many times the wording comes out meaning something completely different than what you intended. And, a couple misplaced words or phrases can not only be misunderstood...but may be offensive. It's best just to list your items in plain English or hire a real interpreter if you want to describe something in real Japanese detail.'

Well, that all sounds great, but what Al and I haven't yet figured out is how to post on the Yahoo Japan site given that all the characters are Japanese and it looks like a bunch of gibberish! Al found Babel Fish (http://babel.altavista.com), which translates English to Japanese and Japanese to English. 'Trying to figure this stuff out to get somehow to Yahoo Japan forms,' Al reports.

For more info on Yahoo! Japan and its success with auctions, check out: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/01_23/b3735139.htm

I intend to keep an eye on the viability of foreign markets and will keep u posted! Meantime, if anyone has experience selling overseas, please write me and tell me about it so I can share it with the other readers.

3) Getting Collectibles to Come to You: Correction

In a previous issue, I wrote about Terry Gibbs, an experienced seller of collectibles (specializing in toy trains), whose ebook will give you valuable advice and tips about how to get collectibles to come to you, rather than the other way around. However, I evidently put the wrong url in that issue; so if you still want to check it out, or hadn't had a chance, go to:

You can check out Terry's web site at http://www.iwantcollectibles.com. (There's also a cute picture of him in front of shelves of his trains). I've bought and read Terry's book and thought it had real, solid advice; and he gives lots of examples based on his experiences buying and selling.

(In general, I won't recommend ebooks or other products that often; but when I come across something worthwhile that I think is a good value for my readers, I want to mention it. No pressure to buy, of course).

4) One Man Says Half.com is Better than Ebay for Book Sales

Do you sell books at all? I came across this seller's reasons for why he thinks half.com is a better place to sell modern books than eBay (Please note he does say 'modern' titles..if you have a rare or collectible book, you'd be better off getting top dollar on eBay):

1. Once you get the hang of the most accurate way of listing (i.e. in book search, type in the ISBN or title, view the competition/prices in all categories and then click, "Sell Yours Now"), it is a BREEZE to list here. Huge time saver over an individual ebay listing.

2. Your books can sit there, for FREE, until the right buyer comes along. On Ebay, there is a good chance that within a 7 day auction window, your right buyer won't see your auction.

3. Often, with the right titles, you can actually make MORE on half.com than on ebay. Ex: audio books. I have frequently, as a buyer and seller, done the research and for individual audio books, I think Half.com gathers the higher prices. Or, VERY current bestsellers...they get snapped up almost as soon as you list them on half.com, many times higher than the ebay ending auction values. Further, individual cds, videos and dvds seems to do very well on half.com, and in my opinion, do not warrant the time spent on creating an ebay auction.

4. You don't have to send emails back and forth with buyers requesting payment, confirming shipping, etc. Half.com does this all for you. You list the book, buyer clicks "buy", they pay half.com, and twice a month half.com deposits your payments into your checking account.

5. You can access an itemized list of everything you sell, at what price, less what fees, for all your listings going back at least a year.

6. With a helpful invoice included, it is possible to guide half.com buyers to contact you directly should any problem arise. Because of the inherent lack of communications between buyers and sellers on half.com, the likelihood of hasty feedback is higher, and my feedback reflects this (my accounts are merged), but overall, nothing that I am overly worried about. In fact, I have a good amount of repeat half.com buyers.

I am missing some good points here, but just haven't had enough morning coffee to remember them all. This summer, when I did not feel like listing on ebay, I put almost my entire inventory on half.com, and was filling about 10+ orders a day. When Sept. came, I went through my half.com listings that hadn't sold, and put similar titles in groups and quickly sold them on ebay, many times for more money per book than they were individually listed on half.com, so there are no hard and fast rules.

No matter the issues or questions I may have about half.com, I would sorely miss half.com if I didn't have it to utilize. In fact, at least 75% of my inventory I would not take the time to list individually on ebay. Since March, 2002, our charity has made almost $4500 from our half.com listings, so that is a lot of money for so little listing time. (The other half of the $9000 we have made since 3/02 has come from eBay listings that generally represent large items other than books, or book lots).'

He goes on to say 'Also, I just calculated, and my "average" half.com listing sells for $3.60. Again, I do not sell collectible books, so for $3.60 a listing, I do not want to invest the time listing these on ebay. The better sellers, i.e. audio books, dvds, cds, VERY current bestsellers, and textbooks help drive up my average away from the .75/$1.00 listings I have to make for other books. One other point, in my half.com "buying" experience, half.com appeals to the impatient or impulse buyer. I frequently research a title, and don't feel like waiting til auction end, so buy it on half.com. Or, I have made impulse buys on half.com, but find when I place an ebay auction on "watch", I resist the impulse and don't bid later. If other buyers are like me, then the nature of half.com helps us half.com sellers.'

Sounds like this guy has a half.com pretty well figured out! I would only add one caveat: I don't think I would bother listing a book for $.75, which he mentions is the low end on half.com. (This is a price you will see for very popular, mass-produced paperbacks, usually by blockbuster authors, etc.). To me, that is just not worth my time. (I think time-wise you'd do better slingin' hash at McDonald's or similar franchise). But, I've found that I've broken down and paid top dollar for a nice, juicy hardback, hot off the press (e.g. 'The Nanny Diaries' this past summer), I could make a good return on it if I wanted to unload it and acted quickly, before the title got into paperback and 100's of 1000's more titles were out there.

5) A Look at Some More 'Hot' Items

I've been looking at more lists of 'hot items' on eBay (those which have the 'little matchstick' icon that appears next to items that receive over 30 bids on eBay. I thought I'd share a select few and my comments on why they were hot:

Napoleon Hill ; Think and Grow Rich ; 8 audio tapes $42.30 ; 32 bids; 12-08-02

I think this appeals to a lot of folks because it's one of the classic 'get rich' books of all time. In fact, I think I have a paperback of it at a yard sale. That it was offered in audio format helped a lot, no doubt appealing to the fast-track car-tape listener biz type.

USMLE Step 1 Expensive Pretest 9 Set Kaplan $255.00; 31 bids; 12-08-02

*Current* educational and textbooks like this are hot and will resell for big bux. (If you find them at yard sales, library sales, or thrift shops, snap them up!). However, beware the too-old book like this; a book more than 2-3 years old will lose its timeliness and resale value.

Turquoise: Soul Stone of a Tibet Lama -- $132.50 ; 32 bids; 12-08-02

This is a very cool, unique stone mounted on a silver base, which is reputed to have healing powers..a very mystical, authentic (presumably) item that will appeal to the hip, funky set (Tibet and turquoise jewelry both having been very 'hip' in recent years). I looked at some of the other items by this seller, zhouyan on eBAY, and he or she appears to be selling some extremely cool items, from the East/Orient. (I would love to know how he/she acquires these things, and may attempt to find out..though we know powersellers are loath to divulge their sources, and with good reason!). Watch the next issue to see what I could unearth. ;)

6) Reader Mail

Here is some select correspondence between you, my fabulous readers, and me.

Auction Info Followup

Hi Julia:

You asked about the Silent Sales Machine Hiding On Ebay, I did buy the ebook, and he sounds pretty convincing, a lot of good information in the book. I have a dilemma, of course I want to make power seller, (close but not close enough), but not use enormous time to accomplish my mere meager goal of $1,000 to$2,000 per month, with just this, am spending 20 hours + per week, you can check my last 30 days auctions and see what I sell and the prices the auctions bring. I use Andale and Turbo Lister, and can see no way I could manage 100 auctions per week, I do good to manage the 20 to 25 auctions per week. So question is, How do the Powersellers do it???? Trying to get one of them to tell you secrets etc...well have had no luck there.

I did gather great information from your ebook and the silent sales machine ebook, but still working on solution to achieve goal and beyond, unlike the 1 cent cd family, don't want or can't spend or don't have that kind of time.

Well, hope I am not intrusive, but enjoyed your feedback and emails about ebay and selling. Hope to hear back as always enjoy chatting. Warm Regards,



Hey Robert!

A belated reply..I took a lot of December off to just deal with Christmas, family matters, etc.! ;)

I totally hear ya on time-saving..I'm all about that. I will continue to search for ways for us to save time...I think it's really the biggest issue on eBay, or one of the biggest...I don't have many answers yet, but one thing I have found that helps a lot: have some same-description items that you can simply "relist" rather than having to type in the whole descr. again.

Right now I am doing that w/ my ebooks...I haven't yet explored selling a whole bunch of same-items wholesale yet, but I am going to be looking into that more.

This is not to say that you have to sell ebooks (tho I think they're a good thing to sell) or buy wholesale, but maybe to think about it. I'm going to write a bit more about that in the newsletter which will be going out soon.

I agree that the Silent Sales Machine is a worthy read..however I haven't had much success with some of his main ideas, such as using the "about me" page to attract buyers. I think he uses a variety of techniques to attract buyers, incl. search engine ads and link-swapping.

thx again for writing...always great to hear from u. :)



Question Hi; I have been reading your "WHAT TO SALE ON EBAY" and I found it excellent. I have a question for you. I'm considering beginning a business on ebay. I want to begin on a part time basis and if I get successful, doing on a full time basis. What do you think about selling jewelry on ebay. I know that there is a huge competition on that field but if I get some fine jewelry on discount (wholesale), I believe I would have a better chance to win. Please, advise me. Thank you. - Luis


Hi Luis!

Great! So glad u liked it. :)

I think you could do very well w/ jewelry on eBay. the key is finding items people really want, and presenting them in a nice way; items nice enuf that people will be happy with them, but inexpensive enuf that u can make a tidy profit.

One thought: look for trends...for ex., I just bought a very cool necklace with three "dropped' diamonds; this look is very trendy now. This seller put "Sex and the City"-style in her listing title...this caught my attention, since the styles on the show are very modern.

Also, another seller I buy from regularly puts "Neiman Marcus" in her title...she says they sell the stuff at this upscale store.

Others use a trick and put an eye-catcher in the title, then say the item is that "style"..e.g. Anthropologie style. [Note: I have seen some sellers complain about this technique of mentioning another brand name with an item..for more explicit info on this, see eBay's rules. From what I've seen, eBay urges caution in this w/ expressly prohibiting it in every case: 'We realize that many of you prefer to use a brand name for comparative purposes to best illustrate your item's particular style. However, we encourage you to first contact the trademark owner in question for their guidance as to what they consider to be permissible, before making any questionable use of a brand name.'

I plan to write more about this in a newsletter...until then, good luckl!


7) Coming: Secrets of the (High-Margin!) Powersellers; The Real Deal on Wholesalers, and What Else Do You Want to See?

In future issues, I plan to carefully examine powersellers, especially the high-margin powersellers who make tidy profits per item (not the ones who spend all day and night listing penny items, since I don't want you or me to have to live like that!). I'm going to see if any of them will share their secrets, and if not, well, we'll just see what we can learn from their listings as to how they do it.

I also plan to take a look at wholesalers in a coming issue.

I'd love your feedback on these two topix, as well as other topix you'd like to see me address.

*** -----------------------------
8) Quick Recommended Reading/Will We See eBay TV?
Quick Recommended Reading:

This month's (January 2003's) Reader's Digest has two interesting articles that will appeal to many eBayers: on p. 108, 'No Wooden Nickels,' tales and rants from a former employee of the U.S. Treasury. (Did you know the Double Eagle gold coins from 1933 are six-figure valuable; Americans were required to surrender them for cash at that time, and are sold under the counter because it's still illegal to own them?)

On. P. 49, 'Trading Up,' eBay CEO Meg Whitman shares the story of her mother changing her attitude on young women being expected to grow up and be traditional stay-at-home moms, after her mom's trip to China in 1971.

I Want My eBay TV? From CBS MarketWatch: 'The two-year-old concept of a daily TV show featuring stories about EBay (EBAY) buyers and sellers reportedly is set for a tryout later this month at an industry meeting of station programmers in New Orleans. Sony Pictures Television (SNE) will pitch the show as a five-day-a-week program running for either 30 or 60 minutes. The format is said to be a combination of "Entertainment Tonight" and "Ripley's Believe it or Not," plus celebrities and pet charity auctions, according to a Silicon Valley Biz Ink report. But a TV critic in Birmingham, Ala., sounded skeptical that the show will garner enough stations to go into production. "This is one of those things that is a lot more interesting inside Silicon Valley than outside," Rick Ellis, of AllYourTV.com, told the newspaper.'

That's it for this issue. Until next time, happy yardsale-ing and eBaying!


eBooks by Julia L. Wilkinson:

[all my ebooks are offered at substantial discounts from their regular price of $8.95 to the subscribers of this newsletter. Only $4.95 each! If interested in any of them, please email me at juliawilk@aol.com.]

New eBooks:

-- Making Big Bucks off Catalogs on eBay:

- Over 100 Books that Sell for $50-$100 on eBay: email me!

- Selling Kids Clothes on eBay: email me!
(these last two will be available for purchase via my site soon).

Julia Classic:

What Sells on eBay for What: http://www.aolmemorabilia.com/clkbnksales.html

My Life at AOL (available at amazon.com and 1stbooks.com)

Copyright 2002-4 Julia L. Wilkinson



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