If you're a seller or interested in selling your books or extras, here's some tips I have for selling. These are more for those who casually sell or who do not know a lot about vintage series books - so I put this info out on my website to help inform sellers who don't realize what they have or what buyers might want to know about what they are selling. I've had a lot of collectors and sellers pass along feedback that this page is helpful to them, so I hope it helps you too.
Your average eBay seller of vintage children's books doesn't always do their homework and does not realize what they have and that's OK. If you're here reading these selling tips, then you're halfway to solving the mystery of the vintage Nancy Drew books. You may think you've stumbled upon a very valuable and even a rare Nancy Drew book. Chances are it's a very common and much later printing that you suspect and worth less than $50.00 to $100.00--maybe even as little as $5.00. At the end of the day it will probably be worth what people are willing to pay. You can always search market value - see what it's sold for at eBay recently and that can give you a good idea of how to value/price your items.
I've seen sellers list a yellow spine picture cover for $99.00 thinking it's extra special when it's worth about $5.00. I've seen some sellers at eBay trying to sell Nancy Drew books in the hundreds that aren't even valued for half what is being asked. And then I've seen sellers listing a first printing The Secret of the Old Clock book for a buy it now of $100.00 when it's worth in the thousands with the original dust jacket. Being realistic about what you have by doing some research and understanding values is key.
Beware of the copyright red herring - do not be fooled by the copyright date! It was not changed from printing to printing unless the text was revised. It is not reflective of what printing you are actually holding in your hands! With the exception of a couple of printings for picture covers that actually noted a printing date, 99 percent do not have this information. You have to look to other factors about the book to determine the actual printing date such as what the book lists to inside in front/back or what the dust jacket lists on the flaps or on back.
PLEASE NOTE: When you list at auction sites like eBay, you need to keep 2 things in mind. The first, is that if you are selling something that's worth quite a bit or a first printing or one of those early blank-endpaper Nancy Drew books, there is a small minority of unscrupulous sellers/collectors/? out there who have taken advantage of unknowing sellers by making them offers to sell outright and end auctions. In one case a seller sold a 1st printing of #3 The Bungalow Mystery with a dust jacket for $300.00 when it would have likely brought upwards of several thousand had it run its course at auction. The buyer knew what they were doing and the seller was unaware. So not the best Nancy-like etiquette, but at the same time, sellers should do their homework and be aware of what they are selling. It's very easy to do a Google search and look for information. There are several sites including mine that offer this kind of information about Nancy Drew books and the various formats. It's also against eBay rules to take a transaction off site like that and make deals to end auctions.
The second thing to keep in mind, is that for most auctions, collectors will typically bid in the last few seconds of an auction--called SNIPING--that is when the price will really jump if you have something of value and something collectors desire. So if your item has few or no bids up until the last few seconds, this may be because collectors prefer to snipe--it's cheaper than getting into bidding wars during the main duration of an auction. I've seen auctions jump from $50.00 to $4,000.00 plus in the last 7 seconds of an auction due to sniping for a desirable books and especially first printings of the first several Nancy Drew books.
So to recap--be sure not to sell too low to a small minority of unscrupulous collectors and also be aware that most collectors will snipe in the last few seconds of an auction. If you want to protect a value or investment, use a reasonable reserve on the auction if you're worried about waiting to the last few seconds to see how much it will sell for.
Important Clues About Describing Your Nancy Drew Books to Buyers...
This is my chance to influence some sellers or future sellers with some simple advice. Especially if you are selling your
books at auction, Take the time to be
detailed! It will result in less e-mails from buyers asking for the details. And please post photos showing the front/spine/back of books and if there's any major damage, please show photos of that.
Give your potential buyer/bidder the following information for books with dust jackets (DJ):
The Series and total number listed for that series on the front inner flap of the DJ
The Series and total number listed for that series on the back inner flap of the DJ
The Series and total number listed for that series on the back cover of the DJ
Give your potential buyer/bidder the following information for books without dust jackets:
The Series and total number listed for that series on an inside listing of books--if there is an inside listing--either pre or post text--these lists will be on their own pages, not on the copyright page, if present. ****PLEASE NOTE: Inside lists on a copyright page, are not really indicative of what printing a book is, as those tended to be more random lists and not updated frequently.****
If there is no list of books or pages of advertising either front or back, then note that.
Give your potential buyer/bidder the following information for books that are picture covers--the last listed book on the
back cover of the book. If the last listed book for example re: Nancy Drew books, is the Cookbook, then also list
the next to last book. And if there are any pre or post text lists - also give that information as well - last listed title. If it's an order form, note that when revealing the last listed title. Those inner lists help too!
The reason for this information, which may seem a bother to some sellers at taking the time to note it, is to be
able to distinguish between common and 1st printings/formats, rarities, etc.. I cannot count the number of e-mails I send
to sellers asking for this information. If you're selling at eBay you can add the question/answer to the listing via the contact form--I suggest you do that or update your listing descriptions with the info so you'll not get asked repeat questions.
Where Should You Sell Your Books?
You can get instant gratification by selling your books locally to used and antiquarian bookstores or even at antique malls. You won't get much at Half Price Books and maybe even just store credit at the other establishments. If you'd like to make more money on your books, consider selling at the following sites online:
Facebook Group: Sleuthing for Vintage Children's Series Books
Facebook Group: Series Book Swap & Sell (free!)
I put together 95% of my extensive collection using eBay in the late 1990s onward. The last few years have really declined in the variety of listings and the amount of unique or scarce collectibles. With all the new rules, regulations, and fees, eBay pretty much drove away the mom and pop sellers who were selling items from grandma's attic--the really good finds! Now you have a mix of lots of modern books from wholesale sellers and just a little bit of vintage items. It can be very hit and miss. You also have resellers who buy in the same market, driving up some prices, when they try to resell these items which has driven away some collectors and sellers as well. I'm not referring to collectors who buy bulk lots and then resell extras. It would be nice to see more mom and pop sellers with these vintage books and collectibles give eBay a chance again. Try it, and see how you like it. If you have quite a variety of series books and/or other items, consider renting a booth at a local antique mall or flea market. These can be great places to sell and collectors are always on the look out at these types of establishments. The Facebook groups for selling are great and quite a few collectors will post their wants or what they're selling or willing to trade there, so it's a good place to show what you have for sale. And, it's free!