Most sellers of vintage children's books don't do their homework and do 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.
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 (see below) and also be sure to pay attention to the following tips on providing the right information to help Nancy Drew collectors decipher what you have.
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 collectors out there who have in recent months 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. To me, that's shameful to do that to sellers 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 is 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 first printing of the first several Nancy Drew books which command prices like that in good condition. Other times things may jump up to $30.00 to $150.00+ for less valuable 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:
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 inside listing, 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.
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: Series Book Swap & Sell (free!)
Bonanza is not an auction site--it's fixed price at this time. But it has a great feel like the old days of eBay when everything was more mom and pop and friendly. It's free to list too and you create your own store front. It's very up-and-coming and lots of series books can be found there.
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 a small group of resellers who buy in the very market, driving up some prices, in which they try to resell these items which has driven away some collectors and sellers as well. 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 it's not your cup of tea, try Bonanza. 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 group linked above is 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!