<<< Continued from previous page

Before I attempt to explain what I mean by this, I think it might be helpful to discuss the nature of the beast - specifically, what it is about eBay that makes the eBayable book possible, that certain something that no other viable bookselling venue possesses. This can be stated briefly too: visual elements. Visual elements? Amazon Marketplace has pictures, doesn't it? And you can post them on Abebooks and other venues too. So what gives? What gives is that Amazon only provides one-dimensional stock images, not photographs of actual books being offered, and though you have the option of posting your own photographs on other venues, the reality is that almost nobody does. Buyers know this, and this affects their decisions re where to look for eBayable books.

Also, by "visual elements" I don't just mean pictures. A visual element can also be a table of contents, a list of illustrations, an excerpt, etc. Again, buyers can provide this kind of information on fixed-price venues, at least those that afford the capability of expanded descriptions (not all do), but damn few sellers actually write more than the bare minimum. Buyers know this too - and may not come looking because of it.

What I'm getting at is that there are certain visual elements absent from fixed-price venues that can be very telling to a buyer. Here's a short list of examples:



Dust jacket.

Binding materials.

Copyright page or other elements of a book that confirm edition state.


Table of contents.

List of illustrations.


Any one of these elements and more can be critical to any buying decision. And every one of them is readily communicated to the buyer - visually.

The fact that visual elements abound on eBay is also why this is so often the best venue to place scarce items. Many times buyers are seeing these things for the first time, and a short textual description on Abebooks, for example, would have nowhere near the impact of a single image on eBay, let alone the capacity to clearly communicate what the item is in the first place.

Ok, this is the definition. Half the battle. How do you win the other half? There are three steps:

  1. Gaining knowledge of the specific titles that are in especially intense demand and/or building a large mental library of flashpoints.
  2. Upgrading your scouting skills to increase the chances of inding the right books in the field.
  3. Presenting them in such a way as to communicate the critical visual elements.

We've pounded on each of these topics again and again in all three of our newsletters - and will continue to indefinitely because these are the keys to succeeding at bookselling. For those of you who haven't subscribed to our newest newsletter, 50/50, this is a good source of specific, in-demand titles, many of which were born to be sold on eBay.

Part III of this series will continue next month.

Enter Book Title or ISBN

Powered by FetchBook.Info
New & Used Books