by Pamela Palmer

#132, 9 February 2009

Which fiction and non-fiction books are winners on eBay? Each month this series answers the question and, along the way, looks at the listing strategies sellers use to bring in big bucks. To learn more about what's in and what's out of the lists, read our Top 10 on eBay Parameters.

NOTE: Items numbers are now included in this article. They are in the individual auction comments section below the author and title. Click the links to see the listings.

Life at the top isn't easy these days. Maybe it never was. By chance I noticed that 2 of BookThink's Top 5 antiquarian books sold by the familiar German seller in December were relisted in January. The buyers' names were private and there was no indication of non-paying buyers. In both cases, the January sales amounts topped those of the same item in December. One was $500 higher and the other increased by app. 50% over the December closing price to sell at $18,000. With 25 and 37 December bids, it seems that the seller opted for relisting rather than offering the items to the next highest bidder. Have you ever calculated the listing and final value fees on a $26,0000 eBay sale?

Fiction Top 10
January 2009

#1 $3,150.00 Signed Beedle the Bard, Collector's Edition 49/100
#2 $3,100.00 Stephen King Skeleton Crew Zippered edition signed
#3 $2,999.99 ***SIGNED*** (84/100) The Tales of Beedle the Bard Book
#4 $2,478.35 William Golding Lord of the Flies 1st/1st Faber 1954
#5 $2,400.00 Arnold Schoenberg Book SIGNED BY SCHOENBERG
#6 $1,587.56 Philip Pullman-1st Ed-NORTHERN LIGHTS-1st/1st SIGNED
#7 $1,525.00 Stephen King The Plant Signed Rare Book Limited Edition
#8 $1,100.00 The Audacity of Hope SIGNED Barack Obama US HC 1st/1st
#9 $1,086.89 George Orwell-1st Ed-NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR-First Edition
#10 $965.97 Collected Short Stories of Philip K. Dick (5 vol. set)

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
J.K. Rowling

Around 2 hours into the listing, the US seller pulled the BIN. Listed by a relative novice with 9 feedbacks, the signed collector's edition is #49 of 100 published. 13 bids took the mint condition book to $3,150.

Skeleton Crew
Stephen King


Sold as a BIN, the signed limited edition is "full-leather with zipper all around" and in fine condition.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
J.K. Rowling

After 9 minutes online, the signed limited edition sold as a BIN. It is #84 or 100 copies and includes the genuine hologram sticker.

Lord of the Flies
William Golding

Listed by a UK seller, the 1st edition, 1st impression sold to the single bidder. It was described as "a superb copy ... [with a ] un-fade3d dust jacket.

Arthur Schoenberg

The signed 2nd edition presentation copy was inscribed to Donald J. Bear. It is in very good condition and sold as a BIN.

Northern Lights
Phillip Pullman

27 bids took this signed 1st edition, 1st printing from a UK seller to $1,587.56. It has an "original first issue dust jacket with all edition/ issue points."

The Plant
Stephen King

Listed by Andrew Unangst, "one of [Stephen King's] friends ... [who] photographed Stephen King for three book jackets." He describes the book as #84 of 200, "a rare limited edition book ... issued to friends in the mid-eighties." It attracted 11 bids.

The Audacity of Hope
Barack Obama

"... the scan is my stock scan, however the actual book was signed at the same time, at the same event but may be slightly different," stated the US seller. A buyer purchased the unseen book for $1,100.

Nineteen Eighty-Four
George Orwell

A UK seller listed this 1949 1st edition, 1st printing in the "original red dust jacket." The auction attracted 29 bids.

The Collected Short Stories of Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick

The "deluxe, limited edition five-volume set" is #15 of 100 in the "Red Cloth Deluxe Edition. In like new condition, it sold after 4 bids.