Update Announcements #2

by Craig Stark

#54, 31 October 2005

BookThink's monthly "Top 10 on eBay" makes its third appearance in today's update. As months go by, patterns pointing to revenue-producing potential should begin to emerge - actually, they already have to some extent. Several authors have come up multiple times, many high-dollar items are signed (which opens the authentication can of worms), and of course, if it's fiction, edition state matters hugely and is best established via citations to standard bibliographic works.

Despite the use of bibliographies, things can sometimes be murky notwithstanding. P.G. Wodehouse, for example, nails down the #10 spot in the fiction category with an ex-library copy of The Prince and Betty - a scarce UK edition published by Mills and Boon. Is this one a first? The seller includes the phrase "1ST U.K. EDITION" in the auction title but, in describing it as "the same as the first, just with the adds [sp.] added" in the body of the auction, cites the definitive Wodehouse bibliography (Eileen McIlvaine's P.G. Wodehouse: A Comprehensive Bibliography and Checklist) as a source for this information. A source for what information? That it is or isn't a first? It isn't clear to me what the seller intended to imply. Actually, it's not a first state of the first printing but still uncommon enough to be desirable to collectors, who were probably fully aware of what was being auctioned in any case.

Also, anomalies sometimes appear. A partial set of 5 of the 12-volume Time-Life American County series, for example, finished third on the non-fiction list at $2448. Huh? On a good day this wouldn't flirt with 3 figures, let alone 4, so what's up with this? Hard to say because several bidders were involved and nothing looked obviously suspicious with the auction other than the final value. Any brilliant auction sleuths out there? Contact me at editor@bookthink.com and I'll send you the item number.

BookThink's Bookseller Profiles resumes today as well, this time contributed by bookselling friend Brenda Grolle. Lots of good, well-articulated advice here. Pay attention!

Issue #6 of 50/50 was delivered Tuesday. Item #1 in the list features the most popular (and common) cookbook ever published, and yes, believe it or not, you can realize 50/50-level profits with this title again and again - as long as you know which editions to look for. If you've been putting off subscribing, you're also putting off profits. Get started today here.

This month’s Special Offer – all back issues of both the Gold Edition and 50/50 – expires October 31, so act fast!

Finally, be sure to take a look at next week's BookThinker feature article, "Anatomy of the Penny Seller." One of the most frequently discussed and often controversial topics on book forums is the so-called penny seller. Few of us seem to understand why sellers list books for pennies, let alone believe that a business model that includes this practice can possibly deliver significant profits. Well, you may be in for a surprise. BookThink interviewed two booksellers recently who sell most of their books at the low end and - believe it or not - make it work. Find out how next week.

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Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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