by Pamela Palmer

#61, 30 January 2006

BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
December 2005

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Top 10 on eBay

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. In early January, we'll look back at the year and consider trends and highlights. To learn more about what's in and what's out of the lists, read our Top 10 on eBay Parameters.

Alcoholics Anonymous early editions dominated December sales by holding positions 1 through 6 on the non-fiction list. One seller led the way with four sales but not without difficulty. Two of the sales were relistings due to a non-paying buyer who defaulted on both auctions. In the fiction category, Rowling authored four, including a nearly $18,000 sale of a signed Japanese printing.

Top 10 on eBay
Fiction Top 10
December 2005

#3 $4,211.06 HARRY POTTER ROWLING 1st 1st 1st 1997 COMPLETE SET
#6 $2,492.67 Brave New World Aldous Huxley SIGNED Ltd Edition 1932
#7 $2,400.00 Nice sgnd 1920 1st ed Fitzgerald THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
#10 $1,966.05 DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER.....Ian Fleming.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling
[in Japanese]

"How cool is this book?" wrote Rowling as she signed the "True Japanese 1st Printing Hardback" (2000). The UK seller notes, "Japanese books run back to front and this contains illustrations as well as full Japanese text throughout." Listed in fine, as new condition, unread, 3 pictures show the cover, the text, and the signature. The book sold as a BIN on the 9th day. The same seller listed #3 below.

Dr. No
by Ian Fleming

Selling on 14 bids that raised it from its starting price of GBP 0.01 to $5,441.74, Dr. No is listed as the UK hardback, first edition, first impression, very good in very good+ unclipped dust jacket and without the dancing girl on the boards. It is "signed and inscribed by Ian Fleming" to Andrew J. Young. Listed for 10 days by a UK seller, the auction included 6 pictures.

Harry Potter Complete Set
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by J. K. Rowling

This set of 5 first printing paperbacks contains details for each, including the number line and points. Calling the copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone the "rarest of the bunch," the UK seller describes it as unread, a true first, credited to Joanna Rowling with the printing error of ThomasTaylor1997, and other points. All five books are rated as fine and shown in 4 pictures. The set sold on a BIN for $4,211.06, listed by the same seller as #1.

Live and Let Die
by Ian Fleming

Proclaiming he is not a professional, this UK seller used 12 photographs to illustrate the 10-day auction with a reserve. The book is described as price clipped with a stained and yellowed dust jacket. A small stain on the front board and handwritten price inside are the flaws mentioned. Started at GBP 100, the book sold for $3,560.69.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
by J.K. Rowling

Listed by the UK seller as "apparently one of only 500 true 1st editions," the auction with reserve garnered 3 bids, before selling as a BIN. It started at GBP 4.99 and sold for $2,633.10. Listed with 4 pictures, the book is described as very good with "bumping and creasing to edges, yellowing to page edges."

Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley

The UK seller obviously believed only 1 picture was necessary to sell this "First Edition, Special Issue Limited Edition. One of 324 numbered copies printed on handmade paper and signed by Aldous Huxley to the limitation page." What's more unusual is the picture shows only the signed page. Buyers are left to imagine the cover from the brief description that includes the condition as "really super." The book sold as a BIN in around 6 hours.

This Side of Paradise
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Purchased with a BIN thirty minutes after listed, this first edition, second printing is accompanied by a letter signed by Fitzgerald. It sold at the starting price of $2,400. The book is described as "from the collection of John Lineweaver" with the name Mary H.W. Lineweaver in ink; the letter is not to either Lineweaver. Described as very good, the book has wear, slightly faded gilt lettering, and bumped corners. Five pictures illustrate the book and the letter.

Northern Lights
by Philip Pullman

Seventeen bids took this UK seller's first edition, first printing from the opening price of GBP 0.01 to the selling price of $2,136.26. The book was signed by the author on the title page at the Oxford Literary Festival, as well as on a "hand signed 'raven' bookplate." The seller describes only minor flaws to the book and dust jacket, as shown in the 9 photographs.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
by J.K. Rowling

Selling in a school charity auction, the new signed first edition came with a letter of authenticity showing Rowling donated it to the school. The UK seller listed it for five days with a reserve and included 3 photographs. Questions came in, asking for the school's phone number. Another questioner wanted a copy of the letter sent to Rowling requesting a book, as well as the one from Rowling's PA. The seller directed him to the school's web site which includes a copy of the original request. In all, three questioners honed in on verifying the book was as indicated in the auction. By the end of the auction, 26 bids took it from a GBP 5.00 starting bid to $1,980.06.

Diamonds are Forever
by Ian Fleming

Questioners focused on the item specifics that indicated the book was in Dutch. A mistake there, replied the UK seller, assuring them it was in English. Listed as "a fine copy .... first printing of the first edition" with a fine dj, the book met the reserve and sold with 22 bids in a 7-day auction that included 7 photographs. The starting bid was GBP 100.

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