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by Craig Stark

#63, 6 March 2006

Science Fiction editor Timothy Doyle takes up where he left off last month with bookseller friendly series novels, only this time it's modern series, and let me tell you, there are some 50/50 level suggestions in his article. Read it carefully.

Next, a short quiz for you. Take at look at these authors:

Arthur Conan Doyle
Ian Fleming
Stephen King
John le Carre
George Orwell
Philip Pullman
J.K. Rowling

(By the way, these are the authors who appear in Pamela Palmer's fiction Top 10 on eBay today - Fleming appears three times, in fact, Pullman twice, the others once.)

Notice anything special about the list? Rather lopsided, don't you think? That's right - there's only one American author. The rest are British. And this isn't unusual. Month after month these lists are heavily weighted in favor of British authors, and often the same British authors, especially Pullman and Rowling. All booksellers know about Rowling, of course, and many of you know that every dust-jacketed hardback in good condition should be an automatic buy - no matter what printing it is. Group five or more of them into a lot, dump them on eBay, and you'll be hard put to stay under $50. A nice, easy sale, and these things are everywhere.

But how much do you know about issue points for Harry Potters? If you came across a valuable first printing, would you be able to identify it? And what about the other authors on the list and their books? Booksellers on the left side of the Atlantic - well, we probably know less overall than our UK friends do about collectible British fiction, but there's some serious money to be made with it, and these top ten lists can be a useful tool for increasing your bookselling knowledge. eBay is often characterized as the cyber equivalent of the Wild West - a lawless environment where anything goes. But don't forget that there are highly competent booksellers doing business there as well who do play by some stiff rules, who do put together auctions that, if we study them over time, help us become better at what we do. Pamela Palmer makes it easy for you.

Finally, a preview of an upcoming article. If you presently sell on fixed-priced venues, how would you like to increase your sales 50% to 100% almost overnight? Can't be done? Oh, but it can, and I'll show you how in two weeks.

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