by Pamela Palmer

#76, 4 September 2006

BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
July 2006

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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.

If you think Top 10 sellers have it made, think again. During July, they faced obstacles from all directions. The non-fiction top seller appended a note about his dyslexia to the 171-page listing he created. Another seller embarked on a third try with one auction, citing non-paying bidders as the problem. And still another warned off buyers lacking positive ratings only to end up with a -4 feedback winner called an idiot by previous sellers. Life at the top isn't always easy.

On the other side of fortune, a Canadian seller's book knowledge paid off with quick turn-around and approximately $8,485 profit. Read about it in the Fiction Top 10.

Fiction Top 10
July 2006

#1 $9,948.21 LORD OF THE RINGS J R R Tolkien UK 1/1 1954 & 1955 Set
#2 $8,500.00 Robert E. Howard A GENT from BEAR CREEK, 1937, 1st
#3 $4,646.50 Harry Potter, Three Fabulous JK Rowling signed books
#5 $2,422.37 FLEMING - MOONRAKER - 1ST/1ST 1955 HB BOND #SIGNED#
#6 $2,146.60 J.R.R. Tolkien..The Lord of the Rings..2-2-1 set in d/ws
#7 $2,038.35 Ian Fleming Casino Royale 1st Cape D/w James Bond 1953
#8 $1,950.00 Stephen King Cycle of the Werewolf SIGNED W/ART
#9 $1,895.77 The Lord of The Rings -first Deluxe Slipcased Ed -1963
#10 $1,500.00 NEW LIEUTENANT'S RAP

The Lord of The Rings
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King

J.R.R. Tolkien

A set of UK first edition first printing volumes of The Lord of the Rings tops the fiction list in July. Each volume is in the original dust upclipped dust jacket. The UK seller described the dust jackets as professional restored with age discoloration of the white background as the only flaw. The volumes themselves are described in detail. Three photos illustrated the 10-day auction which started at GBP 0.99 and, after 32 bids, ended at $9,948.21.

A Gent from Bear Creek
Robert E. Howard

Described as "the rarest book in the Robert E. Howard canon.... There were 8 known copies. The ninth copy can be seen here." This 1937 book is in good condition with a Boots Book-Lovers insert and no dust jacket. Listed by a Canadian bookseller, it sold as a BIN in a private auction. Tim Doyle, BookThink's Science Fiction Editor, wrote me about this auction in July. "There is a great story behind it ...," he wrote. "The auction is for a beat-up ex-lib hardcopy without dustjacket.... The best part: the seller ... purchased it off of ABE about three weeks ago, for approximately $15."

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
J.K. Rowling

Though this UK seller wrote in the auction, "DO NOT BID if you have less than 5 or 98% positive feedback...," the stated winner was "not a registered users" with -4 feedback who used a BIN to purchase the volumes for $4,646.50. Yes, that's minus 4 feedback. On examination of the feedback, it turns out the buyer is described as "idiot" by 2 different sellers; another called him a "complete time waster." A month past the closing, neither buyer nor seller shows feedback from this transaction. The 3 volumes listed are UK first editions with signed bookplates and were shown in 4 photos.

His Dark Materials - Northern Lights (3 volumes)
Philip Pullman

Another trio comes in the #4 position in an auction by a frequent Top10 seller from the UK. Calling this a "Mad Stock Clearance," the seller describes the volumes without mentioning their titles in the 10-day auction with 7 photos. Described as "All Hand Signed, all minimum good-very good condition," the set sold for $2,513.54 in a private auction with 21 bids.

Ian Fleming

A near fine first edition, first printing in a very good+ dust jacket sold for $2,422.37. Listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 10 photos, the book is signed by the artist on the book and front flap. Twenty-six bids took the auction from a starting bid of GBP 0.07 to the selling price.

The Lord of The Rings The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King
J.R.R. Tolkien

Another Lord of the Rings set appears as #6, listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 10 photos. The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers are 2nd impressions and The Return of the King is a 1st impression. All are in dust jackets. All three are described as in fine condition and in their original dust jackets. The auction attracted 15 bids and ended at $2,146.60.

Casino Royale
Ian Fleming

The 1st edition, 2nd impression volume is described as in excellent condition. Flaws include a bookplate and a price-clipped dust jacket. Listed for 10 days with 6 photos, the UK seller's auction received 11 bids, raising it from a starting bid of GBP 500 to $2,038.35.

Cycle of the Werewolf
Stephen King

The first US seller in July's fiction list saw this auction end with a BIN of $1,950. Listed with 6 photos, this is #348 of 350 signed copies with the illustration portfolio. Both King and Wrightson signed the book; Wrightson also signed the color artwork. The seller states, "I have been burned twice now with this book and would like to see it go to someone who is going to pay for it, and who is going to enjoy it!!" As an extra enticement, the seller offered free shipping for a BIN purchase "with more than 12 hours to go."

The Lord of The Rings
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King
J.R.R. Tolkien

This Lord of the Rings set is described as a "deluxe, slip-cased" set "… housed in the original Pauline Baynes decorative slipcase…. The first, rarest, and most collectable edition of Tolkien's trilogy." Book are in very good condition and were purchased by the UK seller's father around the time of their publication in 1968. Listed in a 7-day auction with 6 photos, the books attracted 21 bids to sell for $1,895.77.

New Lieutenant's Rap
Stephen King

As the US seller explains, "This is the book handed out as favors at the party for the anniversary of 'Carrie.'" Signed by King and numbered 115, it is called "super rare." It sold as a BIN for $1,500.


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