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BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
February 2007

by Pamela Palmer

#89, 5 March 2007

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.

NOTE: For item numbers of auctions featured in Top 10, subscribe to our free email list by writing Editor Craig Stark at

Feedback numbers came to the forefront in February when the self-proclaimed #3 feedback leader on eBay hit the non-fiction list. Though sellers with 6-digit feedback aren't common, neither are novices with 4 feedbacks and 3 books in the fiction top 10. And if those numbers weren't enough for one month, another seller sold 2 books, and there was a 3-way tie.

Keep the number 11 in mind too; it's the count of UK sellers on the February list. In March, we'll measure the impact of eBay's stopping automatic inclusion of UK books on the US site. Will we say good-bye to regulars such as Fleming, Rowling, and Tolkien?

Fiction Top 10
February 2007

#1 $6,068.97 Ian Fleming Signed Spy Who Loved Me James Bond Hb 1st
#2 $5,284.17 The Lord of the Rings Tolkien TRUE UK 1STS 1954-1955
#3 $4,390.20 Ian Fleming CASINO ROYALE 1st / 1st 1953 Jonathan Cape
#4 $3,104.93 Ian Fleming Signed Thunderball James Bond Hb1st / 1st
#5 $3,024.36 David Gemmell WAYLANDER 1st ed HB SIGNED+ DVD Footage
#6 $1,983.54 Northern Lights Philip Pullman 1st/1st Point Signed
#7 $1,963.90 Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban Deluxe 1/2 Signed
#8 tie $1,957.10 Signed 1st Edition Inside Out by Nick Mason/Pink Floyd
#8 tie $1,957.10 Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets 1st 1st Signed Deluxe
#8 tie $1,957.10 Harry Potter Philosophers Stone Deluxe 1/2 Signed

The Spy Who Loved
Ian Fleming

A signed copy with a known provenance took this 1st edition, 1st impression copy of The Spy Who Loved Me to the top of the fiction top 10. The UK seller, who also sold #4, inherited a large collection from his grandfather, who was in printing. The auction includes a letter from Ian Fleming about the signing. Listed as "almost as good as new," the 10-day auction with 9 photos garnered 6 bids to sell for $6,068.97.

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

JRR Tolkien

Selling as a best offer, the trio of first edition, first impressions were listed by a UK seller with 12 photos. Two of the books are described as having very good bindings with the third in good condition. All three have the original binding and are in facsimile dust jackets.

Casino Royale
Ian Fleming

The 1st edition, 1st printing of Casino Royale was listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 6 photos. It was described as in very good+ condition; the seller notes this is from the 4,728 copies in this printing. After 23 bids, the book sold for $4,390.20.

Ian Fleming

The UK seller of #1 also sold this signed 1st edition, 1st impression. Listed in a 10-day auction with 7 photos, the auction includes a photocopy of a letter to the seller's grandfather from Ian Fleming. Described as in very good condition, the book attracted 8 bids.

David Gemmell

In a change of pace from Fleming and Tolkien, #5 on the fiction list is a "very rare first edition hardback" of Waylander, "one of only 750." The UK seller listed it for 10 days with 5 photos. Included in the auction is a DVD showing Gemmell signing this copy. After 5 bids, the auction closed at $3,024.36.

Northern Lights
Philip Pullmanen

Listed by a UK seller with private feedback in a 7-day auction with 6 photos, the signed 1st edition, 1st printing was relisted "due to a non paying bidder." Described as very good in a very good dust jacket, the book attracted 32 bids.

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
J.K. Rowling

Though the UK seller had only 4 feedbacks, he managed to sell 3 of the fiction top 10 in February. Listed "as new, unread" and signed by the author, the special edition UK deluxe clothbound edition was listed in a 7-day auction with 3 photos. It sold with 1 bid.

3-way tie

Inside Out
Nick Mason

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J.K. Rowling

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

In a rare occurrence, February saw a 3-way tie for #8; all 3 titles appear regularly in the top 10 fiction lists. First was a signed, first edition of Inside Out by Nick Mason. The Genesis publication was listed by a UK seller in a 10-day auction with 2 photos and attracted 9 bids. Then on February 19th, the seller of #7 saw 2 more of his Harry Potter deluxe books sell for $1,957.10, making for a stellar payday. When a new seller with few feedbacks shows up in the top 10, particularly with multiple sales, we often check to see if the sales were completed. In the case of the UK seller of Harry Potter books, each of his/her 3 top 10 auctions received only 1 bid. These were private auctions, so there is no clear way to determine if the sole bidder in each case was the same buyer or if feedback was left.

Non-Fiction Top 10
February 2007

#1 $3,890.00 PROVOKE 2 EROS nude photography 1969 MORIYAMA signed !!
#3 $2,087.78 Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Signed 1/250 Ltd.
#4 $2,074.00 Box of 2 Peter Beard Books Taschen NR
#6 $1,500.00 A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)
#7 $1,300.00 Margin of Safety by Seth A. Klarman (1991)

Provoke 2 Eros
Daido Moriyama and others

In a 10-day auction, the Italian seller listed the 1969 softcover photography book with 2 photos. Described as "fine condition!!! First edition. Signed by Daido Moriyama.... This is the original Japanese first edition...." After 28 bids, the auction ended at $3,890.

Illustrations for the Bible
Marc Chagall

Detailing extensive flaws - "Lacks the spine and dust jacket, original lithograph boards ... are chipped and rubbed.... The original lithograph cover is defective & in fair condition ...." - the positives outweighed them with the 14 bidders who carried the opening bid of $1,500 all the way to $3,688. It was listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 12 photos.

Long Walk to Freedom
Nelson Mandela

Coming in at #3, the signed1st UK edition published by Little, Brown was among 250 copies of this limited edition in slipcase. Listed by a UK seller in a 5-day auction with 3 photos, the book attracted 4 bids.

[Peter Beard: Art Edition]?

Ever seen an action that was more about the seller than the for-sale item? Took me quite a while to find enough info to guess at the title. Here's what we know from the auction: "Box of 2 Peter Beard Books." Another clue: The volume in the sole photo is part of a Taschen limited edition in a case. The photo helped confirm that this is likely Peter Beard: Art Edition. Condition is "appears brand new or factory sealed...." Listed in a 7-day auction by a US seller, it attracted 30 bids.

Alcoholics Anonymous

The 1st edition, 11th printing in a special binding sold for $1,691 with 11 bids. Signed by Bill Wilson, it was described as "very good with some wear ... writing and underlining." It was listed by a US seller in a 7-day auction with 6 photos.

A Confederacy of Dunces
John Kennedy Toole

"Near flawless copy" was the description of this prize-winning novel by the US seller who listed it in a 7-day auction with 3 photos. It received 1 bid and sold at the opening price of $1,500.

Margin of Safety
Seth A. Klarman

Selling as a BIN, the US seller with 6 feedbacks described it briefly as, "used/read once, in perfect condition" and included no photos.

Let's Get Lost: A Film Journal
Bruce Weber

Called an "ultra rare book," the 1988 softcover was described as in excellent condition. A US seller listed it in a 7-day auction with 5 photos. After 7 bids, it sold for $1,380.

Artists and Prostitutes
David LaChapelle

Listed by a US seller in a 10-day auction with 3 photos, the book is described as in very good condition. It sold after 6 bids.

Blinds and Shutters
Michael Cooper

The limited edition (3074 of 5000) was signed by the author and includes 12 autographs by Eric Clapton, George Harrison and others. Described as "new...never opened," it was listed in a 7-day auction with 2 photos. After 19 bids, it sold for $1,227.

By the Numbers

11 sellers were from the UK
8 sellers were from the USA
1 seller was from Italy
1 seller sold 3 books
Another seller sold 2 books
19 books were published during or after 1950
1 was published before 1950
0 book was listed for 3 days
1 books was listed for 5 days
10 books were listed for 7 days
7 books were listed for 10 days
1 sold as BIN
2 sold as a Best Offer
1 to 32 was the range of bids
3 were private auctions
Seller feedback ranged from 0 to 197,619.*
The seller who sold 3 books in the Fiction Top 10 had a feedback of 4.*
11 books were sold by sellers with 100% positive feedback
Feedback ranged from 90.1% to 100% for sellers who had feedback
The oldest book was published in 1947.

*feedback is noted at the time the auction is viewed by BookThink.

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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