Wednesday, March 22, 2006


We've been doing some eBaying lately. A few years ago I bought a big collection of Americana, and I long-ago made a profit on it, but there are, as always, still books hanging around that did not sell for one reason or another. Some are pretty good, but a bunch are mid-range non-fiction, the sort of thing that the big databases have made difficult to sell. I tried the usual methods- mark 'em down to half price, put 'em up in lots on the email lists and so on, and got rid of some, but there's still a few shelves left... so what do you do with them?

The logical answer would be donate them to a library sale. But the books are in that awkward range, not good enough to want to hang onto, but a bit too good to give away. So they've been sitting, getting on my nerves. There's nothing more demoralizing than staring at useless books day after day. That, in itself, is reason enough to eBay them.

The other thing is that we're thinking about doing more eBaying in the future, as a way to troll for customers for our core subject areas. The eBay buyer-profile has broadened a lot in the last few years, and there's some good anecdotal evidence that we might be able to pick up some good regular customers there. But a lot of things have changed about eBay since I last sold through it, and it takes a little time to learn how to use their new systems the best way.

So- we're putting the Americana stuff up there, a bit at a time. Kills two birds with one hammer- gets rid of the books and gets us familiar with how to use their new systems. Looked at on a profit-for-time basis the effort is not worth it- we could make more money just dumping those books and devoting the time to something else, especially since there never seems to be enough time in the day anyway. But it's an interesting experiment, and giving us valuable insight into how to use the system, so it's probably worth it in the end.

And it's a funny thing, how much satisfaction I can get out of seeing a 1945 Eastern Airlines brochure get bid up to $4.25... stupid, but hey, Life is about the little victories, isn't it?

You can keep track of our crap here.

Hey, everyone needs a book about Billy the Kid, right?


Mike said...

I have never fully understood how ebay works. Seems to me there would be a huge chance of getting ripped off somehow.

I have a house full of junk I could sell on ebay though, so let us know how it works out.

h0les said...

Aside from selling my smelly old shoes on ebay, I sell books there too...it's a fun hobby more than a living but Ive made a decent profit from most of what Ive sold.

I never pay more than 25p for a book and Ive sold some for £30+ each. The last book I sold was a first edition Brassai...Fiesta in Seville, I picked it up for 20p from a charity shop :)I believe it's worth much more than the £30 I got for it, but its still not a bad profit eh

CKW said...

I've been burned on ebay for $450 once. It works mostly by honest people, and those aren't the ones working for ebay. I have cashed checks for a few thousand of $$$ though too. It all depends on what you're looking for or looking to get rid of.

I picked up an old, authentic map of Colorado from 1885 on ebay and had it framed. I love it. Cost $10. I have since learned how to do my own framing for much less. Map $10, framing x10, somehow its not priceless yet.

jgodsey said...

ebay got old for me very quickly. if you have a nice item...you don't need to put it there to sell it.