Saturday, September 02, 2006

Questions, Questions

A reader recently left the following comment:

Hi! I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now and would
like to compliment you on your whimsical style of writing - it's easy to read
and also informative! I am an ebay beginner , an elementary teacher by
profession, so I have not much time to do all of the research on ebay, thrift
shop trawling etc, but I have built up quite a supply of books to list after a
busy summer of yard sales! Deciding how to price the books and get them into
ebay takes so long because I am new at it. How do you research as you do? What
do you put into the key words and options to find a seller that you think is
doing well? Then how do you keep track of her and your data? That's many
questions in one but only a tiny fraction of what I would love to ask!

I thought I'd go ahead and answer her questions here. (By the way, I'm chuffed that she used the word "whimsical" because it's one of my favorite words.)

Research. I prefer to call it snooping because that makes it sound more fun. The best way to snoop is to go into the advanced search screen of eBay. Click on completed auctions and then choose additional parameters, such as the non-fiction book category and books that are that are at least $30, so that you don't have to wade through as much junk. Just for kicks you can also narrow down your search by zip code. Let yourself become very familiar with this advanced search screen. It's your friend.

While perusing the completed auctions pay close attention to the books that you would have passed by at a sale. Study the auction titles and layouts and make mental notes of what you like and dislike. I like to mentally rewrite titles, even on highly successful auctions, because it's a good exercise. Eventually a certain seller will catch your eye. Go and study their other listings. Mark them as a favorite seller in your "my eBay." This allows you to return to that seller's listings on a regular basis. I look at the listings of my favorite seller on a daily basis and it motivates me to list books (I'm happy to share my favorite seller IDs via e-mail. Click on the "contact me" link in the sidebar). At the end of the week I sometimes search her completed auctions and add up her sales, because that motivates me too.

When researching book values (not quite as much fun as snooping but it must be done) I use Amazon. If the book isn't listed on Amazon, or if the Amazon price is very high, I look on Bookfinder. On Amazon I study the sales rank as closely as the price. Sales rank tells you how quickly the book will sell. If a book has a sales rank of 200 and can be listed for $5.00 I'll happily do so because I know it will fly out the door within 24 hours. If a book has a sales rank of 3 million and is worth $20.00 I study the book to see if there are keywords that will make it sell on eBay. If not I usually chuck the book, especially if the content seems weak.

Feel free to ask more questions!
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2 Comments:

Anonymous Dan said...

I always enjoy your blog posts.

I was curious where this "Book Castle" is located and if you have their contact information.

Thanks

10:28 PM  
Anonymous sheila said...

I am the reader who asked the original questions and I am thrilled you used my questions as a topic! I'm not actually a registered account reader with you and so only come upon you occasionally as I am browsing...I'll have to address that right now! I'm going to try your techniques today/tomorrow (you know how that goes..)and then try to actually get brave enough to actually make some pricing decisions and list some books!

6:04 AM  

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