Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy belated New Year!

OK, so I’m a day late, and a dollar short. It’s the thought that counts, right?

I’ve been on vacation from my day job since mid-December, and managed to accomplish relatively little, other than eating too much, and watching too many TV marathons (i.e., American Horror Story and Haven) with Ella.  I did list quite a bit on Amazon/Ebay, and, of course, I kept up with my packing/shipping.  I tried to scout some, but with the exception of one huge thrift store find, pickings were slim this holiday season, and even after-Christmas sales were less than inspiring. 

Needless to say, it’s time to get back to work. 

My first order of business is/was to get a new blog posted.  I hope everyone had an excellent holiday selling season; mine was OK; sales in December 2013 were down across my bookselling platforms (Amazon, Alibris, Half, and Biblio) by about 9 percent compared to last year.  Ebay, too, was down about 9 percent.  I’m not sure if lack of inventory or lack of effort on my part is to blame.  Either way, I have much work to do in the coming year to grow the business.

My one good find in December was at an out of town thrift store on the day after Christmas.  Everything in the store was half price that day, and I literally found a grocery store buggy (or “cart” for my northern readers) full of books that apparently had been donated by a Christian bookstore.  Multiple copies of high-dollar books made my season a little brighter.

In the spirit of the holiday, I also was the victim of feedback extortion, but in a weird way:

Buyer: If you want me to leave feedback, you need to leave feedback or I'm going to leave negative feedback! I paid you ASAP and still no feedback, I don't have time to remind each seller to leave positive feedback. Thank you.

Me: Thank you for the reminder, although it was unnecessary. Using an Ebay app, most sellers automatically leave feedback upon receipt of positive feedback from a buyer. Have a happy holiday.

Buyer: The sellers I have purchased from leave feedback as soon I as I pay for the item(s). Happy Holidays.

Needless to say, I went ahead and left positive feedback, and the buyer did the same.

Not all was gloom and doom online, though, and I did have a few good sales on Ebay, including these Doo Wop DVDs acquired for $3.

Ella really wanted to keep these DVDs!

I’ve mentioned before that I love obsolete technology.  Over the holidays, a VHS tape rewinder and several really old-school vacuum tubes sold.

Old-school technology continues to sell well
I also finally got rid of my Austin Powers collection.  I was disappointed that they didn’t sell for more, but I accepted a low best offer just to get them off my shelf.

"Yeah baby, yeah!"
Looking back, overall, 2013 wasn't bad. Looking ahead to 2014, I see areas that need improvement, and my resolution is to make it my best year yet.

On a parting note, I want to say how much fun it was to celebrate Christmas with Duc this year.  Vietnam doesn’t really celebrate Christmas, and Duc was thrilled to open his presents, which included a bottle of Vietnamese fish sauce (a staple like ketchup).  It seems the cheap American sauce from Publix just doesn’t stack up against the good stuff from the homeland.


  1. Good to see you back!. Glad all is well and that you had a nice holiday with Ella and Duc. Those electronic tubes are nice. My hubby makes cool lights out of them. I bought some 1960's Whitman Big Little Books thinking of you and how you always say there's money in books. Turns out they're not worth much maybe $5-8. Darn! I'm selling them as a lot hoping to make my investment back.

    1. I'm sorry the books aren't panning out individually, but selling them as a lot is a good strategy. I always make sure to check my books, either with my smartphone or my PDA/scanner, to make sure they are worthwhile. I know money is probably tight, but you really should invest in a scouting package, or at least a smartphone with Internet access. It will pay for itself in no time.

    2. I have a question for you. I've been using underscores in my titles because I remember a post of yours where you suggested doing that to make the title look longer. Someone recently suggested to me that they might be keeping my items from coming up in a google search. Do you think that's a possibility? I checked your listings and I see you still use them.

    3. I don't know, honestly. I use them to separate thoughts in the title. I never thought that they could be a detriment, though. Perhaps I should cease and desist.

  2. Glad you're back! Always enjoy reading your posts. Yes, let's make 2014 a great year!

  3. Happy New Year, Scott! Wishing you and Ella a year filled with good health, happiness, record-breaking sales and zero customers threatening negative feedback.