Over the Christmas break I made three series book purchases. Two of the purchases were made on ABE (Advanced Book Exchange), a book service I have only occasionally used. The third purchase I made was on Ebay. I know I've been ranting the last couple of days about Ebay, but I feel the need to vent once again. Forgive me in advance, if you will please.
All three packages arrived today (Don't you hate that? You'd think they would spread themselves out over several day so that you have something to look forward to in the mail. Bills come almost every day. Why can't packages?). Two were well packaged in new boxes, and one package was a tad beaten and worn. The first package I opened was a copy of the Dana Girls "In the Shadow of the Tower." It was a copy in a red and turquoise jacket, a format I've recently decided I would like to collect. The book is in beautiful condition, the dust jacket bright and attractive, and the spine just a little lighter than the cover and back. It looks great and I will add it to the collection. I paid 28.00 for the book. It was a little pricey, but the condition of the book justified the price. I purchased it through ABE.
In the next package I had a copy of "Beverly Gray's Surprise". Anyone who collects the Beverly Gray series knows that the Clover books are cheaply made, and many copies have not held up over time. "Surprise" was only released in the Clover edition, so a nice sturdy copy can be hard to come by. Often times the cellophane coating on the cover is peeling or gone, and the bindings have also loosened over the years. This is the last title in the series, and when I found this copy on ABE for 10.99 I jumped on it. I now own a nice, sturdy copy of the last volume in a series I like, for a price that was minimal. If the general rule of thumb that the last book in any series is harder to find, than I think I did pretty well.
My last package, the one that didn't look so good was purchased from an Ebay seller. It contained four Beverly Gray titles that were sold as a lot. I opened the package, and I was grateful it was not raining today. The box had been used several times, and the books were not wrapped in any plastic or paper. Some newspapers were balled up, I suppose to keep the books from moving around in transit. I can't understand why a seller would mail books that aren't protected from moisture. Upon close inspection, I quickly determined that the books were not up to my collecting standards. They aren't terrible copies, but the dust jackets are faded and worn, and the books have a musty odor, something not mentioned in the original description. I paid 40.00 for the four books, and will try and sell them for 9.99 each in my Bonanzle booth. Perhaps at that price they will sell as reading copies, and I will break even, sans my Bonanzle selling fee.
I was obviously most disappointed in my Ebay purchase, and will not be giving the seller superior ratings. A wet, rainy day could have completely ruined the books I purchased. As it is, I am stuck with books that I really don't want, despite missing copies of two of the titles. My ABE purchases are very good, and they were well wrapped and protected. I purchased the Beverly Gray books without doing a lot of homework, something that happens when an auction is about to end. Buying books on ABE or Bonanzle gives the consumer a chance to find out what they are getting before they make their purchase. Auctions can be fun, and good deals are sometimes made, but the fixed price sales can sometimes prove to be the better way to go.