AE Monthly

Articles - April - 2012 Issue

Tips from an eBay Power Seller

Interesting ephemera

Image salvaged from a tattered atlas.

Taste Migrating from Books

The gods of popular taste are conspiring against the lovers of books. Sad to say the combination of eBooks and the easy accessibility out-of-print text material on line has cut sharply into the market for books as we used to know them.

Despite the movement away from bound volumes, there is still a very substantial interest in (and market for) vintage and antique paper. However these days it’s more likely to be as ephemera than as books. While printed words may have lost some of their value, pictures, especially older maps and some kinds of vintage prints, posters and photos seem to have stable or rising prices.

Evaluate the Junk

Like many sellers I have quite a few things that I’ve had for a long time that are in less than ideal condition. Take that 1839 incomplete American mini-atlas with many of the remaining pages wormed, torn or stained. Is it worthless?

Maybe as a book it’s worthless, but as ephemera it has a second life on eBay.

There are still multiple pages with small, crude, and for America, “old” pictures of the frontier and American landmarks as they looked in the early 19th century. Price it by the page and you’ll find it sells. Those small, charming pictures are still of interest and worth money to someone. Writing a description and getting a good photo is a way to make a book go from worthless to profitable.

Lo, these many years later there still is no place quite like eBay for sellers to show and sell their wares to an international audience. Usually at least once a month eBay offers sellers some kind of additional listing freebies, especially if they have signed up for a store front. Even deducting all their fees, the cost of keeping a store front, the commission, their percentage off the top to Paypal, it’s still a deal.

Susan Halas may be reached at wailukusue@gmail.com.

AE Monthly


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