Thursday, 6 December 2018


Images copyright relevant owner

Take a look at this cover of the TV COMIC Annual for 1977.  There's one on sale on ebay at the moment for a 'buy it now' price of a fiver, and another one for £4.99.  Unless they're in absolute pristine condition, those prices are pretty fair for a book that pops up on a regular basis.  Hold on though.  There 's another couple also available which are ludicrously expensive - one for - wait for it - £201.08 from julies.bookshop, the other for £202.47 from worldofbooks.  The former is described as being "in very good overall condition, with some signs of previous ownership", which means it may well have an inscription or some scribbles, and have puzzle pages filled in.

The latter is described as "...Reading Copy.  You can call it "well loved" if you want, but the reality is this book is likely to be heavily worn, possibly with external damage.  If you are after the text of the book then this will be absolutely fine, but it's unlikely to meet your needs for a present or as part of a collection."  Basically, what you're buying is potentially as far away from pristine as it's possible to get.

I have two theories here.  The first is that one seller has seen what the other seller is asking for and merely followed their example.  Y'know - "Wow!  If theirs' is worth that, then mine must be worth that too!"  Trouble is, the book is worth nowhere near that amount, and it'll be another couple of centuries before it even might be.  The second theory is that both sellers are merely chancers who hope that there's someone stupid enough to pay over £200 for a book that's only worth a mere fraction of that.  And harking back to an earlier post, it's ridiculously obscene amounts like this that clueless charity shop staff are basing their prices on.

All I can say is it's just as well I still have the copy I bought back in the '70s (that's it at the top of this post) - not that there'd be much chance of me ever paying £200 for a fairly easy-to-come-by Annual that can be bought for a fiver.  What's your take on this situation, readers?  Ever been flabbergasted by the asking price for something on ebay?  Tell your fellow Criv-ites about it in the comments section.


Anonymous said...

"...with some signs of previous ownership"

"...a Reading Copy"

This is exactly why I'd never buy somebody else's second-hand cast-offs. I wouldn't buy them even in pristine condition.

Kid said...

"This is exactly why..." is a redundant reason if you'd never buy anything regardless of price or condition, CJ. You'd never buy them even if they were only a fiver and in pristine condition.

Philip Crawley said...

I don't know who is the bigger idiot - the seller asking such an extortionate amount or any buyer gullible enough to pay it!!

I collect prehistoric animal figures and the same thing happens so I would imagine this scenario being played out within any given area of collectables being sold online. Really have to laugh though when I see the asking price on some items when a scroll further down the page of search results can often bring up several more listings for the same item at a fraction of that price and every one in as good if not better condition.

Online trading, eh.

pete doree said...

I've got the deadly hands of kung fu issue with Bruce Lee's life story by (if memory serves) Joe Staton and Tony dezuniga. Its OK but no classic. Bought it for a fiver at a con - saw it on ebay for £200 also. Good luck selling that.

Kid said...

What really gets me, PC & PD, is when charity shop staff insist on taking such opportunistic prices as gospel, even when there are even far less expensive examples on sale at the same time (as you pointed out, PS). "We research the prices to make sure they're realistic" they bleat, utterly unable to consider that some eBay sellers are simply chancing their arm.

There's a little china or porcelain log with flowers with some broken petals in one charity shop I know and the asking price is a fiver. It's been there for months, yet if it was £3 I'd have bought it by now. Because of their unrealistic prices, stock lies unsold for months, so it takes longer to fill their tills. They could earn in six months what they earn in a year if some of their more extremely-priced items were more reasonable.

On eBay at the moment, there are various copies of a 'Return Of The Saint' Annual for a few quid, yet yesterday, worldofbooks were asking £182-odd for their copy. Outrageous, perhaps even criminal. It shouldn't be allowed.

Dave S said...

I try whenever possible not to use one of the sellers you mention in your post (clue:it's not Julie's Bookshop).

Why? Because on two occasions now, I've seen a book listed at a reasonable price and 'watched' it to buy later, then when I've gone back later to buy it, lo and behold, the price has been raised much higher than before- a few weeks ago, I clicked 'watch' on a book listed at £3.29, which I thought was reasonable for what it was - a few hours later they now wanted £29.99 for it.

Co-incidence or are they raising prices on books which someone has shown an interest in? Looks like it to me. Why not just list them at the price they want to get?

I know, I should have bought the books then and there and deny them the chance to raise the price, unfortunately though I can browse eBay at work, but my contract at work doesn't allow us to buy anything online on a work PC.

Kid said...

I sent them an email a couple of days ago, DS, pointing out their ridiculous prices for some items. Here's the response I received earlier today...

Dear Customer,

Thanks for your email.

We have an automatic pricing system which adjusts the prices of our items based on several variables, including things like market demand and availability.

Our listing prices are updated many times each day – sometimes they increase, sometimes they decrease. Please check the marketplace listings to keep up to date with our prices.


World of Books Ebay Customer Service

What a pile of p*sh, eh? Basically, if they see a book going for more elsewhere, they raise their price to match it. Trouble is, so do other sellers, so chaos ensues. Sometimes you do get a bargain with WoB, but it's a lucky dip.

Lionel Hancock said...

They probably study the American book/ magazine dealer Koch...They are notorious for nonsense prices .eg Smash 60 for $275us..... They only book worth paying that price for would be a first edition Holy Bible autographed by Jesus.

Kid said...

Mile High Comics are terrible for overpricing UK books and comics, LH. Americans perhaps consider them a bit of a novelty and therefore valuable, but eBay is international and Mile High seem to ignore that such items can be had for a fraction of the price in the UK and sent across. They were selling a Marvel Annual 1974 for £432.87 (plus £23.53 p&p), which can be bought here for around a tenner.

Kid said...

Regarding that little porcelain log, a visit or two down the line I offered them £3 for it, pointing out that it had lain unsold for months and had broken petals. The assistant readily accepted my offer, saying that she was affronted that the shop was asking a fiver for an item in less-than-perfect condition.

£3 in their till that they otherwise wouldn't have got, so everyone's a winner. Is it valuable? It's probably not even worth three quid, but I liked the colours.

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