Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ask and ye might receive

A couple of the sales I have made have only occurred because someone was brave enough to ask me a question.

Take the case (mentioned a few days ago) of Sandra in New Zealand. She was brave enough to check with me and see if I would be willing to ship an audiobook to her, even though I had the book labeled "US only". If she hadn't, if she had just seen that and though "oh, well" - then no sale.

Today a gentleman in Texas (heya, Eddie!) emailed me about some Who's Who comics I had up for sale. I had the entire 26-issue set up as 13 2-issue "items", at $8.00 apiece (not a bad profit for a $1 cover price book). The online price guide said they were valued at $4 per issue, and I figured what the heck - if they don't sell, I can always lower them later. Eddie emailed me and said he really needed issues 21-26, but wasn't able (or willing, I suppose) to spend $4 per issue to get them (he had just gotten 1-20 for $0.99 + $7.00 shipping - but he realized that was a helluva deal). Would I go to $2 per issue? So, I did a little market research, seeing what others were asking for them. Mine weren't the priciest (some went up to $6 per issue in fact), but they were above average (many were asking $0.99 per). Now, I think my comics are in extraordinary condition - and I get compliments in feedback all the time about how I am undergrading them when I call them only "Near Mint". But, it seems I could be a tad lower. So I lowered the price of all 13 sets to $5.50 per set (that's $2.75 per issue for those of you who are divisionally challenged) and contacted Eddie letting him know. "Even if it's not low enough for you, thanks for pointing out a place where I could be more competitive."

Well, not only did he buy the three sets he wanted at $5.50 per, he also bought the Who's Who Update '87 issues 1-5 for $15, and the Who's Who Update '88 issues 1-4 for $12. Not a bad order all in all. And all because he was bold enough to ask if I'd be willing to go a little lower on the price.

So, the moral? If you see something you like on eBay (especially if it's from me), but you think it's too high a price, or it doesn't say I'll ship it to you, or maybe you only want one issue out of a set that I have up together...well, just ask! The worst that will happen is I'll say "thanks, but no." And you might just end up getting what you wanted!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Commenting is now easier! Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Okay, I know that I have some regular readers out there (friends and family for the most part, naturally) as well as the occasional from the link at the store, or the "next Blog" button on Blogger, or some bizarre random Google search. I just wanted to let you all know that I've now made it easier to leave comments here if you'd like. I didn't realize that I had this set to only allow Blogger members to comment. I've now set that to "anyone", so you need not sign up to leave a comment.

I do, however, reserve the right to review comments before they get posted! No comment spam here, thank you very much!

I've just discovered how to turn on titles! What fun!

The 5th Horseman by James Patterson, Gone by Jonathan Kellerman, and False Impression by Jeffrey Archer - three more audiobooks Dad dropped off (via my brother, who has a voice lesson with him every week) to add to the store. Now up for purchase if you'd like :-)

Other than that, not too much to report today, I'm afraid. Well, besides one massive sale. A gentleman from Illinois (howdy, Kyle!) bought 91 cards from me (as 80 "items" - 6 were multi-card sets). He says he hopes to be pleased with the cards, and if so, will return in June or July to buy more. Glad to hear it!

One problem with his order, though - and it's now the third time I've experienced this problem, but I don't think I've ranted about it here as yet (and if I have, it darn well deserves another rant anyway). For some blasted reason, eBay will not let me combine more than 40 items together in one order, meaning a customer like Kyle needs to get two (or more, even - Mr. Tree from the UK a few weeks back got three!) invoices, and needs to pay twice then if they're using PayPal. A minor inconvenience? Sure. A loss of $0.30 for each additional payment to PayPal fees? Yes again. An all around royal pain in the arse? You betcha!

I think I'll drop eBay Customer Service a note and ask why they have this setup. It really makes no sense to me.

And on a complete tangent - I was thrilled and amazed by the wonder that is the internet yesterday. For some reason I had been telling my older son about a silly skit/song/skit thing I heard long ago in high school called "Boot to The Head" by the Frantics. I finally said to myself: "Self, you ought to be able to find that on the internet." So, I Googled "Boot to the Head" and what do you know? The first hit has a transcript and downloadable mp3's of the thing. If you've never heard it before, give it a listen. It's freaking hysterical.

Then I remembered trying to explain to my eldest and my wife (who had somehow never heard it) about Abbot & Costello's famous "Who's on First" comedy dialogue. So, I Googled that as well. Had to go to the second hit to find an mp3 of it (the first had only the transcript). Also worth a listen if you've never heard it.

Okay - that's my plugs for this time around . Shade and sweet water! Okay, one more - lots of Elfquest comics available in the store!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Okay, which do you want first - the bad news, or the bad news?

First off, only two of my auctions for this week sold. Not terrible news, but I thought I had picked items which would draw attention to themselves, and through them, the store. Doesn't seem to have worked so well. Of course, the holiday weekend may have had something to do with it.

Secondly, and most depressingly, is the fact that I was wrong, which is to say I was originally right, about the listing fees. I am in fact getting zapped for $0.03 for each store listing every 30 days. I guess eBay was just a little slow in charging them. This means that since I've got over 2000 listings in the store now, I'll be eating not only the $16.95 monthly fee for the store itself, but also over $60 in listing fees! Ouch! I need to keep a very close eye on the sales over the next month or two to make sure that this store is in fact paying for itself. I don't know what I'll do if it doesn't - I've put a lot of work into all these listings!

Well, hopefully something good will come from that eBay reseller marketplace. I wish more then ever now that I'd won that lot of video games a few days back!
Not a bad 24 hours.

During the last day I have sold a set of 3 comics for $9, a set of 2 for $6, and 6 comics to a gent in England for $18. I think those sales covered any listing fees for the second set of 3 comic boxes I put up.

Which leads to the other piece of good news: I'M FINISHED! The last of the comic books are now up in the store. No more inventory entries for a while now, I hope. Just sit back and let the orders (hopefully) roll in.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Okay - I just finished typing up the second of the three boxes of comic books that I pulled earlier in the week. The last of them are uploading as I type this. I now have over 2000 items available in the store, which just amazes the heck out of me.

Only one more box to go, which I'll try to get up tomorrow. Then, maybe, finally, I can take a bit of a break and just deal with filling orders and what-not. That would be nice. Although I have been catching up on my podcasts while typing up item descriptions. I listen to Slice of SciFi (which covers news about SciFi in TV, movies, etc.), Dragon Page Cover to Cover (which covers SciFi and Fantasy literature) and Winging It (which pretty much covers SciFi geeks getting drunk and having sex), three podcasts by Michael & Evo. If you've never heard of them, check them out - very funny, and cool if you're into SciFi and Fantasy as I am. I'm also listening to a podiobook called 7th Son Book One: Descent by J. C. Hutchins from But that's enough plugging for one entry :-)

Earlier tonight I sold a set of three comics which had just been listed earlier in the day. Very cool. It was the first three issues of Elfquest: Wave Riders, a spin-off series from the popular fantasy series from WaRP Graphics. The spin-off didn't interest me much, so I stopped buying after issue #3. But, someone out there needed/wanted them, it seems, so good for them and for me that I decided to sell them!
I "meet" some of the coolest people through eBay.

The latest is a lovely lady from New Zealand (hi, Sandra!) who wrote to me, interested in one of Dad's audiobooks. When I set up all the entries for the audiobooks, I set them to "Ships to US only", not really thinking anyone outside the US would be interested (they're in English, which would cut out many out there, I think - but more importantly it can cost almost as much as the audiobook to have it shipped elsewhere).

But, Sandra was looking for this particular book as it can't be found in New Zealand, apparently. There were several available at the time, but "your listing & wording appealed to me the most" as she wrote (I hope she doesn't mind getting quoted here!). "I loved the way you described your father's collection and how the tapes have been looked after & used gently etc., plus I can almost imagine your dad's collection up in the attic - mounting up but pre-loved, and wanting new homes where they will be enjoyed again & again." As I said, I meet the coolest people this way.

So, anyway, I revised the listing so that it was available worldwide, and she bought it. It shipped off this morning. It turns out I overestimated the weight, so I had to send back a partial refund as she paid too much for shipping.

Someday soon, when I'm bored enough, I will go through and modify the remaining audiobooks to make them available worldwide. What the heck - someone cool out there may want to buy them!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Amazing Spider-Man 36 CGC 9.6

Hopefully this will be a listing I add to my store in the not-too-distant future. Let me explain.

Yesterday I went through my entire comic book collection again and pulled three more comic boxes full of comics to put up in the store. Between yesterday and today I have photographed all of them (over 300 photos), processed said photos, and I have written up descriptions for about half of one box, and added them to the store so far.

Among the comics I found some gems (like the aforementioned ASM #36 - a World Trade Center tribute issue written by J. Michael Straczynski) which are worth $20 or more (according to the online comic book price guide I consult). This means that they are potentially worth even more if they are in as good a condition as I believe them to be, and I have them officially graded by the CGC (Comics Guaranty, LLC). This is an independent outfit which will (for a small fee of ~$15 per comic) grade your comic books, then seal them in a nice hard plastic slip case so they will remain nice and flaw-free forever and ever.

Never mind that you can't read them any more.

But, I have seen for myself that an officially graded CGC 9.6 (on a 10-point scale) comic will pull in easily double what a non-graded comic can. So, I think it may be worth it to send in some of these comics to get the official stamp, and then reap larger rewards. I kind of wish I had done that with some comics I sold off earlier (Wolverine limited series, the first appearance of The Punisher, some others).

Anyway, once I have sent these off and gotten them graded, I'll report back and let you all know how that process went.

Oh, I still haven't gotten over the loss of that video game lot yesterday. Man, that bummed me out!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Damn and blast!

I bid $96 with 11 minutes left in the auction for that lot of video games. The high bid was still $51 at the time, and I was now winning with $52. I went to have lunch.

I returned to find someone had outbid me at the last minute, and won the lot for $97.

Part of me wishes I'd been at the computer at the time, because maybe I could have outbid this other person. But part of me says, "hey - $96 was really all you were willing to spend, 'cause that would make $150 total with the shipping (plus there's the 5% MD sales tax since Circuit City has stores in MD)". So, really, that's life. Someone was willing to pay more than I was.

Does that mean they're a complete fool? Or was it really that good a set of games? Now I'll never know. The same outfit has a couple of other lots up ending today, but none of them have a mix of games that excites me, so I'll just have to wait and see if they list anything else.

I was SO looking forward to getting this big ol' box of games, too. SIGH.
It's been a while since I've been waiting for this many people to pay me.

It's odd - there were several orders over the last couple of days which just haven't been paid for yet. I'm currently waiting for 6 people to send money. No major orders, all are under $10 total. I'm not sure how long to wait before I send a payment reminder. I don't want to seem rude or impatient, but I do want to get paid and get these things out of the house!

On another front...I'm going to try something completely new today. As a Power Seller I have access to the eBay Reseller Marketplace, where one can buy large lots of stuff for resale. There's an outfit which sells off Circuit City's store returns as large lots, and they have up a lot of PC video games and computer guide books. It's $54 in shipping, and has at least 70 games in it. Current bid is $51. In theory I could make a nice profit on it - and it has the bonus of having a game or two I'm interested in myself.

The drawback? As store returns there's no guarantee the blasted things even work. Why were they returned? No way to know. Could be a gift someone didn't want, and it's in an unopened box, even - great for me. Or, it could have a massive scratch on the CD, and is completely unusable. Not so good.

Here's the actual quote from the description: "These products should be considered to be store returns in untested, used, open box condition, with all flaws to include the possibility of receiving items that are defective." And later at the end: "TRADING CIRCUIT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, OR REPRESENTATIONS OF ANY KIND REGARDING THE GOODS, AND TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL PRODUCTS LISTED BY TRADING CIRCUIT ARE SOLD "AS IS, WITH ALL FAULTS."" Okay - a tad nervous-making.

But I think I'm willing to gamble on this once and see how it turns out. I'll report later today on whether I won the lot, and how much it cost me total. And then I think I'll periodically update how the sales of that stuff are going (assuming I win it in the first place).

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Today was a happy day!

"Why was today a happy day, Don?" I hear you ask (I've bugged your computer's microphone).

Well, we had a lot of sales at the store today, for one. The only video game I had up went for $25. Someone bought the entire run of Peter Porker: the Spectacular Spider-Ham (don't ask) for $23. Some Magic cards sold. All in all, very nice.

But the bestest (yes, that's a word, so there) news of all is that the Store has been up for 30 days now, and the very first Magic cards I listed renewed themselves tonight, as they are listed "GTC", or "Good 'Till Cancelled", they are listed for 30 days at a time, and unless I stop them, they relist automatically.

"What's so good about that?" you ask.

Well - I had thought that when they renewed, I would be socked for another $0.03 listing fee each. BUT THAT DOES NOT SEEM TO BE THE CASE! This is the exciting part! I thought that I would have not only a monthly fee of $16.95 to have the store open, but that each and every piece of inventory would hit me with another listing fee every 30 days. But here we are, 15 minutes or so after the items started renewing, and no sign of a listing fee showing up on my eBay invoice. And believe you me - eBay is VERY good at listing their fees on your invoice in a timely manner!

So, anyway, that's why today was a happy day. Some nice sales, and the very real possibility that this store won't cost me as much to run as I had feared. Not bad.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hooray for me! I just finished typing up the last of the comic book items I had previously pulled for sale on eBay. There may be others I'd like to put up in the store later, but for now a well-deserved break, I think.

Sales have been okay over the last couple of days - a few audiobooks and magic cards have sold. Nothing major like my great order from London. Perhaps this weekend will bring out another person looking for lots of little cards.

Oh, and if you care at all...I got a 97% on that Biotech final I was working on a few weeks back (I missed one multiple choice question) and I got an "A" in the course. Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I got 50 more comic book listings up today, and took all the photographs of all the remaining comics I'm planning on listing right now. I've got maybe 1.25 boxes left to type up and upload. Hopefully they'll get done tomorrow.

I got nice feedback from someone today. "As good an ebayer as possible - immediate shipment, and left feedback before me" - this touches on something that's always bothered me. A lot (maybe most?) eBay sellers will hold off on leaving feedback until feedback is left for them. Like leaving feedback for a buyer is a reward for the buyer leaving feedback for them. Many will actually flat out tell you this is their policy.

I've always felt that eBay feedback is earned when you do your part of a transaction satisfactorily. And when a buyer pays for their item, they have done exactly that - what they agreed to do. It behooves me then to leave feedback stating so. Whether they leave feedback for me later is immaterial. They did their job by paying, they deserve feedback which reflects that. Now, hopefully they WILL leave feedback, and I remind them of such on the packing slip I enclose with each order. But if they don't, such is life.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ugh. I managed to get a few comic books typed up this morning, but then I was laid out by a nasty migraine. Once it was over, several hours later (my lovely wife took off early from work to take over for me watching the kids - I have a great wife) I finished the box of comics I photographed yesterday.

I've now got 80+ comic items up for sale, and two more boxes to photograph and type up. Hopefully by this weekend I'll have them up. And then everything I currently have planned to add to the store will be up.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Today was a big day at The Sundry. We got our new printer/scanner/copier, so the old laser printer (which is like ~15 years old) is hooked up to my computer until the toner finally gives out, then it gets retired. I got my new shipment of PayPal labels for printing postage. There were three orders at the store - one for comics (welcome back to the store, Z!), one for audiobooks (good for Dad) and one for Magic cards.

I started on the comic books, finally. I got several photos taken, and many descriptions done, and lots of comics are now up in the store.

And all of this was on top of my domestic "duties" (toilets cleaned, floors vacuumed + mopped, laundry done, groceries bought, etc., etc.). Not a bad day, all around.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Lots of "draw" auctions ended today (that is, the ones I put up to "draw" attention to the store). One actually did its job - a person who won a single $0.50 card then proceeded to shop at the store and put together a $25+ order. Good deal.

Another good piece of news - I had, several weeks ago, put up for auction a set of 6 comic books, which was won for $15.50. The person never sent me payment, and has had their account closed (mine was not the only non-payment, it seems). I filed a nonpaying bidder dispute, and immediately got the Final Value Fee refunded. This week I listed the six comics individually instead of as a set. All six sold - for a total of $24+ - a nice improvement!

And six out of ten of Dad's audiobooks up for auction sold, which was good for him as well.

So, all in all, not a bad week of auctions. And I discovered that my total sales for the past 10 days is ~$845 - so maybe I won't be unable to maintain that Power Seller status after all! Come on, people - but my stuff!

Oh, and by the way, I've been meaning to mention - if anyone out there feels moved to comment on any of these posts, feel free. I know you're out there!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

This amuses me to no end! I am now an eBay Power Seller!

I got my invitation email this morning. The Power Seller status is mostly one which gives you bragging rights, but there are some extra benefits. There's increased eBay help support, and access to the eBay reseller marketplace (where I could, if I desired, buy large lots of items and then turn around and sell them at my store, or on auction). The biggest bonus is the Power Seller Icon which I can proudly display next to my user name on eBay, on my store, in my listings, and on my main non-eBay web site (which would be here - so I might just do that).

To be a Power Seller you have to:
  • have been an eBay member for at least three months. Check.
  • have a feedback rating of at least 100. Check (611 as of this writing)
  • have a positive feedback rating of at least 98%. Check (99.8% as of this writing*)
  • follow eBay policies. Check.
  • have gross monthly average sales of at least $1000 for the past three months. Check - sort of.

Okay, here's the problem - I only meet the sales criteria because I sold my brother's piccolo trumpet for him back in March for ~$2000. I don't think there's any chance of my maintaining this average unless the store REALLY picks up business soon. So, I suspect that my Power Seller status may be short-lived. But even so, I wanted to sign up for it just to say I had done so. "Besides," as I told my wife, "It will make for a great Blog entry." HAH!

* The one negative feedback left for me was by some psychotic woman who claimed to send me a check which never arrived, then got angry when her merchandise did not get sent to her. I tried to convince her that it did not show up, even suggested she ask her bank to see that the check was not cashed, but she left negative feedback. A look at her feedback showed a history of not paying for items (she had like only 60% positive) and then a week later her account was closed. But I still bear the strike against me. Blast that woman!!!!**

**Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Oh, thank God! I'm DONE!!!!!

I'm doing a little happy dance right now - don't you wish you could see?

As I type these words, the final 91 cards, from the Visions expansion, are uploading to the store. I can't believe it! This is SUCH A RELIEF!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, okay - I still have a ton of comic books to get up, but I'm going to give myself a couple days off from listing, I think. And besides, comic books will be easier to list, as there's not as much explanatory text to put into the description.

On a negative note - no sales today :-( I don't know why not. But then again, the busiest sales days of late were last weekend, so maybe tomorrow & Sunday will produce some big orders. Thankfully I got the last of the cards up in time for that.

Oh, did I mention I got the last of the cards up? Wouldn't want to forget that.

Okay, I'm going to go crash - I was up way too late for way too many nights in a row. Time for a well-deserved break.
Okay, I finally finished the Mirage set and got them uploaded. I did this set piecemeal, getting the commons up this morning, the uncommons this afternoon, and the rares just now (they're uploading as I type this, in fact). I only have the Visions cards left to go (91 cards in that set). I'm almost done!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I did get my final exam finished and sent in on time. Good for me.

My wife and I just settled on a new printer. Actually, it's a laser printer/scanner/copier combo machine from Brother. The laser printer we've been using is one I bought myself when I graduated from college (or even before then?) so it's now 14+ years old. The toner cartridge is running low, and a new one (if you can find it) costs like ~$150. This new machine was only $200. Not much thought required THERE. Bonus: the machine is Energy Star compliant, a must-have for us these days (in the house of compact fluorescent light bulbs, solar panels, etc.).

Only other interesting notes from today (technically yesterday at this point): 1) Awoke to an email from France, someone interested in the Unlimited Basic land sets. I sent him links which got me the Store Referral Credit when he ordered (3 sets of each of the five lands - whoopie!). He actually got the payment in before I headed off to the post office, so they're already on their way to him. 2) My big order to London made it safely, judging by the positive feedback left by Mr. Tree. Thanks for the order, sir!

Okay - I need to go get some sleep. Taking my sons to the planetarium tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I had another overnight sale - this time to a person in Italy. Only problem - s/he did not wait for an invoice to be sent, and eBay calculated outrageous shipping & handling for the order. S/he ordered two cards, which basically costs the same to ship as a single card, but eBay doubles the cost of a single one automatically. I can override that when I put together an invoice, and I do - I try to not charge an insane amount for s&h. Many eBay sellers will do that - lure people in with low asking prices, then gouge on the shipping.

Anyway, s/he paid the whole amount. Fortunately, I am able to send a partial refund to a customer, so I did exactly that. I was sort of torn - obviously s/he had no problem paying so much for shipping, and would have most likely said nothing had I kept the extra...but I just didn't feel right taking someone's money like that!
Long, long ago (like 6+ years ago, back when I was selling Magic cards through a newsgroup), someone put together an order of random "undead" creature cards from me (Zombies, Ghosts, Undead, etc) from several different sets. He or she (I can't remember which) never paid for them, and the cards sat in a plastic case for all this time. When we moved from our condo to our house years ago, the case ended up in a storage box, and I only rediscovered it last month.

Many of the cards just went back in with their respective sets, but 7 of them were from Weatherlight, Tempest and Stronghold, and I had no other cards from these sets.

At first I was sure these were all Common cards, and was going to put them up for sale as a lot of 7 cards. Then I discovered that two were Uncommons, and one was actually a Rare! So, I slightly altered my plans, and now have four Miscellaneous items up in my store, one 4-card Common lot, and the other three cards individually.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wow - no new post yesterday. How did you all ever survive?

Well, here's what I've managed to get accomplished....two Intro to Biotech homework assignments. The multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank portions of my final exam.

Oh, and I've gotten the Homelands and Alliances cards all written up and loaded up to the Store.

Stephanie in Las Vegas did not win the video game. She forgot when it was to end, and missed the chance to bid last minute - shame, since she says she would have bid higher than it sold for :-( But she paid promptly for her order, and already has bids up on some audiobooks this week!

I had meant to move over some items yesterday to auction format as a draw to the store, then didn't get to it. As it turns out, this was a good thing, since eBay just had a listing sale today only, so all the items I moved over only cost $0.10 each, instead of $0.20 (for initial bids up to $0.99) or $0.35 (for initial bids $1.00 up to $9.99). So, for example, my Dad saved $2.50 in listing fees for the ten audiobooks I moved to auction. Woo-hoo!

STILL TO DO: The "essay" questions of my Final (due Thursday), and write up and upload the Mirage and Visions cards. Soon, soon...the end is in sight!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Well, the final tally from London was impressive. 204 cards for ~$85. Woo-hoo! Thanks, Mr. Tree!

There was one problem - I has listed two copies of Thoughtlace from Revised, but it turns out I only had one available. I think what happened is that I copied the previous item (Sunglasses of Urza, of which I have 2) to make the listing, and forgot to change the "number available" to 1. Thankfully Mr. Tree was very understanding, and picked another card being sold for the same price to replace it.

Also, I finished processing all of the photos I took yesterday, and got the Fifth Edition cards all up in the Store.

Now I have two weeks' worth of homework assignments and a final exam to do for my Intro to Biotechnology course to take care of, so it may be a while before I get back to more entries :-(
I have decided that "eBay Store Inventory Sold" are the four most beautiful words in the English language.

I awoke to a bunch of these messages in my Inbox this morning. A lovely person in Las Vegas (thanks, Stephanie!) ordered several cards from me, and even put a bid on a video game I have up. I told her I'd wait to send her an invoice until the game's auction ends.

And as I write this, there is an individual in London (hello, Tree!) who is putting together the largest order yet. I keep flipping from this text to my inbox to see what else s/he has ordered. Lots of Uncommons and Commons from Unlimited and Revised so far. And the orders just keep coming in. I LOVE IT! Tree, you have completely made my month! [Now I just hope it's a legitimate order and not some practical joke - that would suck!]

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Well, I have a few pieces of good news to report.

First, in the last 24 hours I have had three large orders. Not in a monetary sense, necessarily, but in the number of cards. First a gentleman in Oregon bought a large batch (like ~23) of cards from The Dark expansion last night (thanks Josh!). Then I woke up to find a bunch of emails announcing "eBay Store Item Sold" in my inbox this morning. A gentleman in New York bought 22 cards from Unlimited (thanks, Andrew). And a gentleman in the Netherlands bought 14 cards, including several basic lands from Unlimited (the sets I had moved over to Fixed Price status to draw attention over to the store), AND he asked if I had any others (he must not have found them at the store). So, I sent him links (including the magic code which would get me the Store Referral Credit) to the store versions. Some of these he also bought, for a total of 35 cards (thanks, Jos!).

Next up, I sent over five new sets of Unlimited Basic Lands to draw attention to the store again (since it seems to work so well). Within 30 minutes a gentleman from Spain (thanks Jorge) had bought them up, so I had to move over some more!

Third cool thing - one of the cards I moved over to Auction format (the Italian version of Mishra's Factory) has been (as of this moment) bid up to $5.50. It had been in my store for $5 last week! I love it when that happens. You never know what will go on with eBay auctions!

And then, the absolute best news of all (drumroll, please...) I managed to take all the rest of the photos for the rest of the Magic cards I still have to get up! Woo-hoo! That's all the cards in Homelands, Alliances, Mirage, Visions and Fifth Edition. Of course, I still have to edit those photos, and write up descriptions for those cards, before they can put uploaded to the store, but still, it's great to have the photos themselves taken.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I can't believe it - I was a bum today! I only added three things to the store - VHS copies of Red Dwarf VIII (the eighth and, for now anyway, last season of that crazy BBC show). I just got my DVD copy of the 8th series, and don't need the VHS ones any more, so up they go for sale!

On the sales front - I had a gentleman just buy 23 cards from The Dark, and ask about possibly working out a deal if he bought more (he was interested in some, but not at my asking price). I told him I'm willing to dicker, and can lower the Buy It Now price in eBay once we reach a deal so he can buy it through eBay all above board. Very cool! Let's move those cards!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Well, I finished all the audiobooks. Every one of the blasted things (194 of them up at the moment) is listed now. I decided to use an asking price equal to 50% of the cover price - I figure that's not a bad discount if you're looking for a well-treated used item.

Every week I will select ~10 of them to move over to auction format. When a person searches on eBay, the items available in store only shows up if: 1) there are under 30 items available in Auction or Fixed Price formats; or 2) the user specifically selects "include store items" when they search. So, a good way to draw traffic to your store is to put some of your items over into either Auction or Fixed Price - then people find that item when they search, see you have a store, click over to investigate...

At least that's the theory.

It feels weird to not be working on something for the store. I've been working pretty much constantly (with, you know, breaks to eat, sleep, write this blog) for the past 2 weeks or so. I decided that after I finished the audiobooks today, I'd take the rest of the day off. I hardly know what to do with myself! Maybe I'll reintroduce myself to my family :-)
If you've never sold anything on eBay before, you probably weren't aware of how much can get lost in fees. Worst case so far happened today. Someone bought a card from me for $0.50 (Mishra's Factory from Fourth Edition). It cost me $0.03 to list the card in the store (actually, since I listed the item with quantity 2, I guess you could say it cost $0.015 per card). I was charged a Final Value Fee of $0.04 for the card. Then PayPal charged me $0.39 to accept the payment for the card. So grand total I lost $0.445 in fees on a $0.50 item - a net gain of only $0.055!!!!! And since the card cost me $0.05 originally....

I fear what will happen when someone buys a single $0.10 item from me. I will be paying to send the card to someone! You start to see why many sellers build in outrageous "handling" fees on their items. If this becomes a problem I may have to do the same myself!
Well, true to my word I gave myself the rest of the day off from Magic cards yesterday. Instead I got my VHS movies up, as well as a couple of video games. Then I decided to start on my Dad's audiobooks.

Between last night and this morning so far, I have catalogued and put up for sale two boxes of audiobooks. I have two more to go, then everything my Dad gave me will be up and available. At least I will feel like I've accomplished something!

Tomorrow I'll probably get back to the Magic cards, but today will be another "Magic-free zone"!

On another note - I discovered today that if a buyer comes to my store from off-site (like with a link from this Blog) then (if I've added a special code to the URL), I get credited back a certain amount (~75%) of the Final Value Fee. How did I figure this out, you ask? Well I was reviewing my fee activity on my eBay account and saw a couple of entries for Store Referral Credit. "What is that?" I asked myself. So, off to eBay's help section, and a search for "Store Referral Credit".

Yes, this means I somehow got the credit even though the URLs on this Blog didn't have the proper code yet (I've gone back and edited them all now so that they do - so feel free to click and shop! ). Other ways people can get to your store form off site include bookmarking a page, or typing in the URL to your store by hand (if you advertise in print somewhere, for example). So all I can figure is that this guy in Canada who bought a couple of cards from me must have bookmarked them first and come back. Hey, I'm not complaining!

Just to give you an example, let me give you some numbers for the purchase I just mentioned. The gentleman in Canada bought an Ivory Tower and a Power Artifact (both from Antiquities) for $4.00 and $7.50, respectively. I was charged a Final Value Fee of $0.32 and $0.60 respectively for the two items (this is on top of the $0.03 fee each to list them in the store with the "Gallery" option). BUT, because he somehow came to the store from offsite, I was given a Store Referral Credit of $0.24 and $0.45 for the two, respectively. Very nice!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The Fourth (4th) Edition cards are now all up in the store. I am going to give myself the rest of the day off from cards, I think. I've earned a break.

I might put some other things up - I've some VHS movies I've been meaning to put up, maybe some more of Dad's audiobooks...but NO MORE MAGIC CARDS. UGH!

I still have to get up the Homelands, Mirage, Visions and Fifth Edition cards, but I'm starting to get a bit burned out. Time for a rest for a while.
Today's giant task was to photograph all of my Fourth (4th) Edition cards. I just finished (it's a tad after midnight now) writing up descriptions for the common cards, and they are uploading to my store as I write this. I decided to do something different with Fourth Edition. Since it's more recent the prices for the commons tend to be a bit lower, so I decided to sell them as sets of 2 copies instead of singles. This left a few "odds out" when I had an odd number of copies. So I'm going to put up a lot of ~50 cards to sell as a block, and see if anyone is interested. Gotta figure out a decent asking price...or maybe that one would be better as an auction.

I still have not found that blasted comic book.

Several sales in the store today. Enough that I have convinced myself I can afford the $9.95/mo Comcast charges for their DVR service, so I ordered that tonight (install set for Sunday, so I have a few days of anticipation of my new toy). I have to say - generally speaking Comcast is like Satan's slight-less-evil younger brother, but my experience with their "analyst" (Cody was his/her name) was quite pleasant. When you order a service online, you get to "chat" (the online version) with an analyst who confirms your order and service date/time. At one point I had to run and check my schedule for Sunday to pick the best time for which to wait, and when I apologized for the delay, Cody replied "No worries im just reading a tom clancy book, so im occupied." (literal quote there). Way cool! Someone else who drags a book along wherever 'cause you never know when you're going to need it!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Well, I could not find the blasted comic book. So, I had no choice but to refund the person's money and hope he's not too inconvenienced.

Meanwhile, I have finished and uploaded the Ice Age cards to the store.

On a completely unrelated note - I joined the ranks of Digital Cable customers today. Woo-hoo! Comcast offered to upgrade me for only $1 more per month. Now the debate is whether or not to get a DVR to go with it. Everyone I know who has one just raves about it...but is it worth an extra $10 per month when my only income is from eBay? Decisions, decisions...
The weirdness just keeps on coming.

I got email from a gentleman who bought some cards from me - nothing fancy, Snow-Covered Lands from Ice Age. The envelope arrived cut open, with the cards missing! Here's his words:

"Got your package today, and someone had cut open the top and pulled the cards out! How stupid is that? 6 snow-covered lands...nice haul for a thief.

Anyway, I know you sent these so I'll still leave you positive feedback. The $3 this costs is worth the chuckle at the thought of some jackass who doesn't know what they are trying to sell them."

He took it well, I think. So bizarre. Who would have though it? You'd like to think that if you mail something it will be safe!