Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ed's Handy Dandy eBay Selling Strategies

I teach a class on selling your just on eBay at the library. In fact I am teaching it next month and I have been working on what I will use for tips at the end of the class. Here is what I have now. I've been selling on eBay since 1999 and I think this is all solid advice. The next time you sell some valuable family heirloom to a total stranger over the internet I hope you use a few of my tips.

1)Don't use a reserve. Your opening bid is your reserve. What are you afraid of? More than likely you didn't pay that much for what you are selling anyway. And if you don't want it don't be afraid to get less than you think you should. You'll get what it's worth without a reserve, believe me.

2) Set the opening bid low. I'm talking like $1.00 even if what you are selling may sell for more than $200. I have found that the lower you start the opening bid the more early bids you receive. The more early bids you receive then the more interest there will be in your item. More bids gives a potential buyer confidence in your item. If other people are interested it must be worthwhile. It's the same behavior you see at the library when someone brings a cart of books onto the floor for shelving. More interest equals more bids and more bids equals more competition. Competition means a higher selling price. It's a loop that fuels itself and it works. Don't be afraid. If it's really worth $200 then it will sell for $200 regardless of the opening bid level. The reward of a higher selling price outweighs the risk.

3) Set your shipping price low. Heck, set your shipping price less than the actual cost. A low shipping price shows your potential buyer that you are not looking to make every last cent off of him that you can. One of the biggest reasons I don't bid on an item is the shipping cost floating around ten dollars. Those people with high shipping costs are just trying to make an extra buck off their customers and, to me, that's just greedy. Just like a low starting bid a low shipping price may actually help drive the selling price of your auction higher and occasionally you make out like a bandit. Consider it a reward for not being overly greedy.

4) Avoid hyperbolic language. Don't call it rare if it's not really rare. The T206 Honus Wagner card is rare and what you are selling probably isn't. People know what they want and what you have. Getting carried away with your description causes doubt in the buyer's mind and you want them to have confidence in you. The more professional your writing the better off you will be.

5) Always, alway, always include a picture. Always. If you don't have a picture eBay now provides pictures for some items like books and DVD's.

6) Do not use the extra bells and whistles eBay offers to sell you. You don't need them. If you have something that people want it will sell without the extras.

7) Consider the timing of your auction. I like to end mine in the evening and, if I am on top of things, on Sunday evening. I know a lot of people can access the internet all day but there are some that can't. People like to bid late so why not end your auction when the highest percentage of buyers are at home, in their underwear and bidding on your stuff?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Murder Mystery Night

On February 8th we had our Murder Mystery Night here at the Morrison Library. It was a huge success, over 100 people attended the event. Main Library computer nerd, Ian, was on hand with has super fancy digital camera to photograph the event. You can view his photographs here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Retirement Party

Longtime circulation staff fixture, Joan, is retiring this week. Today we had a little shindig for her and you can see pictures of the event here. She will be with us until Friday so if you see her at the circulation desk this week wish her well.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Michael Swanwick's "The Dragons of Babel"

Right now one of my favorite writers of speculative fiction is Michael Swanwick. I just finished a novel by him called "The Dragons of Babel." It's a fantasy novel but it's about as far as you can get from the traditional Lord of the Rings "high fantasy" as you can get. The world he has created, and used for a few short stories and one previous novel, is a world of magic and the modern. You will find familiar and unfamiliar fantasy world denizens that can speak in the purple ways of an imaginary past while simultaneously speaking like someone born in 2009. I don't know if I ever read stories like his before. It's like they exist in two worlds at once. The obvious influences are there yet the dichotomy of his world is what makes it unique, rich and very lived in.

These two extremes he combines in setting, character and language he also uses in his storytelling. In "The Dragons of Babel" he takes us from the humblest of villages, to refugees fleeing a massive war, a dirty, but still magical refugee camp and then to the throne room of the most powerful nation in the Land of Faery. Along the way we encounter handsome and cruel elf princes and dog-faced rapists and a ten year old girl with an ancient soul and a troop of randy female centaur soldiers and a city alderman who is a haint and can literally feel the pulse of his city and a metal dragon fighter/bomber who cruelly rules over a small village he crash landed near. All these settings and characters enrich this most realized of fantasy worlds. The novel is a mystery, a comic romp with palace intrigue, a love story that starts during a treasure hunt in giant landfill and a tale of the traditional hero's journey. It's a genius display of an imagination that has been released of all its bonds.

I understand from Swanick's blog that he is working on another book in this world. I can't wait.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Follow the election

Google has put together a tool that can allow you to have live Super Tuesday election results appear on your blog. You can see it below. Google is so fun.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Morrison Panorama

Morrison Panorama
Originally uploaded by zzazazz
This is the new photograph we will be using on our in-house programming schedule in March. It's a two picture panorama I took today.