25th Feb2020

eBuying Comics: Week 37

by Ian Wells

ebuying-comics-header

Trade paperbacks and hardcover collections are no doubt the comics industries biggest commodity. For my favourtite characters I am still a floppies guy. If I ever want to try something new, or catch up on something I missed, TPBs are the way to go. They are so readily accesible nowadays whether it be from comic shops, books shops, entertainment stores or a variety of online outlets, TPBs a huge percentage of the industries income. Not only are they available like never before they are by far the most user friendly aspect of reading/collecting comics. That applies to old and new readers alike. If you are already a reader of comics you hear of other creators or characters that strike an interest in you. Equally if you come to the characters via movies or TV if you are confronted with a row of TPBs in a LCS or chain book shop the simpliest thing to do is to treat them like novels. Read the blurb on the back, flick through the art. Does is get your attention? Then buy it and read it. To you in that moment continuity does no matter. All that matters is the story between those two covers. Hopefully then for comics creators and shop owners a like you get the bug and keep coming back for me. It is my love of TPBs versitility and accessiblility that leaves me with mixed feelings when it comes to listing them on eBay. To this day I have only ever sold two books for more than I paid for them.

The first was ‘Civil War: War Crimes’ which sold for £13.49. When I sold this I was over the moon! It received a late bid which pushed it over the original retail price. Someone must have really wanted it and I didn’t even enjoy it tha much. The second was the Marvel Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection Edition of ‘Civil War’ for £10.50. I’m sure I’ve told this story before but the buyer had the word ‘family’ in their username and in their review said “Can’t wait to read it!” I just got this image of a whole family sitting down to enjoy it together. What can I say? My cold heart melted and in that moment profit didn’t matter. To this day though I remain annoyed at my inconsistencies at selling TPBs on eBay. Maybe I just don’t have the right stuff? I have been relisting the same two Deadpool books for god knows how long. I thought Deadpool was hot shit? In the time I have been relisting them he has had two major movies out. It’s not even like I am asking a fortune for them.

When I first started on eBay I priced TPBs at £8 (£10 if I thought it was desirable) and harcovers at £10 (£12 if desirable). I have since revised this to £5 for TPBs and £8 for hardcovers. This switches between buy it now with make an offer and starting price. If I ever have a book with any damage I describe the damage as best I can and provide a picture and the price is reduced to £2.50 for an auction. Maybe it is a case of timing. But I would argue against this because I have listed Avengers realted stuff around the time of movie releases and only picked up a handful of views not even watchers. I think part of the problem of selling movie related TPBs is that there are so many editions floating around the second had market now. I was planning a big Wolverine sale to coincide with his new ongoing title. But with one thing or another that will now be a week late. So I have some TPBs to run some experiments with. My first step was to look up current listings for the same books currently on eBay and what I find is prices higher than what I originally paid. For example the first listing for Classic Wolverine Vol. 2 comes in at £12.35. This is for a F grade. Volume 3 at the same grade is closer to £20. Now I brought mine at cons years ago so even if I knocked a little bit off for condition I would still stand to make a decent profit as opposed to if I listed them for my usual £5 for a TPB. I don’t think starting an auction at that price would see bids pushing it up tht far. So do I start higher and accept offers to get a bigger profit? I have the first four volumes of Classic Wolverine so what I am going to try first is selling all four as a set for £50 with a make offer option. Like I have always said I am quite happy to sell my stuff for whatever price so I have room to expland my collection. It is just hugely frustrating when you see similar items going for more money. I mean what more can I do? Better pictures? I always give good description not only on the condition but also on what makes the story desirbable like movie relations or key story arcs or legendary creators. All of my TPBs and hardcovers are in a very good condition. Even the ones I am selling are well stored in a long box. So all of this led me to my next subject…

… Ziffit and WeBuyBooks. Recently I have been seeing more adverts for this two on social media. The latter even pushing the point that they now buy old trade paperbacks. Although they do just say comics. I knew they wouldn’t be offering top rate but with my recent track record of selling TPBs on eBay it had to be worth a look. The basic concept fo boths apps is that you scan barcodes and are given a price.They will then send you a box to send them the books in. Once they receive the books the price can be reevaluated depending on condition. I don’t want to be cynical but this is probably where they save most of their money. I had a quick look online and tried to find any information on where they then sell the stock the receive from the public, but couldn’t turn anything up. Comics are hot property at the moment so you have to appluad the business acumen really. You can’t criticise them for wanting to get in on the game. You would like to think now especially with WeBuyBooks pushing the comics angle they would have knowledgable staff to optimize profit and sell to the right people. In another world it could be a dream job! Ove the week I started selecting books I wanted to scan to give a wide review of the both apps. These ranged from classics like Watchmen to newer material like X-Men Grand Design Treasury Edition. However after scanning a few books I decide instead of writing a review, I would be writing an intervention. If you are considering selling your comics PLEASE DO NOT EVER USE THESE APPS! Like I said I know they are running a business and have to make a profit, but some of these prices are damn right insulting.

Ziffit

  • Ronin (2019 edition) – £1.59
  • TMNT Urban Legends Vol. 1 – £3.73
  • Revolver (HC) – £4.03
  • Watchmen (2005 edition) – 63p
  • Daredevil Frank Miller Omnibus (HC) – £13.71
  • X-Men Grand Design Treasury Edition Vol. 1 – £1.13
  • X-Men Grand Design Treasury Edition Vol. 2 – £1.48
  • X-Men Grand Design Treasury Edition Vol. 3 – £1.40
  • Southern Bastards Vol. 1 – 52p
  • Analog Vol. 1 – 67p
  • DC’s New Frontier (2016 edition) – £2.44

WeBuyBooks

  • Ronin (2019 edition) – £2.85
  • TMNT Urban Legends Vol. 1 – £4.24
  • Revolver (HC) – £5.25
  • Watchmen (2005 edition) – Not currently accepting this title
  • Daredevil Frank Miller Omnibus (HC) – 41p
  • X-Men Grand Design Treasury Edition Vol. 1 – £1.42
  • X-Men Grand Design Treasury Edition Vol. 2 – £2.00
  • X-Men Grand Design Treasury Edition Vol. 3 – £5.65
  • Southern Bastards Vol. 1 – 26p
  • Analog Vol. 1 – 34p
  • DC’s New Frontier (2016 edition) – £2.94

Maybe I don’t know the cut and thrust of business but to me some of those prices seem very very wrong. I have since contacted a few comic shops and have asked them to quote what they would pay for the same books. So watch this space. Their answers could shed more light on my naivety or side with me against these apps. In the mean time please think really hard about using these two apps to sell your comics. I know they have that instant appeal of todays culture, where as eBay may take some more work. Postage costs and physically going to post something are a pain in the arse, but you doing all the work could be a few pounds difference more in your pocket.

Why not try selling to a comic shop either in person or online? Think outside the box , could you sell to a library? Or if profit isn’t your biggest motivator donate them to a LCS, library or someone who know who would enjoy them more.

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