Monday, April 30, 2007

New York Public Library Names eBay Price Guide Among "Best of Reference" 2007

The New York Public Library has selected The eBay Price Guide for its "Best of Reference" list for 2007. "This isn't your grandfather's price guide," reads the description on the Best of Reference "Big Top Reference" brochure they handed out at an event last Friday. And I would definitely say these are not your grandfather's reference librarians!

The rest of the list can be found at:

I went up to New York last Friday for an event celebrating the list, held at the 53rd St. NYPL library. We were treated to a wonderful ensemble comedy show, with the reference librarians as the actors -- for each title, they performed a short skit or speech.

The skit for the eBay Price Guide was brilliant, I thought, and was a YouTube video parody of the infamous "lonelygirl15" -- only this was "librarygirl15." Here is a photo I took of the video presentation:


Librarygrl lived in a small town and was bored. Her mom was also making her help out for a yard sale and so they could put up some of her things on eBay, and she talked about using the eBay Price Guide to help out as a pricing tool.

Other skits included various famous feminists trick-or-treating for Halloween ("Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature"); a murder crime scene where an NYPL staffer shows up uninvited to help identify fingerprints and other bits of evidence ("Forensic Science: An Encyclopedia of History, Methods and Techniques"); and two rookie State Department employees who'd just been assigned to the Middle East, when their educations had been based on other parts of the world ("Political Handbook of the Middle East 2006").

The latter was published by CQ Press (Congressional Quarterly), and I got to meet three of their staffers in the coffee reception beforehand.  We all hail from DC, so we had that in common.

Some of the things on the list include web sites and databases, including blog tracker and Google Patent Search (

In all it was a fun, informative event and I'd like to extend a big thanks to the New York Public Library and their staff who made it happen.

Oh, and here's a pic of part of the "Best of Reference" window display and yours truly, standing in front of it.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

eBay Pop Culture Watch & Average Sales Prices

eBay is now giving out some average sales prices in their direct mail brochures. I just got one that was titled "Link to the things you love to win on eBay!"

It listed photos and average price sold of several hot colorful spring-y items..e.g.:

- Wrap dress: avg price sold $56.51

- iPod Shuffle: avg price sold $63.83.

- Tourmaline T3 (for those not immersed in hair dryer brand-age, that's a fancy tourmaline hair dryer..I own one but it has not changed my life yet): avg price sold $107.77

Then the brochure opens up and it's quite colorful and well-done.  What else is interesting (to me, anyway)?

- Manolo Blahnik (he of the super-chic, super-pricey shoes): avg price sold $426.94.

(That's actually not too far from retail, as far as I know..but I also know some of those go for a lot more than $400 these days, so I'm sure some are bargains, so to speak).

Here's a good one:

- garden fountain: avg price sold: $82.57. That sounds good to me.

eBay in the Pop Culture: I notice eBay popping up all over these days. Here are a few recent examples:

- American Idol former contestant Sanjaya Malakar noting on the Tonight Show that if you go on eBay, you can get a dictionary of Sanjaya terms -- a "Sanjanary." I just looked at the auction, and the lister said they had canceled the auction, thinking it made litle impact, but when Sanjaya mentioned it, it went back up! A portion of the proceeds will go to a charity such as the Virginia Tech victims' families.

- In the new book "Little Pink Slips," the heroine goes to a Chanel sample sale, where the ladies running the sale make everyone in line sign paperwork promising they won't sell the stuff on eBay.

- I haven't seen this, but someone told me in the movie "The 40 Year Old Virgin," the Steve character dates a wacky woman who sells on eBay. Now, of course, I have to see the movie!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thoughts with Virginia Tech

I wanted to blog today about the tragic and horrifying events at Virginia Tech. I live in Virginia, and we have a home in the Wintergreen resort near Blacksburg, and although I don't personally know any of the students there well, I have seen them around the resort and know them to be fine and hard-working people.

Last year I rented to a Tech student and he was one of the nicest renters we ever had.  I went to the University of Virginia, and although UVA's and tech's football teams are known to have a "rivalry," it is all in fun, and I know the thoughts of the whole UVA community, and indeed the whole country, are with the Tech community.

I was very impressed with the many heroic actions of the students I heard about on the tv today, such as the young man who helped barricade the classroom door against the shooter and prevented him from entering their class. The students all seem to have a close bond and have really come together as a community.

If you read this blog regularly you know I sell on eBay. The other day I bought a Va Tech metal mug / stein at a yard sale. It has a special meaning now. It just shows you there are many Tech students and parents up here in Northern Virginia and my thoughts are with them and all Tech students and families everywhere. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Make Offer to Watchers: An Idea for eBay

This is going to be a quick one, for now.  I've noticed (as you probably have) that a lot more people seem to be just putting items on their watch list, rather than bidding on them when they're interested, This is no doubt because they don't want to call attention to the fact that they want the item, and to avoid driving up prices.

However, I think some people forget about items on their watch list. I've had some people watching books of mine for 60 days or more. I'm about to take some items down, but it would be nice to have a way to contact these watchers (privately, of course) and offer them a better price before I take the things down.

So I suggest a "Best Offer to Watcher" feature or such. Now it may be there are some problems to this I haven't thought of, but I think if eBay makes the contact watcher link anonymous for the watcher, it would be OK.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The High-Tech Garage Saler

I ran this article, The High Tech Garage Saler, in my last issue of Yard Salers (you can subscribe at  I thought it was so good I'd re-run it in my blog.  It came to me from Tim, of (Thanks, Tim!)

The High-Tech Garage Saler

The competition for re-saleable items has really heated up in the last couple of years with a surge a part time eBayers hitting the circuit.  Adding a few pieces of technology can help you get ahead by getting you to more sales faster and helping you with your purchase decisions.

First of all just looking in the classified adds in your local paper is not enough. The daily paper in my area charges $35.00 for a garage sale ad, so most people have started listing on

They have separate listings for every metropolitan area and even if you are suburban or rural you will find many listings. It is searchable so you can look up your community easily.

The posts go up real time so you don't have to wait to get the morning paper and you will often find sales in the middle of the week.

I take my laptop computer in the car with me when I go out sailing with a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver that plugs into a USB port and sits on my dashboard. The software that interprets the data from the GPS receiver shows your position on a map and gives you a route to your destination. With Microsoft Streets and Trips I can put in all of my sales and use a feature called optimize stops and the computer organizes the sales into the quickest route around the city. It also allows my to put a pushpin with a label into the map so I can put notes with the start and end time and other info such as apt number 304, in the alley, rummage sale don't miss, etc.

This has really helped me organize my day and can get to 25% more sales. I also have an Internet card for my laptop that works with the cell phone network (available from most cell phone providers). I have the unlimited data plan for about $60.00 per month so I can stay on all day and have it when I need it. You will find people posting adds on craigslist til and even after noon so keep checking and add them to your route.

Also I find that sometimes when I get to a sale, I cannot find it, and I can go back to the craigslist ad using the search feature to quickly find the listing and look at the notes to make sure I am in the right place at the right time.

Many times I find I am close and able to find the sale that I otherwise would have driven away from. The card also allows me to be on eBay and I can run out to the car and look things up to see if it is a good buy. Not only will you find yourself buying items you would have passed on, more importantly you will pass on duds you would have bought. I make better purchase decisions every week that more than pay for the cost of the card for the whole month. Hopefully these tips will help you and increase your eBay sales.

About Tim:

"I am a Power Seller with over 7 years of eBay experience and 9200 feedback. I recently won the power seller challenge and was interviewed on eBay radio. My eBay seller name is happyhourcollectables and my wife and I just started a kitchen specialty eBay store with the user name victoriaskitchen with sales of over $1000.00 in the first month -  all local garage sale finds. You can find out more about me at and


Hi Tim,
Awesome tips! Thank you soo much for sharing them with us! You've inpired me to get a GPS. Great idea to have the ability to look things up on a laptop in a car, too.
Thanks again!