• <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn. A lovely copy of Twain’s masterpiece.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and <br>the Sea. A pristine copy of this American classic.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland. A high-spot of children’s literature.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Actively seeking famous works of literature.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Cotton Mather, Triumphs of the Reformed Religion, in America. A rare family association copy.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged. An inscribed first edition of Rand’s magnum opus.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> John K. Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces. Easily the most hilarious Pulitzer Prize Winner.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Click here to view our latest catalogues.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Ian Fleming, Casino Royale. First American in the exceptionally rare 1st issue jacket.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> John Donne, Poems. One of the great 17th century works of poetry.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to <br>the Galaxy. Inscribed first edition.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Seeking to purchase exceptional books.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian. Most important work of American fiction from the 1980s.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are.<br>A lovely first edition.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Basis for the beloved 1971 film.
    <b>Whitmore Rare Books.</b> Click here to view our latest catalogues.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24:<br>Art, Press & Illustrated Books</b>
    Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24: Kelmscott Press, <i>The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer now newly<br>imprinted</i>, Hammersmith, 1896. $45,000 to $60,000.
    Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24: Marcel Schwob, <i>Vies Imaginaires</i>,<br>with illustrations by George Barbier & F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1929.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24: Marc Chagall, <i>Psaumes de David</i>, signed first edition, Geneva, 1979. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24:<br>Art, Press & Illustrated Books</b>
    Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24: Collection of 84 Weimar-era book jackets, including designs by<br>George Grosz, Moholy-Nagy, et. al., Berlin,1926-32. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24: Antoni Tàpies, <i>Llull-Tàpies</i>, 75 of 105 copies signed in an edition of 165, Paris and Barcelona, 1985.<br>$7,000 to $10,000.
    Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24: Black Sun Press, Harry Crosby, <i>Shadows of the Sun</i>, first edition<br>in 3 volumes, Paris, 1928-30.<br>$5,000 to $7,500.
    Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24:<br>Earl of Rochester [John Wilmot], Sodom: <i>Ein Spiel</i>, illustrated by<br>Julius Klinger, folio, Leipzig, 1909.<br>$3,500 to $5,000.
    Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24: Herbert Matter, <i>Trademarks and Symbols</i>, 2 volumes, California, 1960s. $3,000 to $4,000.
    Swann Auction Galleries Nov 24:<br>H. Boylston Dummer, <i>The Robin<br>Book</i>, 14 typed pages with water-<br>color illustrations, string-bound & hand-painted, Rockport, c. 1925.<br>$300 to $400.
  • Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
    Pierre Bergé & Associates in Collaboration with Sotheby's, Personal library of Pierre Bergé, <br>11 Dec 2015.
  • Bloomsbury Auctions London, 9th December Western Manuscripts
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 19, Extracts from various authors on demons<br>and demonology, [France, 13th c.] Est.: £3,000-5,000
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 3, Leaf from an illuminated monastic Missal, [southern Germany, 10th c.]<br>Est.: £3,000–5,000
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 23, Large cutting from an extremely early <br>copy of Gratian's <i>Decretum</i> [northern France or Low Countries, 12th c.] Est.: £2,000-3,000
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 47, Christ holding a book and blessing, within a mandorla supported by two angels, [northern France, 11th c.]<br>Est.: £25,000-35,000
    Bloomsbury Auctions London, 9th December Western Manuscripts
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 56, Animal initial with a bear and a griffon,<br>from a monumental illuminated manuscript Bible [France, 12th c.]<br>Est.: £8,000-12,000
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 57, Animal initial with two dogs, from a monu-<br>mental illuminated manuscript Bible [France, 12th c.] Est.: £7,000-9,000
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 61, Cutting showing the murder of a youth, [northern France (Paris, 14thc.]<br>Est.: £6,000-8,000
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 74, Leaf<br>from a finely illuminated manuscript Missal with an almost nude man and two men's heads [Italy, c.1290]<br>Est.: £4,000-6,000
    Bloomsbury Auctions London, 9th December Western Manuscripts
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 105, Fragment of a Sefer Torah (Genesis 28:7-47:3), [Sephard (perhaps c.1300)] Est.: £30,000-50,000
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 115, Bernard of Botone, <i>Glossa ordinaria</i> on the Decretals of Gregory IX, [Italy, c. 1300] Est.: £30,000-50,000
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 125, The Hours of Gabrielle d'Estrées, Use of Paris, [northern France, c. 1480]<br>Est.: £8,000-12,000
    Bloomsbury Dec 9: Lot 118,<br> The Astronomical Compendium of San Cristoforo, Turin, including Regiomontanus, Calendarium [northern Italy, (perhaps c. 1474)] Est.: £40,000-60,000

Rare Book Monthly

New Letter

Letters to the Editor

. July 31, 2008

Bruce E. McKinney and Michael Stillman,

There were some important differences between the Microsoft and Google Book
projects as seen by the end user.


The Google search is lightweight and does not burden the browser on the client
machine or Internet connection. An advanced search is available and

In Microsoft the search required processing and network resources. A search
pulled up a list with a preview window on the right. If the mouse hovered over
an entry in the result list on the left, the data for the book was loaded via
AJAX and displayed in the preview window. This occurred even when you didn't
want it unless you were careful to place the pointer on the right edge of the
list, outside of the hot spot for each entry. No advanced search was offered.

Tab browsing

In a Google search results page, browsers with tabs (Firefox, Safari, IE7) can
open the book pages in these tabs (CTRL-click on Win, Cmd-click on Mac, or
right click on either) while maintaining the search result list.

Attempts on Microsoft to CTRL-click or Cmd-click the links would open a new tab
with the book browser but would also replace the search result page with the
full-screen book browser. Only a right-click (Open Link in New Tab) would work
to get the expected behavior of opening just the desired results in tabs.

Book Browser

The Google book browser could be improved by including the bibliographic and
PDF file size information in the right-side data pane. The default file names
for the PDFs were reasonable but I often chose to include a year and author as
well as the title provided.

The Microsoft book browser allowed PDF downloads as well but the names were not
as useful and always had to be renamed for my purposes.

PDF searching

The Microsoft PDFs included a text layer which allowed keyword searching
offline in Adobe Acrobat. The Google PDFs do not allow this. Both book
browsers allowed online keyword searching.

Scope of Material

The Microsoft and Google projects generally had different books scanned. It is
possible that each group tried to prioritize volumes not scanned by the other.
Hence, it was usually worthwhile to check both systems. There was not a single
search system to pull up results from both projects. Perhaps a mashup would
have appeared eventually if the Microsoft project had continued. A Google web
search could bring up Google books.

Where are the Microsoft books now?

Many of the Microsoft PDFs came from other book scanning projects such as those
which are stored on www.archive.org. While the Microsoft system had only
the PDFs, the Archive.org editions are often available in multiple formats such
as plain text in addition to the PDFs (sometimes in color and grayscale).

Because of this origin, the Microsoft PDFs did not have usage restrictions as
Google has tried to add. For public domain works, this extra licensing is hard
to justify and might not be permitted under the US copyright laws.

The downside to unrestricted PDFs from Microsoft/Archive.org is that some
enterprising individuals have sent these files (warts and all) to print on
demand systems to "publish" these books. These have been listed in quantity in
the used book databases and eBay, making it harder for buyers to locate vintage
copies as they wade through the sometimes overpriced POD reprints.

This is part of the nature of public domain material. A person can try to sell
an abridged Horatio Alger, Jr., print on demand volume for more than $100 when
the PDF which was used to create the reprint is available free of charge. What
I don't like is when an old copy, scanned in a library, has its access blocked
or restricted because one of these POD reprints exists.

Google has also blocked or restricted access to pre-1923 items which should be
positively public domain. A bound volume of 1910s Publishers' Weekly magazine
cannot be construed to be protected. However, it is likely that Google is
granting additional protection to avoid creating another litigant against them.
The problem with this is that it effectively grants more rights, in terms of
copyright duration, to these publishers than that to which they are entitled.


I liked the PDF search capability of the Microsoft/Archive.org files. I
suggested to Google that they add this. Perhaps it would be time consuming to
add the text layer to the existing PDFs. However, I found the Google search
interface to be much more powerful in capability and less tedious to use on my
older laptop system.

I hope Google continues to refine and improve their book offering. For
example, the recent announcement of a 300M XML document with US book copyright
renewal records from 1923 to 1963 provides a single place to check for
renewals. A listing basically says the book is still protected. However, a
lack of a listing makes a case for public domain status. Anyone who has taken
a logic class knows about the difficulty of proving something with a lack of

My own research projects have benefited from both book projects. I have
discovered texts which would be impossible to locate without them. No library
or bookstore provides level of content access these projects have made
available. I have purchased a number of books as a result of discoveries on
these systems. I have also downloaded dozens of PDFs for later reference.

While the Microsoft one had some useful material, I hope most of it is still
available on Archive.org.

James D. Keeline

San Diego, CA

Full-time antiquarian bookseller, 1988-2000

Full-time web developer, 2000-2008


. July 28, 2008

Dear Bruce & all at AE,

I sell books on the internet from Gloucester, England. I used to run a bricks and
mortar store with my partner, but since we split I rarely meet other booksellers. I
really love your monthly newsletter and feel like it is putting me in touch with
what is going on in the world of books, quite different from the on-message messages
I get from ABE!

Keep up the good work,

Sam Knowles

Ampersand Books



. July 28, 2008


Catching up with back issues after being gone for a month and have just read
Karen Wright's delightful book buying trip article and I have a tip to pass
on to her.

We also use Motel 6 on buying trips and this last trip I discovered a great
help for the "Motel 6 Smell". I took along a big can of Lysol Disinfectant
Spray in "Crisp Linen Scent". The first thing I did when entering a smelly
room was to spray the drapes, the top layer of the bedspreads and some into
the ceiling air return vents if there was one.

By the time we unloaded the luggage, the smell was always gone. Only in one
motel did I need to spray the carpet and rarely did I need to re-spray if we
stayed over.

I will never travel without it again!

Barbara Young

The Old Book Shop


. May 09, 2008

re: Abebooks Price Increase

Dear Bruce & AEMonthly:

I think you're missing some of the ABE increases (1) and the bigger point (2).

1) ABE is now collecting a commission on books over $400. Before this, the commission was capped at a $400 maximum. They also announced plans to take over Discover and American Express card processing as well.

2) I need to raise shipping & sales tax 15.61% to recover the actual original cost/charge of ABE credit card processing and commissions. They were already making about 2.5% on shipping by virtue of their 5.5% credit card processing fee, which is about double what the credit card companies charge them, thus making their actual cut on shipping about 10%.


Peter Gambitsky

Fireside Angler

. May 06, 2008

Re: Abebooks' Price Increase

Dear AE:

Where did this "Michael Stillman" come from? The one that wrote the article on the ABE commission on shipping? It appears he was giving us good reason as to why ABE should take this commission and telling us to live with it! Well here is what I run into a lot with shipping.

I'm a Canadian small bookstore located in Langley, British Columbia, I charge a $9.00 shipping fee (which is cheap for Canada, our postage is enormous); average size book from BC to Ontario costs me $12.60 shipping. I shipped a $10.00 book to customer in Ontario:

$10.00 book charge + 9.00 shipping = 19.00 total

minus shipping to ON = 12.60

minus book cost = 2.00
(sometimes more/less)

minus credit card = .85
(average ????)

minus 8% = 1.52

minus packaging = 1.20 (envelope/labels/printing paper/cartridges) invoices

TOTAL = 18.17 costs - 19.00 = .83 _ OH YES I FORGOT MY MONTHLY FEE! Wow so now I'm paying to sell! So with Abe taking their 8% of my shipping .72 cents yes that will leave me with a profit of .11 cents (maybe).

ABE is in it for the $ not the customer, small book stores are going broke with ABE, many of us want to leave and are looking for alternatives. ABE recognizes that we do not have many choices and plays on that for their profit. They are unethical. Abe should go after the dealers they say are messing with the shipping. Abe needs some heavy-duty competition, they are worse than our Canada Postal Service when it comes to squeezing money out us.

Please don't say to increase your shipping fees, that will only give me fewer customers and ABE more money. ABE has not done one thing since I have been with them, about 6 years, to increase the seller's profit, only to increase theirs!

Any help with this would be sincerely appreciated.


Rita of

Mole's Collectibles (Books)

Langley, BC V3A 1M2


Editorial Response:

It was not my intention to take sides in this issue but simply to report on what happened. As a result, I published both AbeBooks' explanation and the objections we heard from booksellers.

In terms of advising sellers to "live with it" or move on, my observation over the years is that while Abe does have forums to hear their sellers concerns, ultimately they call the shots and rarely roll them back in any substantial way. That being the case, I don't see much else a bookseller can do besides either cutting the cord or living with the rates, though that may require increasing your prices, since you cannot make up for unprofitable sales with volume. If there is a third way, I and many others undoubtedly would be interested in knowing, but such things as boycotts rarely seem to have an impact.


Mike Stillman

. May 02, 2008

re: Abe Fee Increases

While you write about the new ABE fees on shipping, you FAIL to note that this also applies to those of us who collect sales taxes which under ABE are billed as extra shipping charges. Currently with a credit card transaction, we lose money on each instate transaction since we pay a credit card fee on the sales taxes. With the new fees, we now also pay ABE a NEW fee on sales taxes since they are billed as extra shipping. Thus with a 8.25% sales tax that we pay the state, we will now only collect $7.14 on every $100 sale while we need to pay the State $8.25. Thus an instant loss of $1.11. ABE refuses to make the collection of sales taxes free of their fees.

. May 01, 2008

re: Abebooks' Price Increase

Thanks for the updates. In respect to ABE price increase they are also charging 8% on top of required State Sales Tax.

John Schram
Samuel Lasenby
Bookseller ABE and Biblio

. April 01, 2008

Dear Bruce,

I realize you've probably heard more than you ever want to about the issues with ABE, but thought you might find this interesting. I've had 8 cancelled orders because of credit card errors with ABE in the last 6 months, and every one I've called, or contacted the customer, and the credit card number was just fine, and I've completed the sale.

I've contacted ABE numerous times about the problem, and they seem to believe there isn't any issue. So, the moral of the story is to continue contacting your customers directly.


. April 01, 2008

re: PayPal "Funhouse" Article

The seller could have fixed the problem in 2 minutes or less by adding the extra
incorrect email to their emails registered with Paypal. We have a number of common
typo/spelling errors that we leave registered just for this problem.
On Paypal as soon as you add the email you can go in and accept the pending payment
and if you don't wish to keep that email on Paypal you can then delete it.
If the seller has the email wrong in their listing/s they should leave it registered
until they have fixed the error in all the listings.

Thank you for another nice issue.


. March 02, 2008

re: Transy Thieves

I enjoyed the story but a bookseller, preservers of the written language that we
are, should know that the term is hare-brained, not hair-brained.


Larry Dean

. February 07, 2008

Just a quick note to say thanks. Your services have certainly increased our bottom line. We make it an effort to tell everyone we meet about your great site and services.

As an aside, wanted to let you know that the tome you mentioned in this month's newsletter "An Unhappy Story: a deal gone bad" was recently re-listed and sold for approx. the same amount. Everyone in the state of ... knows ... [names deleted]. Strange but we knew it was him just from the book description. At any rate thanks again and keep on booking.

timbookski February 06, 2008

Hello Bruce,

I appreciated your article highlighting some of the problems with eBay. Because of the problems you highlight (plus others), I rarely eBay any more. Over the past years I have made many purchases on eBay as well and have come to the conclusion that I am not saving any money. When I subtract the losses because of items that were not described correctly, did not arrive, or I missed something in the description, it turns out that it actually costs me more on eBay. You could argue that I should not count "my mistakes" but other modes allow me to make mistakes and have some option for correcting it. Also, I believe that many sellers purposefully write the descriptions in a way that make it easy for you to miss the important details.

Forgetting the financial losses on eBay, I just find it too aggravating to deal with these people. It always ticks me off when I get burned on eBay but makes it all the worse when they leave me negative feedback for complaining.

In conducting far more transactions on ABE than eBay, I have not been burned once. I do not think anyone can say that about eBay.

. February 05, 2008

Hello Bruce,

Great! I'm going to upgrade to the monthly membership today.

I also wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your website and AE Monthly. I'm a relatively young collector, and websites such as yours have provided me with both entertainment and education as I build my collection.

Keep up the good work!


Justin Hanisch

. February 05, 2008

Dear Bruce,

As to your deal going sour on eBay, I'd like to make a few comments:

1) unless one understands that eBay's motto for buyers is "caveat emptor', a certain number of eBay purchases will disappoint. Some are the consequence of deliberate deception by the seller (as the one you mentioned apparently was), but others are the consequence of the seller's complete ignorance of what he's selling. Sometimes it's difficult to tell (as in the case of a seller who recently asserted a 1582 copy of Calvin's Institutes was complete, when the index ended at Galatians 3: 8, with a catchword for the next entry; I'm sure he didn't know how many pages were missing - it was 22, but as a full-time bookseller he certainly should have known some were. I managed to get him to send me privately a picture of the last page present, but the unfortunate winning bidder evidently didn't).

This notwithstanding, by bidding on the mostly antiquarian Bibles and theological books in which I specialize and by being fairly careful most of the time in buying, on balance I do quite well in buying and have gotten some really wonderful bargains. In selling (almost entirely books on subjects in which I don't specialize) I take care to describe the books carefully, especially taking pictures of any faults - something which tends to result in glowing feedback. A number of booksellers buy from me; I both expect and want them to make a profit, as they're doing me a service by paying good money for books I would otherwise be unable to sell.

2) eBay's feedback system is badly broken and I don't think the forthcoming change will improve it at all. Previously unethical buyers and sellers could leave retaliatory feedback without respect to the legitimacy of the complaint. Now only buyers will be able to do this ... and sellers will not be able to warn other sellers about non-paying bidders. EBay's proposals for their new system are woefully inadequate, particularly as its efforts to police the system seem only to be exercised with a view to enhancing its bottom line and without a care for honesty and integrity. PayPal seems to be run with the same end in view.

3) I always leave negative feedback for non-paying bidders AND for sellers who seem to be deliberately deceptive in some way; to date I have 3 negative feedbacks, all retaliatory: two as a buyer and one as a seller (I've received a total of over 3000 feedbacks, I should say). I feel that if one is not willing to risk this, the eBay system has no integrity at all.

4) The only reason the eBay system works at all is that most sellers and most buyers are honest - and I commend them all for it.

EBay is not and I think eventually as currently constituted it will end, as a result of its losing one of the various law suits being brought by 'name' brand high fashion merchants against eBay's polite fiction that it's not running an auction, but merely providing a forum for sellers running auctions for willing buyers (and thus claiming that eBay is not responsible for cheap rip-off imitations). Though I've done quite well in buying and in selling on eBay, simply as a matter of justice I hope that eBay loses these suits and loses it's collective shirt as a consequence.

Meantime I wish you well in your eBay buying.

Best regards,


Bookseller February 04, 2008

Regarding the ebay book buying experience.....as an experienced ebayer, you should know that if a deal appears to be too good to be true, it usually is. I'm not defending the seller who did not disclose the flaws in the book (he most certainly should have). But buyers on any site need to assess whether a $200 book would be selling, without reserve, from an experienced and knowledgeable seller, for $70. Red flags should have been raised.

Response from Bruce McKinney -

The book was hardly too good to be true. EBay realizations run from 20% to 40% of typical retails. In my view it was priced to be a reasonably good copy and the experienced seller simply ignored poor condition in the apparent expectation the buyer would accept what they received. The seller's relatively high starting price implied it was a good copy and the description supported this expectation.

. February 03, 2008


I see that ... [the seller in McKinney's eBay article] has relisted the defective copy of History of Orange County without modification for condition defects you describe. Inexcusable in my view. Perhaps eBay's feedback changes starting in March will improve seller service. Sellers will no longer be able to leave negative feedback to buyers, thus eliminating the threat of retaliatory feedback routinely practiced by some sellers. I'm not sure this is entirely fair to sellers but we'll see what happens. Thanks for the AE Monthly. It's great!


Rob Smith

. February 02, 2008

re: eBay

I have 100% rating on ebay but, it means little...I have a five star rating on abe - that means even less...
I have been burnt more then twice by books that I have purchased. Yet, I have won bargains more then twice....it all equals out in the long run. ebay is not a true auction house, rather a crap shoot.
Books that are described as rare finds seldom are. Books that are under-stated may turn out to be gems.

Joseph Hill

Xanman February 01, 2008

Dear Bruce,

I read with great interest your e-bay experiences. I personally feel that the whole feedback system is without any merit. There have been numerous articles in the past couple years about sellers with perfect feedback, glowing compliments, and they were arrested for selling 10s of thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise, even a San Diego Deputy Sheriff.

I have only recently ventured into the netherworld of e-bay, and I must say, that in many cases it has been a bust. I've received books that were described as beautiful, pictures show them as beautiful, and when removed from shipping box, they're in pieces. I've had material that the seller has assured me is complete, and out of the past 25 auctions, 5 have been missing plates, pages, or illustrations. Some have been good about returns, some not.

I think I just may have to opt out.


. February 01, 2008

Hello Bruce,

Just a note to let you know I really enjoy reading your AE Monthly. The article about ebay must have hit a nerve with ebay, they are in the process of restructuring their feedback system. Sellers will no longer be able to leave anything but positive feedback. I have been selling online for four years now, mostly on Abebooks, Alibris, B/N, Biblio, and Amazon, but also a few on ebay (10 -12 a month). In four years I've only received one negative feedback, which was the Postal Service's fault.


Mike McGill

. February 01, 2008

re: Ebay Article

I read with interest. Like you I have purchased several items and so far knock on wood the only ones that were less than expected were as you said I failed to really read the descriptions.
However, that said, I have had several problems with books from ABE. The latest this past month. This seller had a 5 star rating. The book was listed as "Description: 300 p. Illus. 22 cm. Includes Illustrations. Great Value. Prompt
delivery with tracking. Satisfaction guaranteed. Author's autograph
presentation copy, no.7. Book seller's advertisement laid in. Bibliography:

What I got was an exlib copy with pocket ripped out, title page stamped all over, not signed, not a presentation copy shipped in a brown paper sack duct taped. It arrived with a broken spine. I have no idea if it was that way prior to shipping or after. I contacted the seller and received no response. This went on for a week when I turned it over to ABE with photos of the book, sales listing, shipping material etc.
They did issue a refund but as in your case the so called 5 star seller never did respond.

I think an interesting article would be on the use of scanners and the phone services. Everyone talks about them ripping off the average seller at FOL sales etc. but no one really says how they use them and if its a worthwhile investment vrs good old fashion knowing your business. Just a thought.

Editor's Note: Abe's ratings pertain only to the sellers' fulfillment rates, not to factors, such as accuracy of listings, quality of customer service, etc., that most people think determines whether a seller is honest and good.

. February 01, 2008

Hi Bruce,

Just received and read the Feb. 1 issue. It's terrific. Especially enjoyed your eBay experience. By the way, we're going to do the Santa Fe Book Fair again this year. Keep up the good fight!

Henry Lewis

Gunstock Hill Books

Santa Fe

. February 01, 2008

Hi Bruce,

Another good issue of AE Monthly.

This caught my attention:

What happens when a deal goes sour on eBay? Do you dare leave negative feedback, knowing there will be retaliation?

If you had been bidding on AuctionExplorerBooks.com none of these horrors
would have happened.

As all our sellers are vetted dealers the description would have been properly done.
Hopefullly a book in this condition would never have been listed.

If a book proved unsatisfactory each dealer would be expected to take it back
for a full refund without question.

If there was a dispute between you and a dealer we would have been available
to mediate and find a solution.

If the dealer was in any way at fault he would have been immediately removed
from the system and prevented from selling (and buying) in the future.

Quite simple. Solves all the inherent problems of Ebay. As we say, bid with

Keep AE Monthly coming.

All the best,


. February 01, 2008

I read your article about buying on ebay & found it interesting. As a seller who tries to be honest (and who makes almost enough to pay my vet bills by being a 'bottom-feeder' bookseller) I get frustrated with the bad apples. However, an experienced buyer almost never gets shafted - we all know that if you want a free book, all you have to do is say that you never received it (if the book didn't come with tracking info) or just send back an empty mailer, supplying Paypal with proof of mailing. In either event, Paypal will refund your money, all of it. If Paypal is used, the seller has no control over refunds - any 'refund policy' is irrelevant. If a seller can't supply proof of buyer receipt (and emails/messages are not proof) or the buyer can supply proof of mailing something (anything, even maybe a worse copy of the book sold) money back to buyer, no questions asked. The 'dispute' process is impersonal, and does not favor sellers.

Also, beginning Feb. 20, sellers will no longer be able to leave negative feedback for buyers. I assume this means that buyers will be able to say whatever they'd like, without fear of reprisal. The pricing structure is changing also - less listing costs & much higher after sales cost. I assume this is because lots of us list most of our books on Amazon or other places where no fees are paid until the book is sold.

I was glad to see a free search box at Americana Exchange. I have several boxes of books that I cannot find for sale anywhere & so am unable to value & list. I'll try that out soon! Thanks.

P.S. I may be alone in this opinion, but I wish someone would censor Paypal over advertising 'free shipping labels'. Just about every item mailed using Paypal shipping is charged $0.18 over the cost, supposedly for tracking. Yes, the cost of tracking is less than that offered by USPS, but at Paypal, tracking is not an option. If I sell a book for a buck or two, I can't pay $0.18 to create a shipping label, tracking or no tracking....

. February 01, 2008

re: An Unhappy Story: A Deal Gone Bad

Bruce. I found your tale about Ebay very interesting. My experiences with the site
almost exactly correspond.

I have one negative feedback from a bookdealer in Toronto. The tale is as follows:
I bought a folding Marcus Ward card and when it arrived the fold was partly
detached. I e-mailed the seller to tell him and neither asked for a reduction or a
refund or even inferred that I wanted one. I got a grumpy reply stating that it was
fine when sent so I must have done it or it happened in transit.
It would not have been possible to tear in transit so I posted a neutral feedback
and the message 'condition less than description.' I got a negative feedback with the
rebuttal 'item was described photos prove it damage in transit would avoid in the
future.' Apart from the fact that the photos did not show a crack in the hinge as
they were face on, this reply seems excessive for my temerity in mentioning the fault
and posting a neutral on receipt of an arrogant and grouchy response.
The moral of the tale is to be very very careful of the feedback one posts
regardless of how in the right one is.

JIRI Books

. January 03, 2008

Dear Bruce and Staff:

A Happy New Year to you all for a great job of keeping us informed. It's always a pleasure receiving your monthly newsletter.



Tyson's Old & Rare Books

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Davies, John, of Hereford. <i>Wittes Pilgrimage</i>. London, [1605?]. $10,000-15,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Rowley, Samuel. <i>When you See Me, You know Mee</i>. London, 1632. $3,000-5,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: <br>Ariosto, Lodovico (John Harington, trans.). <i>Orlando Furioso in English Heroical Verse</i>. (London, 1591). $90,000-120,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Marlowe, Christopher. <i>The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta</i>. London, 1633. $40,000-60,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Caius, Joannes. <i>Of Englishe Dogges</i>. London, 1576. $30,000-50,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan, <i>Or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-Wealth</i>. London, 1651. $25,000-35,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Missal, Use of Sarum. <i>Missale ad usu[m] insignis ac preclare ecclesie Sar[um]</i>. London, [1512]. $15,000-20,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Bacon, Sir Francis. <i>Instauratio Magna [Novum Organum]</i>. London, 1620. <br>$20,000-30,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Walton, Izaak. <i>The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative man's Recreation</i>. London, 1653. $70,000-100,000
    Sotheby's NY December 2-4:<br>Milton, John. <i>Poems</i>. London, 1645. $25,000-35,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Baldwin, William. <i>A Myrroure for Magistrates</i>. London, 1559. $100,000-$150,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Newton, Isaac. <i>Opticks</i>. London, 1704. Presentation copy given by the author to Edmund Halley. $400,000-600,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Shakespeare, William. <i>Poems</i>. London, 1640. $150,000-200,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Chaucer, Geoffrey. <i>Canterbury Tales</i>. London, 1526. $200,000-$300,000
    Sotheby's NY Dec 2-4: Donne, John. Autograph letter signed to Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, presenting a first edition of <i>Pseudo-Martyr</i>, London, 1610. $150,000-200,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> A patriot who fought with George Washington Superb Daguerreotype of Baltus<br>Stone at age 101 (1846).
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Edward Curtis portrait of Honovi, Walpi Snake Priest "Honovi was one of the author's principal informants" (1910).
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> The Execution of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators by Alexander Gardner (1865).
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Harriet Beecher Stowe, Catharine Beecher, Henry Ward Beecher, and the other siblings with their father Lyman Beecher. By Mathew Brady (1850s).
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> From Slaves to World-Famous Entertainers Millie-Christine, "The Two-Headed Nightingale" (c. 1868-71)
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Goldfield, Nevada Photograph Collection Fabled Western Mining Boomtown (1905-1906)
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Tycoon-Collector Benjamin Richardson poses with his great-grandson as appeared in parade.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Alexander Gardner portrait of Lincoln the only known copy, ex-John Hay (1863).
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Magnificent Niagara Falls album with a strong provenance (1867).
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Spectacular American West Album From Yosemite to Salt Lake City to San Francisco.
  • <b>Christie's London, December 1: Valuable Books & Manuscripts</b>
    <b>Christie's London Dec 1: </b> Lot 144. BLOCH, Marcus Elieser. [Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische:] 12 parts in 9 volumes, comprising 6 <br>text vols. Est. £40,000-£60,000 .
    <b>Christie's London Dec 1: </b> Lot 77. JOYCE, James (1882-1941). <i>Ulysses</i>. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922. Est. £50,000-£80,000.
    <b>Christie's London Dec 1: </b> Lot 1. THE THREE MARYS AT THE SEPULCHRE and THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. Est. £150,000-£200,000.
    <b>Christie's London, December 1: Valuable Books & Manuscripts</b>
    <b>Christie's London Dec 1: </b> Lot 164. VALTURIUS, Robertus (1413-84). <br><i>De re militari</i>. Edited by Paulus Ramusius, Junior. Verona... <br>Est. £35,000-£45,000.
    <b>Christie's London Dec 1: </b> Lot 171. [POTTER, Beatrix (1866-1943), illustrator]. Frederic E. WEATHERLY. <i><br>A Happy Pair...Illustrated by H.B.P.</i><br> Est. £5,000-£8,000.
    <b>Christie's London Dec 1: </b> Lot 181. CAO, Junyi (fl. 1644). <i>Tianxia jiubian fenyie renji lucheng quantu.</i><br>Est. £300,000-£500,000.
    Arader Nov 21: Lot 93. A Mapp of Ye Improved Parts of Pennsylvania in America... Description: Thomas Holme (1624-1695). Est: $15,000-$20,000
  • <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 113. EINSTEIN, ALBERT. 1879-1955. Autograph Manuscript Signed<br>("A. Einstein") on final page.<br>US$ 80,000-120,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 10. BURNS, ROBERT. 1759-1796. Autograph Revised Manuscript, <i>Monody on Maria<br>R._________</i> US$ 10,000-15,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 100. WOOLF, VIRGINIA. 1882-1941. Autograph Letter Signed ("AVS"), 4 pp recto and verso, 8vo. US$ 10,000-15,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 28. DICKINSON, EMILY. 1830-1886. Autograph Note Signed ("Emily"). US$ 10,000-15,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 79. REVERE, PAUL. 1735-1818. Autograph Note Signed ("Paul Revere"), 1 p, oblong 16mo. US$ 10,000-15,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 22. DARWIN, CHARLES. 1809-1882. Autograph Letter Signed ("C. Darwin"), 2-1/2 pp, 8vo. US$ 8,000-12,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 58. OYCE, JAMES. 1882-1941. Autograph Letter Signed ("James Joyce"), December 5, 1920. US$ 8,000-12,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 249. MATISSE, HENRI. 1869-1954. MALLARMÉ, STEPHANE. Poésies. Lausanne: Albert Skira, 1932. US$ 40,000-60,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 229. STOKER, BRAM. 1847-1912. Dracula, 1899. <i>First American edition, inscribed by the author</i>. US$ 12,000-18,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 241. GAUGUIN, PAUL. 1848-1903. [Noa Noa, Vojage de Tahiti. 1893-1894.] US$ 15,000-25,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 233. CHAGALL, MARC. 1887-1985. Poémes. Geneva: Cramer Éditeur, 1968. 124 pp. Poems. US$ 20,000-30,000
    <b>Bonhams Dec 9th: </b> Lot 20. CUMMINGS, EDWARD ESTLIN. 1894-1962. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("E.E. Cummings"), headed "Poem". US$ 5,000-8,000

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