Selling on eBay: The Inside Story
This is a useful step because interesting material, that is going to change hands at around $25, is not going to get the same kind of write-up that Sotheby’s and Christies are going to devote to Lincoln’s personally corrected copy of the Gettysburg Address. All this is not to suggest, for a moment, that the ocean of material flowing through eBay isn’t good. Once you find these companies’ auctions, that offer the type and quality of material you like, you’ll want to bookmark them because you’ll be returning every day. Both sellers keep hundreds of listings live all the time and they both enjoy a loyal following of past buyers who occupy the front seats of their ongoing auctions. In effect they are running auctions 24/7/365. Perhaps, rather than think eBay, think DeWolfe & Wood as well as SAGHN because they are running their own auctions on eBay around the clock and they are selling a great deal of material, developing wider reputations, finding customers and one suspects material to purchase as well. It’s no wonder eBay is such a strong business and that its adherents so strongly support it.
On eBay you can save keywords to search current auction lots for matches. But eBay’s saved list of keywords only search lot titles and titles generally don’t tell you enough. Keywords on Æ's MatchMaker, by comparison, search the entire lot descriptions and that is where most matches are found. eBay does permit full text descriptions to be searched but only on a manual one-by-one basis. Recurrent searching of the full text is not presently offered on eBay itself. Keywords you develop using MatchMaker on Æ also search all regular book auctions worldwide.
Selling on eBay is good even for those with no skills but there are clear rewards for those who use the medium to maximize their efficiency. Buyers can not help but notice the inconsistent way that materials are offered and described on eBay. Extensive descriptions require work but pay real dividends. The more extensive the explanation the better chance there is for a higher realization. Images are terribly important and in almost all cases, images are provided for the lots both firms offer. Experience has shown that when images are not provided the realizations are lower.
Depending on how much you sell there is a complicated sliding scale of fees but figure 5% as an estimate of your cost. Fees get lower with volume.
eBayoffers a variety of options for learning how to develop your listings. There are manuals, tutorials and classes. They are all investments in knowledge and are not easily transferable to other sites. In becoming enmeshed in the eBay process and experience you are incrementally committing yourself to them for the potential long term. Dr. Goldman told us that within two months of starting to sell on eBay he knew it was going to both work and would become important to him. At DeWolfe & Wood they said it was at about 3 months that they knew it was going to work out. Five years later eBay is an arrow in DeWolfe & Wood’s quiver and a major tool for Stephen A. Goldman Historical newspapers. Both are eBay Power-Sellers and very comfortable using the eBay platform.