New article on Dogeared: "Ethics & eBay - No, Really!"

Stan Shelley srshelley at
Sat Jan 28 17:54:34 EST 2006

Very interesting article and pleasing writing style.
Books are my hobby, and ML is a part of that.  My knowledge of ML is not
nearly as extensive as all you guys in modlib.  In my day job I own 3
jewelry stores and an auction business that is now mostly Ebay.  We are
platinum power sellers with 6 employees for Ebay so I may have a slightly
different perspective on a couple things.  We sell on consignment for people
and estates.  I do however agree with the tenor of most of your article.

I will comment particularly on your list for determining who you do business
with.  I agree with the positive feedback...ours is 99.9%.
I agree with those who don't allow returns..we allow them for absolutely any
reason..including."I changed my mind"

My problem comes with "refuses to answer questions."  We try to understate
our description of condition and provide great photos - this minimizes
problems.  When we get questions we always send back an FAQ and sometimes we
give specific answers to specific questions.  If we are selling a book for
$30 and we get 30% commission, that is $9.  Out of that we pay Ebay fees,
paypal fees, employees to list and photograph the book, and overhead.  There
is just no economical way to provide much individual help with lots that
sell in this price range.  We hope the photos will help.  A second problem
with this category concerns the questions asked.  Now, I am sure your
questions are wonderful, maybe even profound.  But you simply would not
believe some of the questions we get.  Some ask for information that is in
the description, but it was long, so they didn't want to bother.  Some want
to know the consignors name.  Some ask a series of 6 or 8 questions.  So
when do we give specific answers?  We answer if a quick examination of the
product will provide the answer (as opposed to the lengthy research some
folks want us to do.)  Also, because we are generalists, the bidders usually
know more about the products than we do.  Thus if a questioner needs to know
the last book listed in the ad that precedes the title page, we presume this
is a fact of consequence to the knowledgeable collector and we answer.

The other area where my world might be in conflict with the concerns of your
article concerns photos.  We start with what we hope are a lot of great
photos.  If someone asks for more, we have to locate the item, take it to
the photo room, shoot the pic, load it on our system, send it to the guy who
answers email, and then he sends it.  Because we typically have 500 to 1,000
items in process at a time, just locating the item takes time (to look it
up.)  For this reason, we generally do not do additional photos unless an
item is deemed to be worth well up in the hundreds of dollars.

Okay.  That's it.  Just a little different perspective.

Stan Shelley

----- Original Message -----
From: "Scot Kamins" <kamins at>
To: "ML ListServ" <modlib at>
Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2006 4:49 PM
Subject: New article on Dogeared: "Ethics & eBay - No, Really!"

> Folks,
> Here's an article I wrote at the request of the editor of an online
> magazine for bibliophiles. The article's publication has been
> delayed, and I decided to give ModLibbers a preview. The article,
> "Ethics & eBay - No, Really! (Perspectives from a Modern Library
> Collector)", combines information already on Dogeared plus a bunch of
> other info and subjective observations. Sure to offend any number of
> eBay sellers, It's available at:
> Scot Kamins
> ......................
> "He not busy being born is busy dying." -- Bob Dylan

More information about the ModLib mailing list