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

Scot Kamins kamins at
Sat Jan 28 19:01:02 EST 2006


I certainly agree that some buyers are unreasonable. Asking questions  
that are answered in the listing or asking for a large number of  
photos for a cheap book falls in the category of unreasonable; if  
these people go away, you probably won't lose much.

Given your comments and putting yourself in the shoes of a collector:

1) Do you think that two photos of a dustjackted book - one of the  
front panel and one of the spine - is an unreasonable request?
2) Assuming a buyer (as I suggest in the article) provides first  
edition points for a book you advertise as a first and asks you to  
check for them in the book, would you check for them?


On Jan 28, 2006, at 2:54 PM, Stan Shelley wrote:

> Scot
> 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

Scot Kamins
Join Dogeared for access to thousands of ML images and tons of  
members-only info!

More information about the ModLib mailing list