Monday, July 25, 2011

Reader EBay Success Story: Vintage Weekly Reader Books!

Alice from Farewell, Office. sent me this testimonial today and I thought you would enjoy reading it.  EBay is truly something anyone can do, and I believe anyone can make money at it!  Alice shares a recent ebay victory (and I promise I didn't pay her to write all these nice things about my blog, though I would have ha ha.)
Vintage Weekly Readers currently for sale on etsy right now.

From the time I was very young, I was taught to be thrity. My father gave us freedom to spend the money that he worked so hard to earn, but he always followed every "Yes" with "Once it's [the money] gone, it's gone." He rarely told us, "No;" however, we knew that if the money wasn't available for future purchases we were going to have to do without; there would be no flashy plastic  to sweep in and "rescue" us. While thrifty, my father was never miserly. He would come home weekly with small gifts for me, mostly books, but they were always ones he'd picked up at the thrift store. I would gush, "Thank you," in that wildy happy childlike way, and he'd always reply, "I'm glad you like it; I thought is was worth 2 bits" (which I soon learned equaled a quarter). Some weeks he'd come home with a bag of candy, usually from the holiday that had just passed. I'd get Christmas candy on December 26 and Valentine's candy on February 15. From an early age my father taught me to enjoy the money we'd been blessed with, but he also taught me to spend it wisely because a blessing should always be treated responsibly, almost reverently.
When my son was born 7 years ago, I knew that thrift stores, consignment shops, garage sales and Ebay would be goldmines for toys and clothes, and I bought many of his best things there for a very small fraction of retail; however, I never thought of buying to resell. I only bought for our own personal use.
Several months ago after being an avid Ebay buyer, I decided to try selling some items I had around the house, mainly books, and I failed pretty miserably. I took pictures, calculated my shipping, determined my starting bid and posted. Many of the items did not sell and I was out my listing fee; the items that did sell only sold for my starting bid, barely covering my listing and Paypal fees. I had calculated shipping correctly so I did not lose any money there, but I lost a great deal of time for little to no profit. I considered myself done with selling on Ebay, until I found Yard Sale Mommy. Her blog gave me an Ebay education and gave me hope that I, too, could sell and make a profit worth my time.
First, I learned how to determine whether listing an item would be worth it. I had never heard of the Completed Listings filter, but using it told me whether an item had been profitable in the past and was likely to be again. Because I don't have a smart phone, I wasn't able to pull up the listings at each garage sale, but I chose carefully and only purchased items that we would be happy to use in our home if it turned out they weren't moneymakers.  As predicted, the yard sale season is winding down and there weren't many on the day that I headed out, but armed with a list of previously profitable items (mostly items from Yard Sale Mommy), I scoured the few that were listed. I didn't find any of the items on my list, but I did find 8 Vintage Weekly Reader and Parents' Magazine books from the 1970's. They were in pristine, like-new condition and the price on each was only  $0.10. I love vintage books and knew that even if they weren't worth anything on Ebay, we would surely get $0.10 worth of pleasure reading them ourselves, so I took the risk - the $0.80 risk! :) I rushed home and searched them on Ebay using the Completed Listings filter, and I was pleasantly surprised. Some of them were selling for $10.00, well worth the $0.10 investment!
Using Yard Sale Mommy's advice, I took good pictures, wrote a good title, and weighed my books using a postal scale to determine correct postage. I was also careful to use all the characters in my title box; I wrote the title and author first, and then listed any subject words that might increase my exposure, characters permitting. Seven days later my $0.80 investment turned into a selling total of $45.42. I know this isn't what some veteran Ebay sellers are used to making; however, considering my prior discouraging experience, I was ecstatic. Sure the big purchases are good, but even if I sell 10 items at $10.00 profit each/month, that's still $100.00 I didn't have before for relatively little effort.
I did make one error, however. I calculated my shipping weight, but did not account for packaging. I lost $4.50 on shipping once I factored in my supplies; however, in the future, I know what bubblewrap-lined envelopes cost and I will now include that in my shipping fee.
Although I am nowhere near an expert, I am optimistic that I can be successful selling on Ebay; this is not an optimism I would have had before becoming a follower of Yard Sale Mommy.


Thank you so much, Alice!  

I think it is important to note that you may not succeed with your first or even your fifth ebay listing.  But you learn every time, and eventually you won't ever find yourself on the "losing side" of a listing.  Be encouraged by Alice's success...what a great profit from an eighty cent purchase!


  1. Alice - Rabbit Finds A Way was one of my favorite books growing up! When my nephew was born (now over 10 years ago) I was thrilled to buy two copies of the book on eBay (one for myself and one for my brother's family). Hope you find (or have found) another happy family for that book. :-)

  2. Congratulations, Alice! There are Rocks in My Socks was one of my favorite books. I recently picked it up from my parents and my 4 year old loves it.

    Yard Sale Mommy, you are an answer to prayers. I've only been following you for 2 weeks (after also swearing off being a seller). I am now encouraged to try again. I'm excited about consignment sale season!

  3. Alice I know just how you feel. I was a total flop at Ebay when I first got started back in
    2005. I made a small amount of money, then just gave up after a short time of not finding or know what would be good sellers.
    Over the years I have gleaned information from various sites but they never lit the fire, so to speak, until I found Yard Sale Mommy.
    What I love most, she is a real person, doing the same thing I love to do, buy for resell and she give me such renewed hope!!
    So heres to you Yard Sale Mommy!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have taught me and will teach me.
    I want to wish everyone who follows the best of luck in this oh so fun adventure.

  4. What a wonderful and encouraging post. I've had a lot of success with Ebay but sometimes the learning curves have been long and rough.

    A tip on packing books like the ones mentioned: If you do not have free packing materials at your disposal you may want to use a flat rate padded envelope that is provided to you free from the post office. You will be paying more for shipping than media or fist class mail but the package will arrive faster and you will not be paying the steep price of the padded mailer.

    The best way though is to save every piece of bubble wrap that comes your way. I have a huge rubber maid box of it in my basement that is filled to the top just with packing materials that were sent to me.

  5. Great post. Very encouraging for people who have self doubts or maybe had a bad streak in the beginning!

  6. Thanks everyone for the encouragement, ideas and tips! I'm literally beaming - and very optimistic. I am always sweetly humbled by those who so freely share their expertise with novices. It is truly generous.

  7. I found your post very encouraging. Now I have another item to add to my "look for" list. Thanks!

  8. Tip for selling magazines on ebay. First, because they contain advertising, they CAN NOT be mailed media mail. Bummer, I know. And, 1st class is very costly, due to the weight. My solution? I order "padded" Flat Rate bubble envelopes from and I stuff as many as I can into the envelope. What fits, ships for $5.70. I have sold small cookbooklets and assorted craft magazines this way. They may not be a fast seller but they do sell. I explain in my description about the shipping cost. This is a great way to make a little bit on your favorite magazines. (Be sure to remove/black out personal address/info) BEFORE photographing.


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