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eBay Downside?
Old 01-21-2009, 07:19 PM   #1
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eBay Downside?

We've been casually de-cluttering for a couple of years, mostly giving away or throwing away "stuff." But I decided I'd give eBay a whirl and I have been astonished. In about 3 weeks I've sold an old 35mm film camera, 3 (business gift) pens, a handmade vase, 5 books & 2 DVDs and cleared over $600 after eBay's cut and all shipping & packaging - all for stuff that I'd never use again and with no value at all to me. I was wary but now that I know how their transactions work, the whole scheme looks very smart and secure (all my transactions have been thru PayPal). But I'm a newbie at eBay --- any folks here with advice or horror stories that might be helpful before I learn a hard lesson?

I did a search and came up with nothing, apologies if this is an old topic here.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:17 PM   #2
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I've been thinking about doing this since we are also in a major decluttering phase. I'm a little surprised about the amount though, for the stuff you listed. What drove up the total, the camera? I'll be interested to see your responses. I'm sure there will be a bunch of horror stories, but hopefully enough positive ones to encourage me to get started. Keep us informed.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:03 PM   #3
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We're also doing some major de-junking and I've been thinking about selling stuff on eBay, too. I'd be interested in any experiences people have, what types of things sell well, and even how you get off the ground when buyers can't see that you've had any satisfactory feedback in your seller's profile.

Amazon also has a means to sell stuff through their site, it looks very simple. We have a large number of books, I would think Amazon might be a better spot to sell them than eBay. Again, any experiences and advice would be appreciated.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:17 PM   #4
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My gal & i did a bunch on Ebay back in the day - shipping wasn't a problem as we sold rugs and yarn mostly - priority mail boxes were our friends! In 700 transactions we had one crazy person who bought a down stuffed oriental rug pillow Sal had made. He didn't think it (or more specifically, the rug bit) was old. We went back and forth a few times, then took the pillow back & refunded his $$ - dunno what his problem was, didn't really matter. It was lots of fun, but turned into too much of a business - sold a few rugs and some netsuke i wish we had kept. Had fun writing ads for really bad rugs and things we just wanted gone.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:21 PM   #5
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I 've been selling on Ebay seriously for over a year . I started with decluttering . I had several Hummels that I did not want and then I had chintz dishes . I sold off those dishes a few at a time and made a bundle . My hummels also brought good prices . I then sold old wrist watches and made money . I then cleaned out my closets and sold some of my clothes . The only advice I can give you is price competitavely and offer great service . If someone emails you to offer a buy it now price do not do it . It usually means you are under priced . Good luck !
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:24 PM   #6
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Amazon also has a means to sell stuff through their site, it looks very simple. We have a large number of books, I would think Amazon might be a better spot to sell them than eBay. Again, any experiences and advice would be appreciated.


It is much easier to sell books through Amazon . I do it all the time .
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:26 PM   #7
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...
Amazon also has a means to sell stuff through their site, it looks very simple. We have a large number of books, I would think Amazon might be a better spot to sell them than eBay. Again, any experiences and advice would be appreciated.

Agree that Amazon might be better for books - i knew a guy who bought Gaylords of books from Goodwill - those are containers about 40"x40"x36". Had a small warehouse full of them. He would dump them out, said he usually found a few really high dolllar books/container that more than repaid his purchase price, the rest he put on Amazon for a dime each - he made money on the shipping - said people would often buy multiples from the same author, and at a couple bucks each...
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:38 PM   #8
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I've sold a number of books on Amazon and will do it again next time I clean out the library. My local half-price bookseller wanted to give me almost nothing for some books (25 cents to a rare $1 per book). I went to Amazon and while they still sold quite cheaply, I got much higher prices than the bookstore was willing to pay. Amazon makes it pretty easy to do.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:48 PM   #9
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I have been tempted to sell a few things on Ebay myself but the thing that stops me is the shipping part. I hate the thought of having to stand in line at the post office once or twice a week either to buy supplies or mail the stuff. How do you guys handle/streamline the shipping process?
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:05 PM   #10
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I've donated items, sold books to 1/2 price store and tossed things that I probably should have tried to sell on Ebay. I too wonder how is the shipping is handled?
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:28 PM   #11
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I have been tempted to sell a few things on Ebay myself but the thing that stops me is the shipping part. I hate the thought of having to stand in line at the post office once or twice a week either to buy supplies or mail the stuff. How do you guys handle/streamline the shipping process?
Being ER'ed gives me flexibility on when to go to the Post Office. Around here it's least busy at 10:30 and I can usually walk straight to the counter without waiting in line.
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I've donated items, sold books to 1/2 price store and tossed things that I probably should have tried to sell on Ebay. I too wonder how is the shipping is handled?
I don't know about eBay, but Amazon figures it for you and adds it on to the price. All I sold was books so I used the low-priced "Media Mail" option. Amazon sends you an email telling you where to send the item sold and you can cut out parts of the email and use it for an invoice and mailing label.
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:34 PM   #12
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It is much easier to sell books through Amazon . I do it all the time .
I do this too. I have just started again, so I don't have a stash of used containers/wraps for the books.

Where can I get this stuff fairly cheaply? I have sold some books over $100- one at $258! Out-of- print financial books that continue popular are amazingly valued.

Ha
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:17 AM   #13
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....
Where can I get this stuff fairly cheaply?

...
Packaging expenses can really cut into the "profit." A drugstore had bubble wrap mailers on sale for .50 recently, so I bought a few. I often cut them in half and then cut them down to the size of the book. Or use a manila envelop and wrap the book in bubble wrap.

I started selling books/videos again in mid December. It's menial labor, printing the invoice and label, wrapping them up and carting them off the to the post office. However, it can work as therapy for raining days.

It's becoming a sickness for me. Most of my own books are already listed on Amazon. So today I went to the bookstore. They had three big boxes out front marked, "free." I made two trips and listed about 20 more. I stored the ones I thought might actually sell at eye level and the others on the bottom shelf. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" was one of the probables and, yep, it sold today--Amazon will be sending me $7.98 for that one (before postage and bubble wrap expense). I'll add that to a $4.19 book sold the other day and head for the P.O. tomorrow. I go to the P.O. only on tuesdays and thursdays which takes care of their requirement that the stuff be mailed within two business days.
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:56 AM   #14
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I have been tempted to sell a few things on Ebay myself but the thing that stops me is the shipping part. I hate the thought of having to stand in line at the post office once or twice a week either to buy supplies or mail the stuff. How do you guys handle/streamline the shipping process?
At USPS.com you can get priority mail boxes for free. The hitch is that it takes weeks for them to get to you (at least to here, anyway).
I bought a big box of bubble-wrap at Walmart for cheap.
I bought a new postal scale (on Ebay) for about $20.
Then you know the exact weight for mailing when you list the item.
I use USPS.com click-n-ship and print out the label with postage on my regular old computer printer, pay USPS online with a credit card. If you do it this way you get delivery confirmation for free, and dc is a must.
They will pick up the package for free (they say) but I've always ran them over to the post office and dumped them in the self-service bin. No waiting.
I eased into all this stuff a little at a time after getting tired of hunting up old boxes, crumpling newspaper, estimating weight and getting it wrong, and waiting in line at the post office.
But I haven't tried to sell anything on Ebay since the crash. Are useless gewgaws and stuff still selling, does anyone know?

BTW this system comes in really handy at Christmas time when I have to mail packages to all the relatives.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:02 AM   #15
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OP is asking about the downside to selling on eBay. For me, the downside for eBay or Amazon selling is that a short term hobby connected to cleaning out stuff might become an efficient business like the office j*b I escaped.

I don’t use priority boxes because media mail is less expensive. In my experience, confirmation is unnecessary because Amazon covers losses. One of my buyer’s claimed she didn’t receive the book. I asked her to request a refund thru Amazon which she received; they covered it, didn’t charge me for it. Their hefty commissions ought to cover it!
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:22 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by haha View Post
I do this too. I have just started again, so I don't have a stash of used containers/wraps for the books.

Where can I get this stuff fairly cheaply? I have sold some books over $100- one at $258! Out-of- print financial books that continue popular are amazingly valued.

Ha

For books I usually use padded envelopes that are available everywhere or I use Cuppa Joe's method of bubble wrap and brown paper . My favorite envelopes I buy in bulk at Staples or Walmart .
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:07 AM   #17
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I have been selling regularly on eBay since I retired 3+ years ago. One downside that I have avoided is the tying you down to ship your sales. I do eBay for two reasons: toy money and to clear unwanted collections of things. I don't want this to turn into a full time business. With only a few exceptions I only run actions from January to May. This is the time we are generally not doing any traveling and other activities that take us away from home. The exceptions are I try to do a few actions between Thanksgiving and Christmas just to get the cobwebs out and back in the grove and if I have something that seems timely to sell and I know we will be around for the week of the auction and a week after.

I also don't make an effort to find items to sell. If I find a deal in my normal trips to junk shops and book sales I buy them but I don't go out of my way. I tried a couple of times to do early trips to book sales and the people trying to make a living on eBay are vicious with their scanners and other devices to cherry pick and grabbing everything that looks good and sitting in a corner sorting and putting things back where they don't belong. I quickly decided that would take all the fun out of selling.

As far as cheap boxing, I hoard used boxes, got a supply of all the useful free priority boxes (you can pick up starter supplies from Post Office), Bought to sizes of book boxes from a cheap online seller, and a local places has a big dumpster that they allow locals to have bubble wrap and peanuts for free that they get product in (they package it large clear plastic bags).

One trick I read about that I may do after I run out of book boxes is rolled corrugated cardboard. It is cheap, you roll out as much as you need to go around your book or DVD and either staple the edges or tape. You need an industrial strength stapler but that is the fast way.

I made a small packing area in the corner of the basement with bins of packing material, a shelving unit full of boxes, and a table to pack on. Keeps the mess in one place.

I also take advantage of retirement time table and try to go to the post office at slow times. If you pick a small post office you will soon be on a first name bases with the clerks. One actually asked a few weeks ago where I had been since he hadn't seen me for awhile.

I setup a completely independent savings account to connect to my PayPal account so money can be moved back and forth without registering the accounts that has our real money. This also makes it easy to see how the toy fund is doing.

Jeb...
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:19 AM   #18
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I've been planning to take most of these books in to a local bookstore to sell/give away. Worth it to sell them on eBay or Amazon??

One,

Two,

Three.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:58 AM   #19
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I've been planning to take most of these books in to a local bookstore to sell/give away. Worth it to sell them on eBay or Amazon??

One,

Two,

Three.

It is usually not worth it to sell older fiction . The other books I'd check on Amazon before I gave them away . Some of my older books brought more than I had paid for them . If you are going to sell them do it on Amazon . It's a lot easier than ebay for selling books .
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:20 PM   #20
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It is much easier to sell books through Amazon . I do it all the time .
Easier than half.com? I can't imagine how it could be easier, but I have never tried Amazon. Half.com makes it easy to list (you type in an ISBN number and it knows the rest), costs nothing until you sell and you can list for as long as you want. You don't even have to watch, you get an e:mail alerting you if something has sold. The e:mail has onscreen buttons. The first writes the letter to the buyer which you put in the package and the second prints shipping labels with the buyer correct address and charges it to my PayPal account (Media Mail which is dirt cheap). All I do is put the book or DVD in a padded envelope (about 75 ea), tape it shut, tape the printed label on and drop it at the PO. And PayPal deposits my accumulated sales directly into my checking account twice a month. It's like magic...

eBay is great too, but it's for more expensive items that you might want to auction off.
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