Saturday, August 19, 2006

Craigs List Strategy Update: When Power Buying Fails

In previous posts I mentioned my discovery of high volume comic re-sellers and the immense benefit I had from buying large volumes of comics at very cheap prices (about $0.22 apiece).

I used the power buying strategy with several low volume sellers that had contacted me from Craig's list. In essence, they each had 150-400 comic books for sale (they were not experienced sellers - they had stale collections that took up unnecessary space) and were asking $1.25 - $0.50 each. As none of the colletions were within my area of extreme interest I let the sellers know that I was buying comics in bulk at $0.25 each (gaving them a little extra money) and asked if they were interested in meeting market terms. In each case they felt it was not worth selling the comics that cheaply. They would rather let them sit in an attic or let their 2 year old tear through them.

Psychologically, I would profile these sellers as emotionally attached with high expectations. They most likely collected the comics personally, let them sit for 10 years and re-discovered them hoping they had transformed into something valuable.

In all cases they had little familiarity with the market, current market prices or even the scarcity (or lack thereof) of their particular books.

I have a feeling if their collections were much more substantial, they would have sold more cheaply for two reasons:

1. The aggregate income would have been a larger number 2000 * $0.25 is bigger than 200 * $0.25.
2. There would have simply been too many comic books taking up too much space - the would be more of a nusance.

The third type of seller, who was fairly disinterested, had discovered comic books that were quite old (and in mediocre condition). They fell into the antiques roadshow category strongly hoping (insisting almost) that the treasure they discovered under a leaking coffee can would be valueable.

Here's something interesting, a late 1960s Walt Disney's Chip and Dale comic book in poor condition is still worth less than $0.65. But the aspirations of an antique road show seller deafen them to the reality.

Lessen learned, the high expectation seller is unlikely to accept market price for their product. If they actually have a large collection of comics from the same series in order, it might have some value worth negotiating, but in general, set expectations before you negotiate and see if they still want to come to the table. Your time would be better spent sorting through volume purchases - if they don't have something specific that you really want.

Have a great weekend,

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