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Question of the Day:

If people who read books on paper are called bookworms, then are people who
listen to cassette books called tapeworms?


Listen Up!


Audio books are considered to be the fastest-growing segment in the publishing industry, growing 75 percent since 1995 and representing $2 billion in annual sales, according to the Audio Publishers Association (APA).


Playing the auction game

and winning...


On any given day on eBay you can find more than 20 THOUSAND auctions peddling audiobooks of every shape, form and size. There are many auctions that run daily with the same item, with the same stock picture by the same seller that runs the same item day in and day out. There are the sellers who rarely sell audio books; either they are cleaning out and they have to go or they are trying to raise a little quick cash. Then there are what I call the gems.


Rarely retail versions in paper packaging, almost always ex-library items in heavy duty clamshells - most of these unabridged monsters retailed for more than $100 when new. Often that was only less than 3-5 years ago. Many are out of print, especially those produced by Books On Tape and as a group most are in good condition or better. Rarely will you see these items photographed/scanned and that's a shame. People definitely react better to tangible things. Short of touching the item they want to SEE it. This is my specialty.


Since 1998, when I first began buying on eBay (and selling in 1999) I more or less formulated a short list of questions that I learned to innately ask myself as I became a professional audio book auction scanner. The answers to these questions can help you determine your level of risk and prevent you from getting carried away in the heat of the bidding.


1. A good audio book auction should, at the VERY least, list the full title, author, producer, narrator, ISBN and date of production.


Yes, I know this seems like alot of information to stick into one auction, but once you get into this and see that there are different versions narrated by different people you'll see how important this is. Tishomingo Blues by Elmore Leonard earned Frank Muller (one of the audio narrator super stars) an Audie. But did you know there is an almost identical version recorded by Paul Rudd? The packaging actually LOOKS the same. So how do you know the difference? The ISBN would clearly tell you which one is which. So, no, it isn't good enough to simply list title and author and A/U.


2. An iron-clad guarantee.


    Here's a cold fact of life: Every so often you are going to receive an audio book item that, for whatever reason, is broken or damaged beyond playability. What your seller will do to address this is one of the things that sets us apart. An "as is" sale unless the reason is disclosed and the bidding starts low enough is a huge warning sign that if the item arrives DOA, you're outta luck. NO REFUNDS in big letters is usually an indication to hit the <back> button-quickly!


    Back in the day, I had one bidder e-mail me and accuse me of sending them a broken item on purpose. ?!? Only after they calmed down and told me that they lived in Minnesota and the item arrived in February and was buried in their mailbox for a week was I able to discern that the item was probably frozen to death. It had a nice big "Please protect from extreme temperatures" sticker right on it and by all rights the post office should have kept it at the facility and left a pick up tag. Well, I refund for those types of issues. Call it the cost of doing business, honoring a promise or just plain being nice but the last thing I want to hear is, "Sorry" from someone who is truly not.

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