Saturday, September 15, 2007

September 15th

Well, it's been yet another disappointing day on ebay for Paul with 8 auctions and only 2 sales!

This is especially surprising given some of what I have learned about Paul and his ebay expertise lately - but more on that later.

First up was The Complete Guide To Airbrushing Techniques And Materials by Judy Martin.

Paul described the book well saying, "Although this book is used it is in excellent as new condition. Approx 11"(inches) x 8"(inches) in size and containing many photographic examples of this art. Over 250 illustrations and 20 step by step examples."

This is the second book on the subject that Paul has recently tried to shift. He failed to sell The Advanced Airbrush Book on two separate occasions (Sept2,Sept9) which left me doubtful on this book but amazingly ebay user martin2843 stumped up the £5 (£3 p+p) he was asking.

Next up was No Room For Secrets the autobiography of sexy lady actress Joanna Lumley. Paul probably had good reason to expect a sale here as his copy of Joanna's Absolutely Fabulous co-star, June Whitfield's biography sold recently (Sept2)

Paul was asking only £5 for June's book (which had been read twice) but went up to £6 (+£3 p+p) for Joanna's. While he went to great lengths to "sell" June's with an extensive write-up of her talents in his listing with Joanna's he simply says, "9.5"(inches) x 6.5"(inches) in as new condition."

I think Paul might have priced himself out of the market here. Some simple research has revealed that, according to, there are 62 copies of the hardback edition available used and new through their "marketplace" for as little as 1p! Perhaps if Paul had set no lowest bid in place he might have attracted some bidding and in the heat of an auction who knows where things will go... but when the book is £5.99 more than can be found elsewhere, what chance have you got? (None)

Next came Close To The Edge, the autobiography of cheeky comedian Jim Davidson.

Paul obviously felt that Jim didn't have the same appeal as Joanna Lumley and priced the book at £5 (+£3 p+p) but this book (for which he used exactly the same description; "9.5"(inches) x 6.5"(inches) in as new condition.") has also gone unsold.

(On amazon, there were 41 used and new copies going for a penny. Crikey!)

Yet another showbiz biography next. This one from Tim Rice (he wrote musicals and is a "Grumpy Old Man" (in the TV show, "Grumpy Old Men".)

His book is called Oh, What A Circus and is described by Paul as, guess what, yes; "9.5"(inches) x 6.5"(inches) in as new condition." There is some insight into how highly Paul regards some other celebrities here as this book was priced up at the same level as Joanna Lumley's book (£6 (+£3p+p))

Obviously Paul rates Joanna Lumley and Time Rice rather more than he does Jim Davidson! But the public didn't agree and it went unsold. (35 used and new copies available on amazon from £1.96)

The next item moves away from showbiz and into the world of motor cruising. It's Motor Cruising by Peter Cumberlidge.

"This book, 9.5"(inches) x 8"(inches) is in very good condition and covers types of boats, financial aspects, choosing equipment, handling, basic navigation, weather and sea conditions and much more" wrote Paul, who lives besides the Thames and has owned several boats in his time. (Including a 1930 mahogany and elm canoe! It is 7.5 metres long and seats 7 adults and can run for 8 hours on its electric batteries. The boat is called The Lovely Debbie McGee! (like his wife.)) Paul recently (Sept9) tried to sell The Encyclopedia of Yachting and found nobody was interested and it seems this maritime tome has now met the same fate. No bidders came in at Paul's asking price of £4 (+ £3p+p)

I would have expected the next book to do well as it is related to a hugely successful television series.

Planet Earth - The Making Of An Epic Series by David Nicholson-Lord is exactly what it says. "This 10"(inches) x 7.5"(inches) book is what I call a stiff paper back and was produced at the time the BBC launched the amazing series of the same name." says Paul, before going on to say, "The book is in 'As New' condition and contains many photographs of the crew and animals."

Paul was asking £4 (+£3p+p) for this one. Nobody bit. (82 used and new copies available on amazon for 55p!)

The Art of Heraldry - Origins, Symbols and Designs by Peter Gwynn-Jones came next.

"This 11"(inches) x 9"(inches) book is in very good conition BUT the very first sheet (before the title pages) has been torn out," said Paul with impressive honesty.Well his honesty paid off and wenianner came in with Paul's asking price (a whopping £4 (+£3p+p))

The final title - and a genuine surprise of a non-seller - is Guild of Erotic Artists, Volume 1. This was printed in 2005 so it's pretty recent erotica and yet still nobody wanted to snap it up. I would have thought it was pretty difficult to fail when it came to selling erotic art on ebay. I'm obviously wrong. "This 11"(inches) x 8.25"(inches) stiff paper back book is a catalogue of the work of both photographers and artists who work in the world of erotic art. The contact details of each artist are included," say Paul who was asking for £4 (+2.50 p+p) The guild of erotic artists is based in St. Albans, Hertfordshire and there are now over 90 members. This book is over 160 pages and was published as a limited edition of only 5,000 copies. Unlike the celebrity biographys and TV tie-ins I've mentioned above they were not churned out in huge numbers. A new copy would cost you £22.99 while the cheapest used copy on amazon comes in at £13.50 so for once Paul's asking price was a genuine bargain. Of course it doesn't matter as it went unsold.

What a terrible ebay day.

Now, earlier, I hinted that I had learned something about Paul and his ebay expertise... and I have. Thanks to an anonymous e-mail tip off from someone who signed their e-mail simply "DM" (surely not Debbie Mcgee?) I have recently discovered that Paul is a director of a company that specialise in teaching other people how to sell on ebay!

On June 7th, Paul wrote the following on his very own blog:

"Of course that day meant another very late night and getting up at 7am the next morning really hurt. ‘Come on legs, get out of this bed’ and I was on the road to the NEC in Birmingham by 7.30.

This was for a Retail Exhibition. I am a director of a company that helps people to sell on the internet, either through eBay or Amazon or any other site. If you want to find the company it is called Improving Futures and we have an average increase in sales of 35% when we help people. Not bad eh? AND, out of the top 25 sellers on eBay, we have 10 of them on our books."

I've always instinctively known that Paul was an ebay expert but I didn't know that it was an area of actual professional expertise. I've looked into it and can tell you that the company started off being called Empty Your Loft in early 2004. They started providing eBay training under the name Improving Futures in September 2004 and Paul became a shareholder in October 2004. They used his celebrity status to front a media campaign that led to coverage on Central News and BBC Radio. In May 2005 they presented with Paul at the National Space Centre to an audience of 500 local businesses who were all interested in finding out more about e-commerce. In December 2005 they launched CreativeBay - an eBay design business and by June 2006 they were signing up all sorts of major brands who wanted to take advantage of their e-commerce expertise. (WH Smiths, Butlins and many more.) In September 2006 they abandoned the name Improving Futures in favour of Frooition. They have a website here.

While I'm interested to learn that Paul is a director of a company that advises others on how to sell on eBay, it does make his recent run of eBay failures more than a little embarrassing! It seems to me that while they're happy to abuse Paul's fame and magic to get themselves a mention on a local TV news spot they clearly aren't giving Paul the same advice they give their customers. There's no 35% increase in Paul's sales! Sort it out Frooition and improve Paul's future!

With no thanks to Paul's business partners he has missed out on £29 of book sales. Oh well... I'm sure Paul will enjoy spending the £9 he has made from his two sellers. Not a lot!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

September 9th

Oh dear. What can I say? This has to be one of the least successful days of Paul's ebay life so far as he had several auctions ending today and found not one buyer.

You might be forgiven for thinking I am repeating myself but I'm afraid it is Paul who is repeating himself by relisting the items that he failed to sell on September 2nd. The books were:
The Advanced Airbrush Book by Cecil Misstear with Helen Scott-Harman, Saucy Seaside Postcards by Alan Wykes, The Encyclopedia of Yachting by Peter Johnson and Design and Sell Toys Games & Crafts by Filis Frederick.

Paul did originally have two copies of the Saucy Seaside Postcard book and he listed them both on the same day. One sold, the other didn't.

The other three books were all left on the shelf (as it were) when Paul listed them the first time so I really don't think he should be surprised that they failed to sell this time - especially when he did nothing to "jazz up" the listings or change things in any way.

Come on Paul! You're an expert ebayer and I'm sure you can do better than that.

There's simply no point in me listing any of the details as they are all identical to those given on September 2 when these items were first listed so I hope you'll forgive me for aggregating the information. All the books were listed for either £4 or £5 (the book about games and toys was the cheaper one, all of the others were a fiver) and the postage costs were either £3 or £3.50 (the yachting book was £3.50, all the others were £3) so it would have cost someone £19 + £12.50 to get hold of all the books.

Will Paul relist the books. Will he continue to chase this £19 profit or will he admit defeat and move on? I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.

In the mean time I'm sure Paul will enjoy owning his books for just a little longer. Not a lot!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

September 4

It's another day of mixed ebay fortunes for the magic man Paul Daniels. Yet more books; some sold, others less so. In other words, not.

First up is Monty Python's Big Red Book (Special Harback Edition) which is, as Paul notes in his ebay listing, not red and not a hardback. Paul rightly notes that these are clues to the "madness and silliness inside" and adds, "apparently all the Python team contributed to these pages that will lead you into a world of utter loonacy."(sic) and also gives us the all-important dimensions saying, "Approximately 11"(inches) x 9.75"(inches) and about 1/4"(inch) thick, the book has faded somewhat, but not the humour."

Paul was asking only £3 (+ £3 p+p) for this classic title and I am amazed to see that it did not sell.

As Monty Python might say, "This is a dead auction! It is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone on to meet it's maker!"

He had better luck with this book from another lunatic comedy team of yesteryear; The Goodies!

The Goodies Book of Criminal Records is described by Paul as having "one of those stiffish soft covers" and he notes that it is "full of the same idiocy as the Goons and the Python teams came up with."

He seems keen not to mislead people about the literary merits of the book, although anyone familiar with the Goodies will hardly need telling that "it is a great book to dip into, have a laugh, and move on. This is not War and Peace!"

Dimensions-wise Paul tells us the book is "Approximately 11"(inches) x 9.75"(inches) and about 1/4"(inch) thick" and he adds that "the book has faded somewhat, but not the humour"

He was asking £3 (plus £3 p+p) for this one as well and this time he made his money with ebay user dave9g84 snapping up the tome as the only bidder. Goodie for him. Goodie, goodie gum drop!

Paul's final auction of the day was this item which had been relisted after failing to sell on August 27. Paul obviously didn't think there was anything wrong with the listing as he left it unchanged for this second attempt - unfortunately keeping his mistake in mis-spelling the author's name. Once again, anyone searching ebay for works by Gordon Cruickshank won't have found this book which was, according to Paul, by Gordon Cruikshank! As Homer Simpson from The Simpsons might put it, "Doh!"

Three auctions and one sale! Oh dear. Come on Paul, pull your ebay socks up!

Still, I'm sure he will enjoy spending the £3 earned out of his Goodies sale. Not a lot!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

September 2

On reflection I think this will go down as a bad day for Paul Daniels and his ebay transactions.

I mentioned in my last post that he had listed some more books and indeed in total he had six auctions set to end today. Sadly, 4 of the items have gone unsold while the 2 that have been bought have gone to the sole bidders. It's not what I'd call "classic ebay action."

The first item is Saucy Seaside Postcards by Alan Wykes. Paul listed it in his usual way, wisely ignoring the rules of grammar, to giving the book's dimensions (in inches) as well as a good, fair description of the contents: "this 10" x 7.5" hardback book, 132 pages, is in Very Good Condition shows a multitude of postcard illustrations whilst at the same time discussing their history and development."

Paul went on to explain the original publisher and cover price of the book when it was published in 1977 although to be honest I can't work out who the publisher was.

"Original price, when published by Dolphin was £12.95. Originally published in 1977 by Jupiter books."

Which one was it Paul? Dolphin or Jupiter. I'm confused. Luckily ebay user pmmunitt wasn't confused and he paid £5 plus £3 postage costs for the saucy seaside postcard book.

Peculiarly, the second item Paul had up for sale was also a copy of Saucy Seaside Postcards by Alan Wykes. My initial feeling was that Paul must have made a mistake and listed the same item twice but that appears not to be the case.

Everything about the listing was identical. I'm guessing Paul did it as a "cut and paste" job - a phrase that anyone familiar with computers will recognise.

To me this is a schoolboy error in ebay terms. What if there were two ebayers keen to get hold of the Saucy Seaside Postcard book? If there were only one available Paul might have been able to get them into a bidding war, pushing up the sale price. Then he could have listed the second book. Price is related to supply and demand and in listing two identical items at the same time Paul was upping the supply - which any economist knows lowers the price.

As it happens it had no ill-effect because there was only one bidder and this second copy went unsold. We are left to wonder why it is that Paul has two copies of such an esoteric book? Maybe he was given them as presents? We will probably never know. Paul's running total: a profit of £5.

Next up - and I will save you the intrigue, it didn't sell - is Design and Sell Toys, Games and Crafts by the strangely named Filis Frederick.

Like the Saucy Seaside Postcard books this was first published in 1977.

Paul was very keen that potential buyers were not put off by the cover saying: "This book, 10"(inches) x 7"(inches), suffers from having quite a childish dustcover, whereas it is a really useful book of advice on the 'business' behind Toys and Games and Crafts. It has chapters on What makes a Good Game; a Good Toy; a Good Craft, how to get new ideas, how to make good models and write good directions and instructions, how to test the product and how to protect your ideas and so on. This is a gold mine of the business of creativity.The book is in good condition with some fading of the dustcover"
Believe me, when someone as creative as Paul Daniels says that this is a goldmine of "the business of creativity" it must be one hell of a book.

Paul's running total: £5.

Next up is The Advanced Airbrush Book by Cecil Misstear and Helen Scott-Harman.

It seems likely that Paul has been quite a serious photographer in his day as we know that on March 20, 2006 he sold two Mamiya cameras, turning a profit of £328.80 in the process. (Those were halcyon days!) Perhaps this interest in photography explains why he once treasured this book about airbrushing. In his ebay listing he describes it saying, "This superb book, although listed here as 'used' is in very good 'as new' condition and is packed with 'how to' instructions and examples of airbrushing applied to different types of media.

If you are interested in, or work at, airbrushing then this is an essential guide and assistant.

Approx 11"(inches) x 9"(inches)"

It would be fascinating to see some examples of airbrushing that Paul himself has taken on. One can only imagine how a master magician could use such techniques to help make one of his illusions work. I can't believe he's ever had to airbrush any pictures of his lovely wife Debbie McGee - she's too lovely to ever need such treatment. (I have met her.)

I suspect that the world of airbrushing has moved on since this book was published in 1984 which might explain why this title also remains unsold.

Paul's running total: £5.

Aahhh... June Whitfield. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that June is one of Britain's best loved actresses. For many years she was the funny lady in Roy Hudd's Huddlines on the radio, she starred as June in TV's Terry and June which ran for many years and more recently she has been a star all over again in TV's Absolutely Fabulous. What a career! This is her autobiography which is wittily titled, ... and June Whitfield.

Paul's listing says:
"This is the Autobiography of one of the most respected and loved actresses, whose work covers every aspect of showbusiness: Theatre, Radio, TV, drama to comedy. This is the story of a truly nice lady with incredible talents." and it is, Paul tells us 9.5"(inches) x 6"(inches)

What follows is, I think, Paul at his ebay best; factual and humorous at the same time. "the book... not June Whitfield, is listed here as 'used'" Geddit? It's not June that is used - (although I'm sure she wouldn't mind me saying that her age she is a bit) - but it's the book. However Paul goes on to make it clear that the book "is in very good condition, having only been read twice."
I can't help thinking that two such showbiz luminaries as Paul and June are bound to know each other. They'll almost certainly have worked together at some time. I wonder if Paul bought his copy of the book or was given it by June at some point. In which case one wonders what she would think to find Paul listing it on ebay for £5 (plus £3 p+p)? Maybe that's why Paul has made it clear that the book has been read twice? Because he wants June to know that both he and Debbie have read the book.

Someone else who'll be reading the book soon is ebay user magic-for-you who was the sole bidder and lucky winner of the auction. With a user name like that I bet they pay a lot of attention to Paul's auctions and they must be delighted to snap up a bargain like this. They get a showbiz biography that has been sprinkled with two doses of showbiz glitter! Well done magic-for-you.

Paul's running total: £10

The Encyclopedia of Yachting by Peter Johnson is a large book and so Paul opts to describe all three of its dimensions. It is 10"(inches) x 8.5"(inches) x 1.5"(inches)

According to the listing it "covers very many aspects of the art and history of yachting." It is, he says, "Full of great pictures and advice on this great sport" and "in reasonable condition." although I have to say from examining the photograph the cover does look a bit yellowed and perhaps stained to me.

The original cover price was £25 when it was published in 1989 but Paul was only asking £5 for it plus £3.50 p+p but still it hasn't appealed to the ebay community and has remained unsold.

Paul's running total: £10.

So there we have it. Paul has listed 6 items and only sold 2 making himself £10 in the process. Not a sterling performance.

Still, while he isn't quite hitting the ebay highs of yesteryear Paul is definitely paying ebay a lot more attention than in recent months. Not only does he have another batch of books on sale at the moment and due to finish soon but all of the four titles that went unsold today have been relisted. That's an example of the never-say-die attitude that took Paul to the top of the showbiz tree. Never give up Paul. Go get'em!

But for now, I'm sure Paul will enjoy the £10 he has made from selling 2 out of the 6 books. Not a lot!