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!

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