BAM eBay Buyer Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

Buying Pieces of Sets to Sell at a Profit

Buying Pieces of Sets to Sell at a Profit

"Why do you have five copies of this book?" a relative asked me the other day.  I had to smile. On that shelf, I keep multiple copies of the individual books within a six-part set which sells very well. (Truly, I haven't paid enough attention to completing the sets, which is why those five same books were still there).

When I get all six copies in a set, I list the set on eBay or Amazon, and sell it at a profit.

This is something you can do, too, when you are buying inventory online (if you are not already doing it). What you want to do is look for items (they don't have to be books, though that is a lot of what I sell) that can be put into a set, and are reasonably or under-priced. You can even use the BAM Seeker tool to do this!

One example of this is the Harry Potter book series. You can find examples of sets for sale that have all of the books in the series, or just several of the books in the series.  You also don't have to look just online for this inventory...you can find things like nice, hardcover first American editions of these books at yard and estate sales...just make sure they're priced low enough (like $1 or maybe $2) so that when you put them all together as a set, they will make you a decent profit that is worth your time.

What's an example of this?  Well, an extreme example would be a listing that's up now on eBay of every book in the Harry Potter series, all first American editions, for $2495.  (These are not even the British editions, mind you).

In terms of books, you can look for paperback books to put into sets, too. Right now there is a paperback 1st American edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for $3.94 on eBay. There is also one at a much lower price but at auction.

This doesn't mean you can make this kind of money on Harry Potter sets or other sets, but I have found that the popular set of things (be it books, charm bracelets, dishes, or what have you) will sell and re-sell, if you can identify what they are.

Happy hunting!


What Woman-Owned Business Deserves Your Vote for the eBay Shine Awards?

What Woman-Owned Business Deserves Your Vote for the eBay Shine Awards?

eBay is having a contest for members to vote for the best small businesses nominated for the "Shine Awards." I took a look at the nominated businesses, separated into categories, and here is a summary of the woman-nominated businesses. I will cover the other business categories in a separate blog. Read their stories and see which one would get your vote!

- Woman-Owned Businesses

- Tanya Crew, Motorcycle Works

Tanya sells motorcycle accessories on eBay, starting out just to make some extra spending money. She was trying to finish college, but her eBay business was so good that she decided to go full-time on eBay. Now she has been able to buy a house and put her son through college.

- Eloise Holbrook, abstractelle

Eloise is an artist who makes abtract art, and had her own brick-and-mortar store, but "wasn’t getting the foot traffic she needed to make ends meet. So she changed her business plan, gave herself a crash-course in shipping, opened up an eBay store, and the rest is history." Her gallery used to get around 50 visitors a week, "but her eBay store sees thousands per day."

- Sophia Stevens, sweetpeaspice

Sophia started on eBay small, "listing a few of her own products to see if they would sell. She slowly added more products and now has her own line of bulk spices, herbs, chilies, nuts, and dried fruits—available exclusively on eBay." Her customers include personal chefs, restaurants, holistic healers, caterers, and spas, according to eBay. 

Sophia also regularly attends monthly meet-ups, "where she shares strategies and best-practices with other eBay retailers." Running an eBay business helps Sophia support her family and gives her the flexibility to be around for all of life’s important moments.

One of the more interesting tidbits in Sophia's story, I thought, was that the first thing she sold was "21 pounds of Cinnamon Sticks, which sold overnight." She said she was "so happy when I got the notification that my item was sold. That was also my first time shipping anything."

Which woman-owned business would get your vote? Which would you be most likely to buy from? Post a comment here! 


eBay May Reside in Social Networks, Says CEO Wenig

eBay May Reside in Social Networks, Says CEO Wenig 

Could we be shopping from eBay from within Facebook Messenger soon, or Facebook itself?

At a recent re/code conference, eBay CEO Devin Wenig said eBay may change in that it will be wherever people spend their time outside of eBay.  "So we may reside in big social networks.  We may reside in big social messaging networks." And, he added, it may be conversational; "it may take various forms.  Go to a site, go to a domain."

"I want to see eBay ubiquitous where people spend their time," he said.

Wenig also spoke about how eBay users are starting to see content curation on the site. "The home page of eBay is now curated; there's something called 'eBay Today.'  It's interesting collections of items.  We tell stories about those items."  And what one person sees won't be the same thing another person sees, or any of the other 160 million or so people on eBay.  "And if you start shopping and browsing, you'll see recommendations that I would call pretty good," he added.

"To me, that's part of the big platform revolution that's not often spoken about," said Wenig.  "The Internet of Things" ends up being about pictures and devices.  He says he thinks of it differently.  "I think of it as an Internet that comes to you, rather than an Internet that you go to."

What do you think of the idea of shopping on eBay from within, say, a Facebook or Facebook Messenger? Post a comment here! 


New USPS First-Class Rates in Effect in August

New USPS First-Class Rates in Effect in August

According to an eBay Announcement, The United States Postal Service has proposed a rate increase on First-Class Mail Parcels (FCMP) weighing between 1-3 ounces. "These new rates have been approved, and will go into effect on August 28, 2016," says the announcement.

The new USPS rates are:


1-3 oz First Class Mail Parcel Retail:

Currently $2.45

Proposed $2.62


1-3 oz First Class Package Service via eBay labels:

Currently $2.45

Proposed $2.60


Do such small increases affect your eBay buying? One thing I have been wondering, as a seller, if the overall increase of USPS rates, more on heavy items that need to be shipped Priority Mail, have affected buyers' habits.  For one reason, heavier items such as serving platters can sometimes cost as much in postage as they do in their purchase price. 

One seller on an eBay discussion board wrote, "I'm losing ton of money on shipping!?! HELP!!"

"So I put a bunch of stuff on sale, using the 'Ebay' calculator for shipping. I ended up paying around $2-5 more for nearly reach item. One item I sold for$.99 and I paid $2 more than buyer paid to ship. So basically I paid someone to take my item! So next time around, I said everything weighed am extra pound trying to see if that would work...nope!!

"When I did this before you could add things for handling costs to cover anything like that, and packing materials. I get that Ebay was losing out when people would put $19.99 for shipping and sell item for a penny, but I just want to add $2 handling fee for things like shipping cost error and tape and such.

"I was also on receiving end of issue. The seller printed the label ebay said was right, and when package got here, mailman made me pay another $3.54 that had been under paid by seller. Seller said there had been issues with ebay postage calculator. Even my post office said they rarely get ebay stuff anymore since the change went into effect. Come on ebay fix this please!!

Other sellers counseled that he add shipping costs into his item price, doing research on sold items to make sure his shipping price wasn't out of line with other items in the same category.

Another said he used eBay's shipping calculator with no problem.

What about you? Have you decided against buying an item ever because the shipping price was too high? What do you think of the new USPS first-class rates, or will they not make a difference to you in your buying? Post a comment here!


What Might Be the Impact of the Brexit on eBay Buyers?

What Might Be the Impact of the Brexit on eBay Buyers?

Both eBay buyers and sellers are likely wondering what any impact of the "Brexit," the British vote to leave the European Union, might have on commerce on the site.

EBay was cautious, stating in an announcement on the UK site simply that, "As a global business enabling cross-border trade for SMBs worldwide, eBay has been a consistent supporter of the EU Single Market and the creation of a true EU Digital Single Market.  We believe there are advantages for both sellers and buyers to be part of large open trade blocks. But our business is a global one and our sellers are successful within and outside the European Union. British voters have decided that their interests are best represented outside of the EU and so we will continue to put the best interests of British SMBs and customers at the heart of what we do.

"We will continue to work with the UK Government and at a European level to ensure we are close to any discussions/changes resulting from this vote, which may affect our customers.

"Regards,
"The eBay-Team"

Meanwhile, one eBayer on a US discussion board wrote on June 24, "GB Pound down: buy British antiques!"

"If the Pound stays down, now could be the best time for years for eBay $US buyers to buy £GB Antiques listings," they wrote.

Another responded, "Thanks for the heads up, I have a couple of items in my watch list from the UK."

But one eBayer wrote, "Note that the OP is from the UK. Self-promotion!? And now that the UK has voted to leave the EU who known what the Pound is going to do."

My take on it is it probably is too early to tell, but it couldn't hurt to look at eBay UK listings to see if there are bargains to be had.

What do you think the impact of the Brexit will be on eBay buying or selling? Let me know in the comments section!