Updated 03/04/2021: Since we first published the article, eBay has removed certain listings of books by Dr. Seuss, claiming they violate its offensive materials policy.
Times are tough, and many people are selling their stuff to make ends meet. Even if you weather the pandemic storm, it never hurts to make a little extra money during spring cleaning.
The online auction phenomenon began with eBay, but it’s not the only player in the game. You have a wealth of choices to unload your clutter on others. Tap or click here for six alternatives to eBay.
Reading Across America day started in 1998 to encourage young people to read. This annual holiday takes place on the birthday of children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. His publisher stirred things up this year with a decision to stop the publication of six Dr. Seuss books. Read on to find out why this is happening and how it’s affecting the market for these books.
DSE takes a stand
Dr. Seuss Enterprises, or DSE, released a statement saying it is stopping the publication and licensing of these six Dr. Seuss titles: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer.
The publisher says it made the decision to support diversity and inclusion. The books in question contain imagery deemed racist and insensitive by a panel that included teachers, academics and other so-called experts.
The speculators step in
When something becomes rare out of nowhere, you can guarantee people will find a way to take advantage, and children’s books are no exception. The six out-of-print books have hit the market with some very high prices. Here are some eBay listings currently being bid on.
- A listing for And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street is up to $750.
- If I Ran the Zoo is up to $250.
- A copy of McElligot’s Pool is approaching $1,000.
- This copy of On Beyond Zebra! is going for more than $800.
- Scrambled Eggs Super! bidding is over $250.
- People are willing to lay down more than $250 for The Cat’s Quizzer.
How to get in on the action
You may have grown up with Dr. Seuss’s books and still have some copies lying around. Check your crawl spaces, attics and basements. If you have any of the controversial titles, you could do very well selling them while they’re in demand. Tap or click here to spot this popular scam when selling online.
You can use any number of sites to sell your books, but eBay seems to be the hot spot for books by Dr. Seuss at the moment, so let’s stick with that. Here are some tips for selling books.
- Check the edition. First editions are the most valuable. This information can usually be found at the bottom of the copyright page or sometimes even on the front cover. Check the copyright year against the first year of the book’s publication. First print runs are the most valuable of first editions, and if you have an author’s signature, even better!
- Describe the book’s condition accurately. Look for imperfections like stains, shelf wear, tears, repairs and yellowing. Be clear in the listing description, or you can face returns and negative reviews.
- Take good photos for your listing. You can do this with your smartphone and some good lighting. Use a contrasting background to make the book stand out. At the very least, include images of the front and back covers, the spine and the copyright page. Also, take photos of imperfections and damage.
- Look for similar listings. Check eBay listings for your book to get an idea of pricing. Select Sold Items in the sidebar to view listings that actually sold. This way, you can avoid the sky-high listings that won’t make it anywhere and view the ones that people spent money on.
- Ship it the right way. If your book sells, use eBay’s media mail option to save on shipping costs. Make sure to carefully package and ship it to avoid conflict with your buyer.