Selling Your Comics Online

If you want top dollar for your books, it'll take some work.

If you want top dollar for your books, it’ll take some work.

Have you ever taken your old comic books in to a comic book store to make some room in your closet, earn a little extra dough, or attempt to make some of that money back for all those collectible variants and sold out issues?  So you take in a few hundred pristine treasures all bagged, boarded, and sorted by title and the comic shop owner breaks your spirit with the words, “Fifteen bucks in store credit.”

Insert sunken heart here.  Sure, you probably weren’t thinking you were about to strike gold, but you would have liked to walk out with a chunk of change.  If you want to earn some cash for your books, do not take them to a comic book store because they will not give you what you feel is a good price.  They can’t afford to.

So let’s put our marketing hats on boys and girls and I’ll share with you what’s worked for me.  If you are going to sell your books, I strongly suggest doing so on online.  A few years ago I needed to make a lot of extra space and decided to sell my comic book collection on eBay and I was able to sell all of them.  All of them.  This is what worked for me.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An eBay account
  • A camera
  • A computer
  • Boxes
  • Shipping supplies
  • An internet connection
  • Time on your hands

Open an eBay account, and garner some positive reviews
If you haven’t done so yet, get some reviews on eBay and make sure they are all positive.  I have primarily used eBay to fill holes in my collection.  The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of people who try to scam eBayers out of their hard-earned money.  No matter how good a deal is, some people won’t purchase from you if you do not have a respectable number of reviews on your account.

Categorize your comics
The first thing to do is sort all of your comics by the groupings that you will want to sell them.  For example, put all of your “Green Lantern” issues together.  I would not recommend selling them by arcs if you have a lot of comic books.  My experience is that a lot of people like to buy long runs of books.  If you can, make sure there are not a lot of holes in your runs.

Bagging and boarding
Not much to say about that.  I have received comics from eBay sellers that were not bagged and boarded and I questioned why they would use NM to describe their condition.  Highly dubious.   Which brings me to my next subject: grade your books (fairly).

Grade your books (fairly)
Google search “Overstreet Grading Scale” and you should find everything you need to know about grading your books.  Because I would always bag and board my books immediately, I was confident that my books were no less than Very Fine (VF).  Don’t overstate the quality of your books by grading everything Near Mint (NM) unless you are positive your books are in pristine condition.  This doesn’t mean you have to look at all of your books with a magnifying glass—just be fair to your buyers or suffer the consequences of low seller ratings on your eBay account.

Take photos
You don’t have to be a professional photographer, but buyers deserve to see what they are buying.  If you want to get people to buy your comics, you are going to need to include photos.  If you have some comics that have a lot of interest, such as early “Ultimate Spider-Man” or “Walking Dead” issues, take close ups of those books.  Even if you don’t post some of those pics, have them handy in case someone emails you requesting them.

Comic Book Grading

If your books aren’t in perfect condition, don’t say that they are.

Write good descriptions
Your descriptions of your books must be hyperbole-free.  Nothing says Snake Oil Salesman like “These books are sure to go up in value…”  Just write a paragraph on your books and throw in your thoughts on the books, even if they aren’t entirely complimentary.  On a few occasions I would write, “I know this is a popular title, but it didn’t resonate with me.”  Did I mention I sold every book I put on eBay?

Aim high by pricing low
If there is one rule you may not want to follow it’s this one.  But don’t be surprised if you don’t get as many bites as you would like.  If you’ve got good titles on sale, and you’ve followed the other rules, the buyers will come.

Be friendly and responsive to questions
Remember that putting your stuff up for sale on eBay means that you are running your own mini-business.  And your business is going to live or die by your ability to provide good service.  Answer emails immediately and provide any additional information requested.  Also remember to be cordial and friendly and make your contact information available.  I have been shocked at the amount of times people have made me feel as though I was wasting their time.

Package your books well
Purchase mailing boxes, bubble wrap, and tape at Target or Wal-Mart because they seem to have the very reasonable prices.  Make sure all of your comics are wrapped snugly in bubble wrap (in batches of about ten or so).  Use old newspapers, magazines or paper in the box to ensure there isn’t a lot of shifting.

One last thing.  I’ve only used eBay, but there are other places out there, like Amazon.com, to sell your books online.

Happy selling!

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