Now that I’ve wandered eBay and started trying to offload books and unwanted anime discs there, I have some eBay-specific updates to this ol’ OWLS post.
On eBay, as with other content on a budget, remember to keep your eyes out for signs the content is pirated, such as “rainbow stripes” where the photocopier failed on the cover, or otherwise a ripoff (e.g. figures from China might be fake) and avoid those. Alternatively, look for signs of legitimacy, such as a licensor’s logo.
eBay tends to work best for OOP volumes of anime or manga, such as Tokyopop volumes. In fact, I ended up dropping money for stuff on eBay because Anime Feminist made me reminisce about reading Tactics, Saiyuki and DN Angel.
For anime and similar discs specifically, these can be unplayable if you don’t have the right device. Therefore, a Japanese imported DVD might not work on a DVD player from elsewhere (as an example) and you’ll have wasted your money! Make sure to check regions and where the item is located – there is one seller I’ve been eyeing items from who lives in the same state as me, which automatically makes me back out from fear of wasting money on postage in this time of COVID, but simultaneously not wanting to expose myself to a random person just to get something I want via local pickup.
Under the Margin
For an item with a best offer you can tweak, bid slightly under the price you’re given if the price seems reasonable enough to you and the seller seems legit. This little action tends to be accounted for in the shipping price if you’re willing to part with your money – even if you have free shipping, it will pay off intermediate fees or go towards your seller.
That said, if there are multiple watchers on an item, it’s going to be more difficult to get the item if someone has already bidded lower than you. Make sure you know your limits by carefully comparing prices, both ebook and physical if you can do so. Standard Japanese-language manga volumes tend to go for about 600 – 800 yen each on Bookwalker (when they’re not otherwise discounted, that is), so if you can drive your price down to somewhere about there per volume, that should be a reasonable deal, while physical books + shipping can rack up quite the price, depending on location. Also factor in bonus items from reputable vendors and proxy shippers, such as CDJapan, which you may want in the future when considering buying items – if your item is hot off the press, a listing on eBay may be too good to be true.
Buying in Bulk and Discounts
You might be able to get a discount if you purchase multiple items at once and/or purchase in bulk (as in, a set of assorted volumes can be sold “as a lot”). Be careful you’re getting exactly what you want from the purchase and make sure the seller isn’t asking for more or less than what’s listed in your order. In my time attempting to sell stuff on eBay so far, all I’ve gotten so far are scam offers (that is, they ask for me to send my PayPal address to them without actually buying the item they’ve made an offer on and one time, I was asked to send over an expensive gift card for a store the scammer could’ve easily bought an e-gift card for).
eBay is a significantly different frontier than charity stores, so you never know what sort of service you’ll get until you observe the seller’s profile carefully…