Which is the best strategy to sell vintage magazines on ebay?

A friend of mine is a hoarder of magazines and has an attic full of mostly whole year’s editions. This is in Germany, he’s got German Rolling Stone, Musikexpress (music magazine similar to RS), Titanic (THE German satire mag), Kowalski (long out-of-print satire magazine), 11 Freunde (soccer mag) and some vintage lifestyle mags from the eighties and nineties like Tempo and Wiener.

He’s been thinking to sell them on ebay for some time now, but since he’s not a computer person and not familiar with ebay, he asked me to help him. I’ve looked around a bit on ebay how magazines are usually sold and had the impression that magazines are mostly sold separately, while we intended to sell them as complete year’s editions since it’s just too much (it must be thousands of single copies) effort to sell them one by one. But maybe this is a bad strategy, and we could make much more if we sold separate issues, maybe some which are especially sought after.

What do you think? Does anybody have experience with selling old mags online?

My wife does this. She sells them as lots. Either by year or by category. It would be a full-time job of listing and shipping if you did them individually, and probably not sell them all.

I’d ask her more detail, but… she’s out of town.

Check what the same exact titles have done on eBay before; not just what people listed them for but actual completed deals/sales. I had a lot of coin/numismatic magazines from the 60s and 70s and found that most of the Krause publications did best as single issues and most of the others as full years. For some I made the call to take a hit and just go years (easier for me) but a few I did just as singles and it really paid off. A little research when selling on eBay can pay off sometimes.

As a buyer of old magazines on ebay, I’ll tell you what I’m looking for.

Know what the magazine is worth. Too often I’ll see the same issue for, say, $4.95, 7.95, 12, and 29.95. Does the seller of the last one think anyone in the world is going to pay 30 bucks? Yet there they are. And some magazines just aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

Get realistic shipping rates, and offer combined shipping. If I can buy three issues from the same seller and combine shipping, I’m willing to pay a bit more per issue. But I base how much I’m willing to pay on the total - price plus shipping. Don’t forget media mail rates, if in the USA.

Describe the magazines well. If there is damage, or a mailing label, mention it. Look for torn or missing pages, or places where stuff was cut out. Use photos of the actual issue. Include a shot of the table of contents page - I have looked for a specific article that I remembered, and couldn’t remember the actual issue, so seeing the TOC helped immensely. Knowing exactly what one is getting can make a sale where otherwise I might pass.

Entire year collections can sell, especially if it is an obscure magazine. Paying 30 bucks for twelve issues, plus say 14 shipping, means I can get the entire year for under $4/issue. That’s good! Much better than $3/issue with $4 shipping each.

I’ve never bought or sold magazines on eBay but I am a regular-Joe casual ebay seller. And I use eBay as a means to clear stuff out of my house.

In my opinion, just do what is easiest. Don’t worry about making that extra dollar here or there. Don’t forget your time costs money!

Be honest and thorough with your descriptions and photos. Collect the right supplies for shipping. Set a “starts at” price you’re willing to live with. Be willing to wait a few weeks or a few months for the stuff to sell. If it doesn’t sell right away, tweak the starting price down or just leave it alone.

And don’t let the cat pee on any of your stock while you’re waiting for it to sell :slight_smile:

Don’t worry, my friend’s got no pets (and hopefully no mice on his attic). :slight_smile:

And don’t smoke around them, either.

I disposed of some of my uncle’s collections when he died. Selling piece by piece, I got very good results and happy buyers by specifying that the seller pays shipping. Too many eBay offers appear to border on shipping scams.

I don’t do eBay, but I do sell on Amazon, and do reasonably well. eBay is better if you want to sell them by lots; Amazon is better for single issues.

I sold several years (1970’s-1980’s) worth of Rolling Stone good condition in leatherette holders as entire group. I did so on Craigslist rather than ebay, though, because I wanted to avoid the shipping hassle and the ebay scammers. I got a reasonable price for them, not as much as I had seen online for specific individual issues, but close enough on average. But pretty easy if I waited through low-ball offers, and it cleared out about 8 feet of shelf storage space.

Someday I should get organized and do the same with my boxes of early computer magazines, like Byte, DDJ, etc.