This seems to be the ultimate question when it comes to buying and selling these books, or anything else, for that matter. One of the most key principles to keep in mind when it comes to coloring books is…there is no definitive market for them. Nothing is established and no absolute price guide exists AT ALL. Because of this, like it or not, it is completely a BUYER’S MARKET.
What does that mean? It means that the seller, no matter what they think it is worth, is most likely wrong and overcharging, big time! Yes, if it’s a business selling the item they want to be profitable. They want to make something, so they will charge more than what they paid for it. What they don’t understand is that they shouldn’t buy something to sell if they don’t know what it is worth, and with no guide out there, they are shooting in the dark.
I have seen WAY too many books on ebay and etsy that the seller thinks is worth some outrageous amount. And they are wrong. Even if something is rare, it doesn’t make it valuable. And they most likely bought it at the highest price it would even sell for, and expected to somehow flip it. It is only valuable to the right buyer, and finding that right buyer can be like winning the lottery, so they relist it over and over again, hoping to find that 1 person. Paying a fee every time they relist it. And eventually they have paid more fees than they spent in buying the book they are reselling, now doubling the cost entirely.
I’ve done this, but I also allow buyer’s to send in Best Offers and I’ll let it go cheaper if it’s reasonable. I’ve physically bought, touched, and scanned at least 4,000 of the books in my library. A few 100 were done by my sister a while back as slave labor for room and board, and some others I’ve traded for. The point is, I know what I’ve paid. I know what people have bidding wars on, and I know what sits on the shelf for a VERY long time, collecting dust and cobwebs, even though it may be incredibly rare. I’d say at least 1/3 of the books I currently have listed on ebay are the only copies I’ve found so far, and they are still sitting there. But I’ve also sold tons over the years, and in this market, the prices for these books don’t fluctuate all that much. The only thing I see now are books that used to have multiple listings frequently rarely pop up anymore.
It’s all about “that” particular show or character that creates the buzz – Space Ghost, classic My Little Pony, Dungeons & Dragons – which will make people shell out a good price. But something incredibly rare, but also incredibly obscure…good luck. The bottom line is, don’t try to buy or sell something for a crazy price when you have no clue, because you’re most likely overpaying. It is sad that I have to pass over some books that I don’t have because the seller won’t budge, thinking they have the holy grail. I won’t pay way more than something is worth, regardless of rarity. I’m patient enough to wait and see if another will show up over the next few decades.
Be reasonable, people. Everyone should come out fairly happy in the end!