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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
13 Mar 2016
02:31:44pm
I am starting this thread to review some of the steps that Approval Books sellers are taking to make their books more functional and overall "better". This is meant to inspire the rest of you.

I am going to review some steps that you could all take to improve the Approval Books platform. As Moderator, I am probably the only one who looks at all the books. And I commend you all for making them so much better already!
I will share some functional gems I have seen..which may have escaped the rest of you. Please feel free (Buyers and sellers alike) to add your comments and suggestions.

I already have singled out in a previous post the Approval Books issued by "cardstamp", which include the cat number of every stamp (Bravo!). My only additional suggestion is to add it to the title, when you have cat numbers featured.

I will continue to highlights more steps that could be taken to make "better" books. Now, none of these extras are mandated by our rules By highlighting the concrete steps taken by some to make the whole Approval Books experience better I hope to motivate others. I encourage you all (sellers) to learn from others, and I encourage all (buyers) to share here what works for you best.

>>>>>>> So this post singles out Stevo45, his books set a standard for simple indexing the content that deserves considering when you post a new book, and I will use book 5928 as an example: Look at his book description (book description is featured on the cover page before you move on to see the individual pages): simple and yet so helpful to the potential buyer (you can look at his other books to see how simple and elegant this is):

Quote:

"Book Description

Malta 1885 to 1997 Used Stamps

Page 1: 1885 to 1956 Used Stamps
Page 2: 1956 to 1973 Used Stamps
Page 3: 1981 to 1995 Used Stamps
Page 4: 1994 to 1997 Used Stamps"



This is so simple. This is so much to the point! It works! I almost feel it should be mandated, like a book table of conetents (Big Grin Surprise ).
It certainly takes less work than adding the cat numbers next to each stamp as done by "cardstamp", and it bridges the catalog origin source (which catalog?) problem that always arises with adding catalog numbers when you have an international membership. Although I personally will pay a little more for books with cat numbers, especially in difficult areas, (It does add work), I think this "table of content" method is quite elegant and inexpensive to implement! And one does not preclude the other!

Approval Books have progressed tremendously over the past two years, (since their first introduction). Their success is in large part due to the time invested and the creative contibutions you have all made! Let us continue to make them "better" without more rules! If something works for you, please indicate it to others!

rrr...

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Soundcrest
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13 Mar 2016
03:23:13pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

However (and I admit I looked at the first page only) while nice, what this basically is is a replacement for catalog numbers. For me, with the structure of the books it is almost impossible to do this when you have a range of prices from 5 cents to 10 dollars. I'm lucky I can break it down to as little as 24 pages. A lot of times I simply have to hold over stamps in the higher price ranges because I have no pages left. To do books this way with 5 & 10 cent stamps with no catalog numbers is quite easy.

Now expand the books to 100-150 pages, and make an index mandatory, I'm all for it. It becomes like a store then which many do not want to see. Then you can take a book of say Belgium, and break it down 1960-9 5 cent stamps, 1960-9 10 cent stamps, 1960-9 25 cent stamps, 1970-9 5 cent stamps etc. You can easily create a book of 75-100 pages this way.

I know if I tried doing breakdowns like Steve I'd have books of 24 pages and maybe 50 stamps as many pages would have 1 stamp. Those kinds of books are unacceptable here.

Also, how would you create books of multiple countries? I don't think I could find 100 stamps from Inini but I was able to combine it with other French Colonies to create a book.

Greg

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ECollector
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13 Mar 2016
04:57:22pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I commend you Ralph, putting forth the effort to improve the approvals.

Some will be notably more organized and do well, others will fade.....

Quote:

"the structure of the books it is almost impossible to do this when you have a range of prices from 5 cents to 10 dollars"



This problem becomes more pronounced when assembling covers (trust me)......

Mandating catalog numbers could open a whole new can of worms. I believe many collectors do not have catalogs. A catalog number without referencing the catalog (and year) can be troubling, as numbering can and does change.

A Scott catalog number to collectors using Michel, SG, Zumstein's, etc....is meaningless


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NoernbergStamps
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13 Mar 2016
05:43:31pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Going back to my original U-Pick lots, part of the fun was the "thrill of the hunt". I agree that if we want it super duper organized, then go to stores, otherwise, I'd let it go and not get worked up about it.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
13 Mar 2016
06:12:22pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Let me say again that nothing is being mandated, but everyone is encouraged to make better books.

Now books are not going to work for everything. They are designed specifically for a certain type of products...lower valued stamps that many of us have extras of, and that could be of use to many to fill those pesky spots or help you start a new collectible area. They are meant to complement Auctions and to a certain extent channel the penny stamps here, uncluttering the Auction platform.
So I am looking at what makes these books "better".

They are not intended as stores and most people here would throw a fit at the idea of "stores". By their nature Approval Books are for many (primarily lower valued) stamps on a page...and substantial books offering lots to chose from.
We explicitely did NOT design it for individual pricing. This is meant to encourage all sellers to see their stamps within ranges of prices, because (opinion) catalog prices are meaningless at the low end (possibly elsewhere too?), and I for one think that the small variations you see in most catalogs are made up, manipulated by catalog companies annually to sell catalogs, and worthless if you take them as exact to the penny. (I even documented some years back what subtle subroutine was being used to vary prices year to year, without any reason, except for a programming subroutine).
So this structure was set up and intended to discourage pricing to the penny, one stamp (or set) per page, which you can do in Auctions.

Now I like the use of Years to reference stamps..it is more universal...but I also like the use of catalogs numbers in special cases as it helps when confusion could exist...think perf varieties, watermarks, or slight design or color variations.
AGAIN, IT IS ALL OPTIONAL. No one is going to mandate more work for anyone at the 5c-10c per stamp level!

Now Greg reflects on a thought I have had for some time. We don't have the right platform to help sell the more expensive material, not given our Club size, the activity level daily, and traffic fluctuation patterns. Auctions tries within these limitations, but compete with other sites. And facts remain, we are not big enough to support regular auctions for high valued stamps, and if it is one of our goals, we should design the vehicle for it.
Do we need a third platform, in addition to Auctions and Approvals? I think we do, as I would rather look here first than at Delcampe or Ebay, or Bidstart...but it is not clear that we collectively want to become more of a selling site rather than a Club, a collector's heaven.
And another selling platform will give Tim a fit, unless we can clone him!

To be noted that over-emphasizing the various selling platforms detracts from the rest..the discussions, the educational, informational, the magazines, the articles the displays etc... and just the convivial athmosphere of a club.
There is so much more, here, than on commercial sites, and we don't need to emulate them to cover all their bases. We actually do better when we are unique!

So let us work, for now, with what we have, acknowledging their limitations, but also benefiting from their current design. And think of another better "mousetrap" for another life (or time).

Now Greg:

Quote:

"For me, with the structure of the books it is almost impossible to do this when you have a range of prices from 5 cents to 10 dollars."

Agree, Approval books were not designed for this. When structuring this platform, the design committee even discussed putting a max value on stamps sold here...but decided against. We also put a maximum page count to discourage "stores", and even touched upon mandatory retirement age (now it is one year, or when depleted, or when no sales occur).
So you are right, it was designed in this fashion, for a reason.

In my Approval Books, I do put some higher valued stamps at the end of my books, grouped by loose price brackets, but I would not design a book just for them. They tend to be some more duplicates that I may want to part with, and they will undoubtedly fill a few empty spots in someone's collection, but I take it as a bonus rather than a goal in activating an Approval Book.

I would love to undertake a project to design the perfect platform for "better" stamps. (Not currently served by anyone). When the time is right, and if supported by others, we can talk about it. My guess is not this year, certainly not for me.

And to get back to topic Laughing, what makes a "better" book? Please comment on what we have.

rrr...

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Stevo45
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13 Mar 2016
06:16:02pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Quote:

""Book Description

Malta 1885 to 1997 Used Stamps

Page 1: 1885 to 1956 Used Stamps
Page 2: 1956 to 1973 Used Stamps
Page 3: 1981 to 1995 Used Stamps
Page 4: 1994 to 1997 Used Stamps""



Hi rrr...

Thanks for highlighting my book..

This is a very simple example, of course but it gets a bit harder when a book has 20+ pages or multiple Countries because there are only a limited number of characters allowed in this description field.

The Book description is "searchable" - More characters, I think, would allow better descriptions and deeper searches for bigger Books.

Regarding Scott numbers - If there was a separate field and only one format for that number (NOT mandatory) - Then that Cat. number may be more useful.

Cheers

Steve.
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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
13 Mar 2016
06:26:43pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Hi Steve. In the early days, some book titles read as short stories or novels, so it was decided to cap the title to 2 to 3 lines (70?+ characters?).

So title summarizes the content..with brief and precise information. And the cover page, as you have done so admirably, has on it a table of content, a page index..that is beautiful. And you don't have the same limitation on what you can say!

rrr..

PS: raining raining raining here in SF, so no better time to do some stamping?

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Soundcrest
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13 Mar 2016
08:03:52pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Speaking for myself, I buy up collections and break them down. By now I know what (in some cases) certain members are looking for. I try to structure books to appeal to a broad range of collector hence nickel stamps and $3-10 stamps and sets in the same book. There is no way to do just a higher priced material book and keeping to the number of stamps and countries (ie no world wide) allowed or required in one book. Ians idea is an interesting concept, one that a number of ebay sellers use (not me though) and that is a 30 day listing that is not an auction. Yes it does resemble a store in many ways, no doubt about it but if it is set up that there is a minimum value to a stamp or set (as is ebays store requirement of nothing under a dollar) I think it has some merit. It would give people a platform to list higher priced material and remove it from books especially since you would not need to stick to everything at the same price. We would have to use the same rules as to relisting, as otherwise it will run as a store. Still, to cap the price of a stamp or set within the book will make it difficult at least for me to get that 100 number (assuming the cap was something like $1). I suspect that you will wind up with a lot of books of nickel and dime stamps, 3 of each. I don't think that is the intent

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youpiao
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13 Mar 2016
10:34:03pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Quote:

"They are not intended as stores and most people here would throw a fit at the idea of "stores"."



Except, that is exactly how more than a few members, here, are treating this site, as just another sales venue. I've read member introductions that state, "I am a dealer in yadda yadda yadda;" and I see regular auction listings by members from whom you never see any participation on the discussion board; and checking some of those auction sellers, you see thousands of lots sold, with 0 lots won.

For better or worse, this is already a "store" site for many members. If we want to keep this as a pure "club" venue, then some standards, addressing the above issues, will have to be developed and enforced.

Ted

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youpiao
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13 Mar 2016
10:38:03pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Quote:

"I suspect that you will wind up with a lot of books of nickel and dime stamps, 3 of each. I don't think that is the intent."



That is precisely the intent, and Ralph said as much:
Quote:

"They are designed specifically for a certain type of products...lower valued stamps that many of us have extras of, and that could be of use to many to fill those pesky spots or help you start a new collectible area. They are meant to complement Auctions and to a certain extent channel the penny stamps here,"



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Stevo45
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13 Mar 2016
11:14:54pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Hi Ted,

I agree with most of what you say, but.::

Quote:

" "and checking some of those auction sellers, you see thousands of lots sold, with 0 lots won.""



If a member here has sold 5,000 or say 20,000 stamps at whatever price then surely that is a service required by other members that maybe do not sell here. ??

In my view there is a need here for sellers of ALL types and prices of stamp material..

i.e.: Sell whatever is wanted at a reasonable price .... Within the current rules..

A Seller with no purchases does no harm and may become a buyer when the material wanted is listed here.

Cheers

Steve.

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youpiao
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13 Mar 2016
11:44:15pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I don't disagree with you, Stevo. But, within the current rules, this is not a site for commercial sales, but that is what it seems we have already.

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Stevo45
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14 Mar 2016
12:43:58am
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Hi Ted

I do see your point but how do we define a commercial seller.. (Very tricky I think) Nerd

For example - I have sold over 5,000 items since July 2016 and purchased only 24 items since 2011 (20 of those just last week). I do not buy stamps to sell I'm just reducing the size of my collection and getting rid of duplicates.

Another Seller I know buys stamps for the fun of selling (Lots of them) here to help members fill gaps in collections

regards

Steve.

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youpiao
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14 Mar 2016
01:18:30am
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Again, I agree. I guess this is what one might call a slippery slope. I'll leave it to the Volunteer Committee to traverse that area. Winking

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cardstamp
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14 Mar 2016
01:53:01am

Approvals
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Thanks Ralph for liking my Scott #'s. The jury is still out as to if it makes a difference to the folks who have been buying from my books. I have another motive for doing it - because if after 4 months stamps do not sell out of the books and I decide to put them up in my Bidstart store (where I do need the Scott #) - I already have it - so I save time on the back end. For new books that I am adding where there are only common stamps less than 15 cents - I will not take the time to put in the #'s.
As for more expensive items - I have been adding some at the end of all of my books and it is a hit or miss as to whether any of those sell. I notice some of my regulars tend to stop and only select stamps up to a certain amount. I have tried putting some higher priced material up in the auctions - which is also hit or miss - sometimes I get someone who bids on something. I find it time consuming to put up auctions since they only last a period of time and i do not see the sense in repeating them since the audience does not change much week to week - like it does on a commercial site.
As for adding an index to the approval book descriptions - I could possibly do that for certain books but because of the different prices - it is hard to get groupings to come up with a good table of contents.
My overall opinion right now - is I am happy with the way things are ! STeve

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Soundcrest
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14 Mar 2016
03:42:41am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I enjoy selling stamps. It's the only reason I continue to do so. My wife asks me why I bother as we surely don't need any money that my stamp sales generate. I usually just pour it back into buying more to resell - which is why I have a closet full of unlisted stamps and continue to buy more. Back in the early 80's I stopped collecting and began selling because I got just as much satisfaction from helping a collector fill a hole in their collection as I did with filling a hole in mine. I still do. When I was collecting my needs were very specific, as I gravitated towards German revenues and non-scott US revenues (states and Springer listed) which you rarely see anyplace at a reasonable price. I do love Match and Medicine stamps but the prices for nice copies are insane.

When the enjoyment of selling diminishes I will be done. For now I will continue to do so with the same intent as always. As my old approvals welcome letter used to say "I won't try to sell you any stamp that I wouldn't want for my collection at a price I wouldn't pay". Been my motto for 35 years now.

Greg

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philatelia
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14 Mar 2016
10:41:55am
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Quote:

"and checking some of those auction sellers, you see thousands of lots sold, with 0 lots won"



Maybe those folks who only sell and don't buy could reciprocate in other ways, perhaps hosting a "giveaway" raffle? That would sure generate some positive karma and they would have fun doing that - I know I sure did! They were a blast for me - a real upper - so much so that I'm planning more in the future. Happy

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youpiao
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14 Mar 2016
01:50:01pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Holy mackerel. Thanks for reminding me. Youpiao Fangqi #3 closes in 10 minutes.
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philatelia
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14 Mar 2016
01:58:29pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

What are those symbols? Detroit Tigers? Michigan Wolverines? The "T" has me stumped.

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youpiao
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14 Mar 2016
03:29:26pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

T is for Tedski (that's me Big Grin)

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michael78651
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14 Mar 2016
04:31:44pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Clubs all over the world have dealers as members, and they sell stamps at club meetings. Also, many dealers are members of the APS, and identified as "Dealer-Members". I used to be one of those so identified. Anyway, the APS Dealer-Members also sell through the APS Circuit Sales, and the APS Online Store.

I don't see any problem with it, and I believe that the dealer members offer stamps that often regular members don't have to sell.

Now in order for a dealer to remain competitive on Stamporama, they are going to have to price their items based on how non-dealer members are pricing. Dealer members also have to abide by the same rules as everyone else. I have seen, and I have been told by some dealer members that they don't agree with the rules here, and they want exceptions because they are dealers. They also want a more commercial site. Well, neither of those two points are going to happen any time soon. The result is that they usually huff and puff at me, and then they pick up their toys and go elsewhere.

When I became the Auctioneer a few months ago, David never told me that I'd need a Kevlar vest for this job. I have one now, and all is well.

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Stevo45
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14 Mar 2016
06:38:26pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Hi Guys,

Since this topic is about making Approval books "Better" - Maybe we should be looking at the members that have Zero Purchases - Where do they buy their stamps and why not here ?

Cheers

Stevo

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Soundcrest
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14 Mar 2016
07:30:26pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I rarely buy from anyplace anymore as my collection is on hold. With working 60-70 hours a week and being chief cook and bottle washer (and other things as well) I don't have much time to collect. However should Springer listed US revenues (tobacco, snuff,cigars etc) as well as US Match and Medicine show up here at a reasonable price I certainly would be interested. Norton listed German revenues too would strike my fancy.

Greg

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michael78651
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14 Mar 2016
08:08:38pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I have way too many purchases...I Don't Want To See

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sheepshanks
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14 Mar 2016
09:39:23pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I am one of those that have not made a purchase here, though I did make a couple of approval books but they took a lot of time putting together and with working 7am to 4.30 pm and with home maintenance and with renovating a rental home (plus wife cats dog, sheep and chickens and a 300 square foot veg patch) there does not seem a lot of time left to do much more than buy at a few online auctions.
I tend to buy sets or collections, mainly pre 1990, as many of the later items seem more like holiday snaps processed at Walmart.
I do look at the auctions and approvals here but apart from the odd item to make a set(if the watermark and paper etc are stated and correct )the cost of postage often outweighs that of the stamp.
Being 70 in June and hoping to retire later this year maybe I will have more time to devote to stamping.
My primary purchases at present are Hong Kong, British Africa, West Indies and GB, principally 1920's to 1990 period. So if anyone would care to put some sets together, mint or used I'll open my wallet for a reasonable deal, say around 20 to 30% cat. Which is what I bid on most online sites, yes I lose a lot but get a number of good deals.
And no I'm not renovating the wife etc.

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Stevo45
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14 Mar 2016
10:09:39pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Hi Folks

I would be interested to know how many members here use the "New Books Notification" system:

Quote:

"New Books Notification Subscription

If you would like to subscribe to the New Approval Books Email Notifications for this seller, that are emailed once each day, press: "




rrr... would you have access to that data ?

Stevo
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rrraphy
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14 Mar 2016
11:12:05pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I don't, but maybe Tim knows the numbers.
rrr...

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Stevo45
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15 Mar 2016
05:45:09pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Quote:

""Any pros and cons with Australia stamp collecting? Would eBay be the prime source? And are there any good online stamp companies for Australia?""



People just keep buying from the expensive and risky place......

This from another forum just today - I think we need to know why a member would join up here and not "check here first"

Steve.
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Soundcrest
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16 Mar 2016
05:47:21am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I think it all depends on what your collecting needs are. I think if you are looking at higher catalog value stamps, and a member here, you may look here first and then check elsewhere. A quick check at the price range on the Australia books (without checking content) leads me to believe you are not finding a lot of Roos in those books. Ebay is vastly different than here. I would not call it expensive though. If you are selling there you should be competitive not only within the site but within the other sites (Delcampe,Bidstart) as well. What you cannot sell on ebay is stamps under a dollar. Delcampe charges a per stamp fee on a sale which weeds out the 5 and 10 cent stamps as well (though I do see some). It is a totally different group of collectors there. With the demise of Bidstart/SGM, buyers are going back to ebay. There is however no place else to go for inexpensive stamps for your collection than here.

Greg

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
16 Mar 2016
12:40:32pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I agree Greg. Few serious collectors would come here to buy or sell the more expensive stuff. And as far as stamp dealers are concerned, I doubt it very much.
This has one serious implication for the Club...we need to attract and retain active serious collectors who can contribute more than just selling and buying.

Advance collectors who are actively participating in Club activities would make a worthwhile contribution to the Club...above and beyond just selling and buying!
But first, we need to get them a reason to be here on a regular basis.
Which is one reason I believe that providing a superior platform to feature, buy and sell the more expensive and the rarer stamps is a worthwhile project to undertake. (when the time is right).
As a regular buyer on Ebay, Delcampe, Bitstart and here as well, I find Stamporama lacking for that purpose. For the more expensive material I need, I will usually start on the other commercial sites, and probably not even look here on Stamporama..(I don't find the system friendly for that purpose).
Yet I, like many other collectors, have a number of "better stamps" I would gladly part with, in the Club (I do not sell anywhere else), IF I had the right vehicle for them. I currently add some of them in the back of Approval books, and they do sell! Much better than Auctions, which have been a disappointment for me.
Which is why I have come to the realization that we could design and offer a better platform specifically designed for the higher valued and rarer material..one that would cater to the more advanced collectors.
If we design it from the ground up, not by copying existing sites, but by looking at what collectors (selling and buying) need and want, we could make a difference!
Let us be honest, other commercial sites are NOT that great! (how many things do you hate about them!)
This will undoubtedly bring in more serious collectors here, who will hopefully contribute more knowledge to the vast body of shared information we already have. Who knows, they may even motivate some collectors to specialize well beyond what they currently do. It is all for the fun of it! Something to work on, as soon as we are all content we are done with any final improvements to Approvals (fine tuning at this point, as most people would agree it is meeting most of its goals.

But this again is another topic...please stay on topic for suggestions to make Approvals "Better". ).

Meanwhile, here is another simple suggestion to make Approvals better. When you have a sale, the sale icon will appear for 3 days, then vanish. How about adding SALE to your title and adding some specific information about the sale on your Approval Book cover sheet...something like: "25% SALE as of xx/xx/xxx".

(As an aside, we also need to fix the sale icon problem that will show up when you accidentally make a price correction prior to activating the book. It should not display until the book has been active).
rrr....

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
30 Mar 2016
11:37:44am
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I have been having a ball lately on Approvals, especially with the books of NanaNancy on Spain, which I want to single out today.
I bring it up because these books are fabulous, from a buyer's point of view. Apart from the very low prices (thank you Nancy), the books are organized sequentially, each book covering about a decade, and having a fairly complete range of the available stamps for that era.
To fill the (many) gaps in my collection, it was such an easy process. Open my album, spot the gaps, go to the Approval Books and click on the stamp I wanted...voila!
Whether you collect Spain or not, take a look at the organization of Nancy's Spain books. It is really buyer friendly! she did not have to add Cat numbers, or year, as the sequentail approach took care of it all. Well done! Thumbs Up Applause One of the series of "better" books on Approvals!
rrr...

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
30 Mar 2016
12:24:15pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

NanaNancy - AWESOME BOOKS! So nicely scanned and displayed -the stamps are arranged so they are visible and easy to see. You're inspiring me to get busy and upload some books!

I don't collect Spain, but I have my fingers crossed that you'll do a few of the countries that I collect soon. You wouldn't happen to have any Scandinavia, Ireland, Austria or Venezuela perhaps? Hint hint! Big Grin



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Doe
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30 Mar 2016
02:13:11pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Quote:

"For example - I have sold over 5,000 items since July 2016 and purchased only 24 items since 2011 (20 of those just last week). I do not buy stamps to sell I'm just reducing the size of my collection and getting rid of duplicates."



Please, please, please take me for a ride in your time machine. I promise not to touch any buttons!
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mitoneu
30 Mar 2016
05:48:50pm

Approvals
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

My thoughts as a occasional seller and buyer.

I think that putting catalogue nrs on each stamp is quite time consuming (apart from the problem of choosing a catalogue, which potential buyers don´t have). In general the scan of the stamps should be enough to identify most of the stamps.

On the other hand, it should be desirable to have better identification for stamps that have several varieties not apparent form the scan (like the early numerals from Sweden which come with two different perforation sizes and with/without a blue crown on the back).

But all in all, I am quite happy how approvals work at present. I wouldn´t enforce any change. But suggestions should always be welcome.

All the best, Miguel (@ mitoneu)

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Stevo45
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31 Mar 2016
01:27:05am
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Quote:

"NanaNancy - AWESOME BOOKS! So nicely scanned and displayed -the stamps are arranged so they are visible and easy to see. You're inspiring me to get busy and upload some books!"



Nice images AND they fit the available real estate on my laptop, some other sellers either have a page image too wide or too slow to load for me..

For me, a pic under 1000px wide is only JUST ok and the file size needs to be about 600 kb or less otherwise it loads too slowly and I don't bother..

Cheers

Steve



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www.ebid.net/au/stores/Stevos-Stamps
rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
31 Mar 2016
01:03:12pm
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Scan SIZE and image QUALITY are both items I want you to think about, as we talk about making Approval Books better. I also ask for buyers feedback on what you like and dislike, as this is just one opinion.

Clearly SCANS ARE A KEY COMPONENT of what makes for better Approval books
Look at your scans after you import them. You can do better, with just a few added keystrokes of your program, or do you think they are perfect? Here are a few simple questions:


1.Do you clearly see the details of the stamps. If not, your quality is inadequate, and you need to adjust your scanner parameters, or use the photo editor program.
(I scan at higher resolution and then (using IrfanView) "image/resize" my picture to the maximum allowed by the SOR platform)
2.Do you see the whole width of the page on your screen or do you need to slide the picture to see it all. Adjusting your scan can correct that. Make sure the width fits a page. (I hate it, as a buyer when I have to keep shifting the image right and left to see the full width. It says, you need to adjust your picture, so check what your books feel like.)
3. Do you have a lot of blank spaces after you scan or do you crop your picture to size? (Here I "Edit/Crop Selection") to eliminate blank space and expand the viewed picture size.
4. How quickly does a page load when viewing it? Here again, scanner adjustments or picture manipulation will do wonders.

Now it may seem like a lot of work (it may be the first time you ever do it), but actually with practice it adds less than a few minutes per book to end up with a much better book. And as all sellers know, these few minutes are small potatos compared to the work it takes to put a book together, from stamp selection, organizing ordering the material, adding info(year, cat numbers or comments)..etc.., so add just a few minutes to improve your scans and get a superior book, with offers a much better experience for the buyer. Scan is the key!

Once more, for all the steady sellers here, I ask that you take a moment from time to time to look at what others are doing, and if you like what you see and want to emulate them, don't be shy to ask how it is done, privately or here on the bulletin board. It is another reason why I like to encourage sellers to buy from time to time..they may learn a few things...and equally for buyers to list a book with their duplicates, and learn from the selling experience. The selling and buying are integral parts of "TRADING", and this is what a Club is all about.

And for the buyers, please provide feedback. Without it, the sellers won't know how you feel.

rrr...

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
06 Apr 2016
02:32:10am
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I guess I fit into the "Buyer" category as I have a batting average of 0 for 6,230. You can probably make it the "cheap buyer" also as it will neither damage any delicate feelings nor change my habits. At one time, and for many years, I had more money than time and bought sets and collections at different auctions, but in recent years that has completely reversed itself.
I rely on what the scan shows and almost never pay any attention to whatever catalog number is attached. I simply pull out the appropriate album and see what fits. If there is an open space and it is inexpensive enough that if I make a mistake I'll not feel like a fool, I buy it.
So my first comment is about those scans. I hate adjusting the viewing size every time I turn a page, or sliding the image left and right to see what is on the fourth column. I also get neck pain when some stamps are lying flat left, others right and the rest usually upright. Such a gymnastic endeavor while holding a magnifier sometimes is a reason to skip the page or even the book.
(Aside)
In the auction there are a couple of sellers who must have some other range of vision as their scans are either dark to the point of invisibility or apparently were produced through dishwater. Clarity and visibility are essential. And one seller seems to think he is being charged by the square pixel as his scans are too small for me to bother with. I hope he reads this.
(End of aside)
I can understand adding some catalog number when it is needed to add clarity especially for issues that have multiple variants, but for the usual run of low value stamps it must be a labor of love as it adds little to my shopping experience.

".... Clubs all over the world have dealers as members, and they sell stamps at club meetings...."
Yes and in my opinion such clubs are a lot better than those who have strict agendas leading to what are often time consuming boring presentations that demand polite attention.
Having some members who only want to spread their wares about on a cyber-table for the rest to look at, is a boon. There are now somewhere around 800,000 distinct postage stamps available to collect and a very large percentage are worth but a minimal cost which is as we know is a small fraction of the elegant numbers listed in the major catalogs. So the approval books, as currently, constituted fill a need, allowing me and others to sit at home in the wee hours of the night picking and choosing whatever delights our curious desires.
If I ever figure out how to scan and size pages I may decide to enter several books myself full of less expensive duplicates so the simpler the approvals section is kept the more likely that will come to pass.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
06 Apr 2016
10:58:54am
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

Quote:

"In the auction there are a couple of sellers who must have some other range of vision as their scans are either dark to the point of invisibility or apparently were produced through dishwater. Clarity and visibility are essential. And one seller seems to think he is being charged by the square pixel as his scans are too small for me to bother with. I hope he reads this."



You wouldn't believe the excuses I get for people not providing good images. I guess they really don't want to sell, like those who over-price their "stuff". If we charged selling fees (an incrementally higher fee for each relist), I bet that they would stop being lazy, create good images and price appropriately so that their stuff would sell. As for reading these comments, I don't think they really care.
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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
06 Apr 2016
11:15:44am
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

I am thinking, as moderator, to write to sellers with scans that are in need of improvements, to suggest some corrective measures. Do you think that is going too far ( as moderator?). Other buyers could also make suggestions, privately, or is it stepping on some toes and out of bounds?
Rrr...

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
06 Apr 2016
11:32:29am
re: Steps to make your Approval Books "Better", and feedback from buyers requested.

It might be more effective coming from a potential buyer. Something like, "I might be interested in your lot, but I can't see it clearly." Maybe we need to have a "tips for buyers" section to enlist their help in making improvements such as this.


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