Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Atomic Avenue: Why Listing Your VF and NM Comics as VF–NM is a Good Idea


In the Sell dialog of the new ComicBase 10.1 and 11.1, there’s a couple of noteworthy options. The first is called “List VF and NM comics as condition “VF-NM” .” From my experience as a seller on Atomic Avenue, I’d have to say it’s one of the best things you can do to make yours and your customer’s lives easier. That said, it’s not without its downside, so make sure you read the whole tip:

Sell Comics


Back in the days of yore, a make-believe condition called VF–NM (read: VF through NM) was what made mail order work. Basically, it said that, “The comics you’re buying are going to look just like they came off the newsstand.” Most of the time, this meant they’d be in “Near Mint” condition, but there might also be certain very minor defects, such as color flecks along the spine, which would technically make the book “Very Fine” if graded strictly.

Make no mistake about it: condition is vitally important when selling a comic. And on Atomic Avenue, the firm rule is that the buyer has a right to expect the books you ship to be in the condition listed when they bought them—otherwise, they’ve got a legitimate beef with you. For that reason (as explained in the article “This Ain’t eBay: or: Why Your “Very Fine” Comic Better Really be Very Fine”) it’s a good idea to grade your books very conservatively when selling.

One easy way to buy yourself some breathing room is to check the “List VF and NM comics as condition VF-NM” box when you post your comics for sale. On more than one occasion, I’ve given the books someone bought a final check prior to boxing them up for shipment and discovered some bit of surface wear of diminished cover gloss on a book I’d myself catalogued as NM. This might have shot my credibility all to heck if the comics was sent labelled NM, but which was still within the bounds of VF. Of course, had I really overshot the mark on the grade, I could have cancelled the books in question off the order, but listing my NM books as VF–NM is usually all the slack I need to make sure everyone’s happy with the sale.

The downside of using this option is that a seller who feels their books really are in NM condition (and is willing to back it up) is likely to have a bit of a sales advantage by listing their NM books as being in NM. We don’t have enough market data to say for sure what, if any, difference this makes, but it’s reasonable to expect that if one top-rated seller were offering a NM copy of a book, and an equally top-rated seller listed theirs in VF-NM for the same price, the buyer would likely choose the NM copy.

That said, the best way to become a top-rated seller is to always deliver on your promises—and deliberately underpromising by using the “List VF and NM comics as Condition VF–NM” feature is a good way to make sure the buyer is happy with their purchase.