Homework (again)

Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 23 Apr 2013, 23:57

Back to my pet topic of watching how much these sell for. If I'm boring everybody to sleep, just say so and I'll stop!
A softcover 1997 ed just sold for $AU800 - that was the staring price, only 1 bid.
TWO hardback copies, from the same seller (he also had the softcover one), were passed in at $500 each, Buy-it-now price $550. These had both been previously listed at $550 with no takers.
At the moment we have the very rare non-NW edition
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/BIGGLES-DOES ... 53f7d40d7b
and one NW hardback
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/BIGGLES-DOES ... 53f7d41a9c
on offer.
There are 4 softcovers and 1 hardback on Abebooks, most at silly prices.

Do you think I should get a life?
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Fairblue » 24 Apr 2013, 06:46

Sizzling Sausages wrote:Back to my pet topic of watching how much these sell for. If I'm boring everybody to sleep, just say so and I'll stop!
Not boring it all, I love to see what goes on. Only wish I had the spondulicks to take part. (But NOT on this particular book, I'm afraid, still hate it.). :(

Sizzling Sausages wrote:Do you think I should get a life?
Not if it's Biggles :D


By the way, forgive my ignorance but what does NW edition mean? :roll:
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Vwmania » 24 Apr 2013, 06:54

Fairblue wrote: By the way, forgive my ignorance but what does NW edition mean? :roll:


NW is the abbreviation for Norman Wright editions, hope this explains it.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Fairblue » 24 Apr 2013, 06:57

Vwmania wrote:
Fairblue wrote: By the way, forgive my ignorance but what does NW edition mean? :roll:


NW is the abbreviation for Norman Wright editions, hope this explains it.

Yes, it does. I'm kicking myself for not thinking of that. :lol:
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Spitfire666 » 24 Apr 2013, 07:12

Sizzling Sausages wrote:At the moment we have the very rare non-NW edition

That one is pirated from the Norman Wright edition. They keep putting them on, saying there were only 30 copies ever produced, but have sold more than that, I think.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 24 Apr 2013, 08:11

Spitfire666 wrote:That one is pirated from the Norman Wright edition. They keep putting them on, saying there were only 30 copies ever produced, but have sold more than that, I think.


Thanks, I wondered what the story was with it. I must admit though, I like the way they made it look like an original series/edition book.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Spitfire666 » 24 Apr 2013, 08:21

Sizzling Sausages wrote:
Spitfire666 wrote:That one is pirated from the Norman Wright edition. They keep putting them on, saying there were only 30 copies ever produced, but have sold more than that, I think.

Thanks, I wondered what the story was with it. I must admit though, I like the way they made it look like an original series/edition book.

Yes, it does look more like the old books, and I prefer that. I had an email exchange with them once, after I bid on a copy but lost out, and the seller then contacted me, hoping to sell more, offering me a deal on Homework and Air Ace. He admitted he had pirated them.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby SaintedAunt » 24 Apr 2013, 08:30

Spitfire666 wrote:
Sizzling Sausages wrote:
Spitfire666 wrote:That one is pirated from the Norman Wright edition. They keep putting them on, saying there were only 30 copies ever produced, but have sold more than that, I think.

Thanks, I wondered what the story was with it. I must admit though, I like the way they made it look like an original series/edition book.

Yes, it does look more like the old books, and I prefer that. I had an email exchange with them once, after I bid on a copy but lost out, and the seller then contacted me, hoping to sell more, offering me a deal on Homework and Air Ace. He admitted he had pirated them.

Given the price, if they are selling them they must be making a lot of money! Actually, their price is somewhat unrealistic, given the current market. Homework has been going for less recently. I see they are located in The Netherlands...
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Simon Templar » 24 Apr 2013, 16:37

SS, you're not alone - I too keep an eye on prices, vainly hoping I may one day discover a buy it now of homework on ebay for £30.

We can but hope!

the pirate copies of Homework pop up on craiglist from time to time, generally for a 'mere' £200. That is fair, I suppose, compared to the outrageous prices that some booksellers charge for copies.

II'm all for the pirate copies - it drives the price down the more copies there are (albeit only 30 extra copies) , so that not only those either lucky enough to have bought a copy when HW was first published (i was way too young) or rich enough to spend £400 on a book will be able to read the holy grail of Biggles books.

The skyhigh prices charged (i know some poeple did pay a small fortune for them, but several book sellers bought at the original -and very reasonable- price of £19.50, then waited a few years before listing for £400), and the refusal of Johns' estate to publish more copies really annoy me. :kill: :kill:
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 24 Apr 2013, 22:53

The 'pirate' listing has just been ended 'because the item is no longer available'. It's actually the same seller who had it & the NW one I mentioned yesterday.

It's interesting that copies are now quite regularly being passed in at prices that only a year or so ago would've been considered quite cheap.
In fact, it's actually interesting just how often they come up for sale, given that there's only 600 or so official copies all up - I would've thought they'd all be safely squirreled away by collectors by now.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby SaintedAunt » 25 Apr 2013, 08:51

Sizzling Sausages wrote:The 'pirate' listing has just been ended 'because the item is no longer available'. It's actually the same seller who had it & the NW one I mentioned yesterday.

It's interesting that copies are now quite regularly being passed in at prices that only a year or so ago would've been considered quite cheap.
In fact, it's actually interesting just how often they come up for sale, given that there's only 600 or so official copies all up - I would've thought they'd all be safely squirreled away by collectors by now.

It's equally interesting that people are not buying at the 'lower' prices either. The number of people who are desperate for Homework is obviously not high, and once people notice prices are falling, they will wait, hoping they will fall lower! The 'pirates' will not be able to rake in the money so easily perhaps.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Simon Templar » 25 Apr 2013, 19:16

you'd think so, but there aren't that many collectors with that sort of money to spend just like that. Mostly, it's booksellers who have them, and list them at huge prices no one ever buys them at. The cheapest I ever remember a copy of Homework going for was £150 for the hardback NW edition. does anyone remember a copy selling for less (not including the prices NW originally sold them for)?
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 26 Apr 2013, 23:55

...and the copy listed the other day has just been relisted at the same price (400 pounds) after no takers.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Dover Patrol » 30 Apr 2013, 06:46

There was a softcover (1997) Homework that sold for 250 pounds a few weeks ago. There have been several copies of the hardcover since then (almost all unsold and more expensive)!
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby James » 01 May 2013, 13:27

I actually brought mine from Norman via ebay. Cost me £200 but I felt better paying it knowing the money was actually going to the person who did the (home)work. My copy is a defective one with a section printed upside-down. Think it adds to the character of an otherwise pretty dull book :D
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby von Zoyton » 01 May 2013, 13:51

i read the pdf, nice to tie up the loose ends
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 01 May 2013, 23:22

The 400 pound one didn't sell again, relisted at 350 pounds.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Jennifer » 02 May 2013, 10:52

I think it is very interesting how much people are prepared to pay for a book that was never completed and by all accounts is not up to the usual standard. I think the WEJ estate should have just let it rest and never given permission for it to be published at all. The very late books were nothing like as good as the earlier ones and the prices they go for are excessive. I found a paperback edition of The Gun Runners in a book fair last week for £16 which I thought was quite good.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 08 May 2013, 23:41

The 350 pound one (down from 400) still didn't sell.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 09 May 2013, 22:37

But he's persistent - now relisted at 375 pounds.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Fairblue » 10 May 2013, 06:49

Sizzling Sausages wrote:But he's persistent - now relisted at 375 pounds.
And optimisitic.I'm not sure I'd pay these silly prices e ven if I had the money. (But then, I suppose, it isBiggles, after all, so who know?) :roll:
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 16 May 2013, 23:56

The listing ended again without selling.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Jennifer » 17 May 2013, 09:51

It is beginning to look as though people are no longer prepared to pay silly money for this book - after all it is an unfinished work so you cannot read it as a complete story. WEJ executors thought it was weak and out of character and refused to publish it themselves. It is such a shame WEJ did not get to finish it.

I can never understand how a young mixed race boy was going to take over Biggles and Algy's jobs and be promoted above Ginger and Bertie who although junior to Biggles and Algy were by this time very experienced.

The trouble with these very late books is that WEJ was writing for young children in the 1960s as opposed to teenagers/young adults in the 1930s - 1950s which makes a great difference to the content of the books.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Spitfire666 » 17 May 2013, 10:12

Jennifer wrote:It is beginning to look as though people are no longer prepared to pay silly money for this book

Norman Wright recently priced up a lot of Biggles books for someone who wants to dispose of her husband's collection, and he put Homework in at £250 for both the softback and hardback editions. I think details will appear in the next BFA.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Fairblue » 17 May 2013, 13:31

Jennifer wrote:
I can never understand how a young mixed race boy was going to take over Biggles and Algy's jobs and be promoted above Ginger and Bertie who although junior to Biggles and Algy were by this time very experienced.
Well, I don't think Bertie would have cared to be in a postion of such responsibility and I'm sure his easy-going nature would have meant that he would have got on with whoever was in charge. Although having worked together for years I believe it's highly likely he may have retired from the service. I also think that he would have been indignant on Ginger's part.

Having read Homework, though, the impression 'I got (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that it wasn't actually mentioned that Mackay should take over from Biggles as Head of the /Air Section. I rather thought that he was joining with a view to being a member as the start of the expansion of the Air Police. But then, I've never liked the book, finding it weak, so please feel free to pick holes in my arguments. :D
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Jennifer » 17 May 2013, 13:42

I have not read Homework although I have read a lot about it. What you say makes much more sense. It may even have been possible that Biggles was to carry on behind the scenes and let the new young recruit do the action sequences. I think in his own mind WEJ must have realised Biggles and Algy were far too old for active service but I think by then WEJ had run out of ideas and he most certainly would not have known much about modern aviation although there was very little flying in the later books.

Even in books like Noble Lord he had Bertie and Ginger following a pilot and being spotted - they would have had far too much experience by then to let that happen.

I do agree that Bertie would have probably retired as well - I do not think he would want the responsibility and he often said he did not need to work. Ginger's character had been watered down so much by then that I do not think he would have been much good in command although when he was younger he would taken on anything and given it his best shot.
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Fairblue » 17 May 2013, 13:49

Jennifer wrote: It may even have been possible that Biggles was to carry on behind the scenes and let the new young recruit do the action sequences.


There was mention in Homework that Biggles would stay on in an advisory capacity, so that would fit. After all, even in modern police work when they work in pairs the younger of the two usually does the chasing. :D
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Jennifer » 17 May 2013, 14:16

Just another thought Fairblue - I like your new signature quote from Works It Out - it shows very clearly how much Ginger admires Bertie :D
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Fairblue » 17 May 2013, 18:48

Jennifer wrote:Just another thought Fairblue - I like your new signature quote from Works It Out - it shows very clearly how much Ginger admires Bertie :D


:thanks: Jennifer, I like it for that reason,too. and also, it shows how excellent a shot Bertie is :D
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Re: Homework (again)

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 18 May 2013, 23:29

That copy has been relisted yet again at 375 pounds.
It's interesting - there's quite a lot of Norman Wright editions, both the newer hardback Biggles ones and the older, softback non-Biggles ones listed on Ebay at the moment. One person in Australia has listed several of both types, all at a starting price of $AU50 (about 32 pounds at the moment - the dollar is falling - yikes!), and all have at least one bid with a couple of days to go.
Others are listed by different sellers at prices ranging from around 80 to over 250 pounds. None have any bidders or offers. Three in particular have just spent a 30 day listing with no offers and been automatically renewed for another 30 at the same prices. Plus this copy of Homework that must be up to its 4th or 5th listing by now.

Regarding the conversation about what Johns intended with Homework, my sense of it is that it was indeed meant to be the last novel. Maybe he meant to do what Agatha Christie intended with Poirot and Marple - write the final story and have it published after his death (from memory both Christie stories ended up being published before her death anyway). Given that he already had a backlog of novels when he died he might have had a rough publishing schedule in mind, with Homework to bring the saga to some sense of finality - Biggles' ongoing role could well have been left open to interpretation so readers didn't think there was an absolute cut-off point.
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