Covering The Spread 38: Predicting The Market

Hello CBSI and welcome back to Covering the Spread!  I previously wrote an article talking about trends in how the market prices books that I really enjoyed.  Today I wanted to expand on that and discuss some other indicators that I think can help predict price movement in books, as well as recommend a few books based on those indicators.

Availability

One of the biggest indicators of where the price of the book is headed.  There is a lot of discussion in the community about print runs but I always thought that this was short sighted.  Print runs are relevant of course, you cannot buy copies that don't exist, but what really matters is the supply.  That's hows many copies are out there for you to buy.  How can you use this to your advantage?  I'll show you:

Y: The Last Man 1

This is a book that has a lot going for it right now.  In the article I mentioned before this book would be in the “Production Lull”.  My favorite time to buy.  We already got our casting news as well as our two showrunners.  My one concern at this point would be that the Disney/Fox deal causes some problems with production but it is more likely than not this show is being made.

But what about the supply?  MCS only has graded copies available, all of them commission.  Mile High has a VF copy that is priced at almost 2 times as much as a NM copy goes for on eBay.  Ever other major store is sold out.  As for eBay? There are 0 NM raw copies.  Not.  A.  One.

So what does that mean?  Well I think most of these issues are already in the hands on collectors.  If you aren't seeing them for sale as big online retailers it means that either no one is sending it in with their collections, or they are being bought up whenever they become available.  Both of those are good signs for the book.  As for eBay, that means whoever lists one next gets to name their price.  Which probably means the price is about to go up.

So with all that in mind let's take a look at where we are right now with this book.

Without Pressing:

Average Raw Price 172.50
10 Copies 1725
Shipping Fees (EST) 100
Grading Fees (EST) 180
Selling Fees 372.40
Total Costs 2377.40

 

9.8 Av Price 9.6 Av Price 9.4 Av Price 9.2  Price
805 329 224 231
2 Copies 3 Copies 4 Copies 1 Copy Total Value
1610 987 896 231 3724

Without pressing I estimate upfront costs of $2005 and profits of $1346.60.  That's a nice spread of +134.66 and an ROI of 67%.  Pretty darn nice numbers if I do say so myself.  There are already great returns to be made here, but we will see even bigger returns once a trailer for the show is released.  Not to mention the effects of everything else I just mentioned.

With Pressing:

Average Raw Price 172.50
10 Copies 1725
Shipping Fees (EST) 100
Grading Fees (EST) 180
Pressing Fees (EST) 120
Selling Fees 450.80
Total Costs 2575.80

 

9.8 Av Price 9.6 Av Price 9.4 Av Price
805 329 224
3 Copies 5 Copies 2 Copies Total Value:
2415 1645 448 4508

With pressing I expect an upfront investment of $2125 and profits of $1932.20.  That's a beautiful spread of +193.22 and an ROI of almost 91%.  I don't think I have to tell you all how much I like those numbers.  If you can find a nice copy under $250 I'd highly recommend it.

Demand

Well if we are going to talk about the Supply side of things we have to talk about demand.  It doesn't matter how rare a book is, or how great the cover is if no one wants to buy it.  Seeing copies fly off eBay is generally a sign that prices are going to head upward.  To be honest this is probably the biggest way I pick books to talk about for my article.  I love finding books that people aren't talking about but sometimes it's nice to just kick back and enjoy the wave.  However as I've mentioned in the past, demand on it's own is not enough to make me interested in a book.

Let's take a look at an example:

Omega Men 3

The first appearance of Lobo is something that has plenty of demand, and probably always will.  39 graded copies have sold in the last 28 days according to the Comic Collateral.  That means about 1.4 graded copies are being sold every day.  There's no shortage of raw sales either as I saw when I was gathering data for this article.  So how does this one stack up as an investment?

Average Raw Price 51.28
10 Copies 512.84
Shipping Fees (EST) 100
Grading Fees (EST) 180
Selling Fees 116.40
Total Costs 909.24

 

9.8 Av Price 9.6 Av Price 9.4 Av Price 9.2  Price
235 108 75 70
2 Copies 3 Copies 4 Copies 1 Copy Total Value
470 324 300 70 1164

For these I estimate an upfront investment of $792.84 and profits of $254.76.  That would be a spread of +25.45 and an ROI of 32%.  Not quite as exciting as Y: The Last Man.  Why?  Well like I said demand is great, but if there are plenty of copies it won't matter.  MCS has 8 copies available plus another 33 on commission.  As already mentioned eBay is full of copies.  26 by my count although many of them are well over twice the average sold price.

My main point here is that demand is a good thing, it's just not the only thing you should be looking at.

Buzz

The other big factor to consider when looking at a book for investment is the public sentiment towards the book.  The “buzz” if you will.  The more people are talking about that book the more likely it is to sell.  This one can be harder to analyze, but there are a few good ways to do it.  The Comic Collateral App tracks news stories written about certain books or characters.  Following the CBSI MeWe and Facebook pages are a great way to see what people are talking about.  However my favorite way is to watch the pickups pages.  If you see people bragging about picking up a book you know that other collectors are actively looking for it.  This is another great sign that the prices are headed upward.

Wrap Up

Well everyone that's all I've got for you this week.  What do you think about these methods for predicting the market?  Do you watch what books retailers have available, or the pickups pages?
Let me know in the comments section and I'll see you all next time!

3 comments

  • Avatar

    With the Rock and Mamoa already cast in the DCFU I feel like Lobo is up in the air. I loved Aquaman, but talk about being born to play a roll.

  • Avatar

    I notice that in both of these examples and generally speaking the price difference between 9.8 and 9.6 is huge for modern books. I also notice that in almost all cases buying 10 raw 9.8s and then grading them would be hugely profitable. So in my mind the real question is how you ensure the raw book you are buying is a 9.8.

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