As I’m sure you know, eBay can be an awesome marketplace to buy comic books to add to your collection. For me as a comic collector, there’s no better feeling than finding a high grade comic at a price that is below what others have been paying for that same comic in the same condition.
But unless you have endless hours to spend refreshing your eBay searches, more often than not you’re going to miss out on the comics that are priced below market. You know, the ones you’d snatch up in a heartbeat if you only knew that it was just listed.
In this blog post, I’m going to share a secret little trick with you. A trick that I’ve successfully used to buy comics that are currently in high demand, but managed to buy well below their market value. I’m confident that this trick will work for you too, regardless of the item you’re looking for.
IFTTT + EBAY FTW!
There’s a website out there that I’ve been using for years now, called IFTTT (If This, Then That). It’s a nifty little app that gives you the ingredients you need to make powerful web applets by creating simple IF/THEN statements. By giving you the ability to connect to hundreds of different services, you can program IFTTT to execute various tasks across websites and apps.
If you’ve never heard of IFTTT, here are a few examples of applets that I’ve created and use today….
- IF I favorite something on Twitter, THEN save a link to that tweet in a Google Sheet.
- IF I post a new picture to my Instagram, THEN save a copy of it in Google Drive.
- IF I update my Facebook Profile Picture, THEN update my Twitter Profile Picture as well.
- IF it is going to snow tomorrow, THEN send me a text message.
It wasn’t until recently that it occurred to me that I might be able to use IFTTT to help me find the comics I’m looking for at good prices. Luckily, IFTTT has a basic integration with eBay, so creating applets to alert you when a specific comic is listed is a piece of cake!
Before I walk you though how I set up IFTTT to work with eBay, I’d just thought I’d share a few personal results from using IFTTT with eBay.
Darth Vader #1 Mark Brooks 1:50 Variant
When I first saw this awesome variant cover for Darth Vader #1 (and Uncanny X-Men #145 cover swipe) appear for pre-order on eBay, I knew I just had to have it. However the sellers that were listing it were asking $50 and I just wasn’t ready to put down $50 for a comic that wasn’t even out yet. So I decided to wait until the comic was actually released to see what would happen. I figured that $50 asking price was just the, I gotta have this price, and the market would soften up after it released.
Not so much.
After the comic came out, prices started to go up and up. I watched over a dozen auctions close for this comic at a price point over $75, making me really wish I just would have had bought it for $50 when I had the chance.
I then started doing daily searches for this particular comic, and couldn’t find anything close to $50. There weren’t any auctions going and all the Buy It Now listings were priced at $70 and above, plus shipping.
It was the frustration of really wanting to buy this comic at a reasonable price, and the regret of not buying when I had the chance that led me to actively seek a better, more automated, way to find out when a particular comic was listed on eBay.
In less that 24 hours of setting up my IFTTT applet, I was able to snag this comic in near-mint condition for $50, well below the market value at the time. While I was happy that this worked, I wanted to test it again with another issue I was actively hunting to see if this would work repeatedly, or if I just got lucky.
Avenging Spider-man #9
Here’s another example of a comic that’s been highly collectible of late, featuring the first appearance of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel. Ever since it was announced that there was going to be a Captain Marvel movie, demand for this book has increased, as well as the selling prices.
When I first decided I’d like to have a copy or two of this for the comic shop, I started regularly checking eBay but once again was turned off by the average asking price of $60-$75 for a near-mint copy. But now that I had setup IFTTT, I was ready to do another test run to see if I could turn up this issue at a below market price.
Once again, in less than 24 hours after creating the IFTTT applet that scanned new eBay listings for this comic, I was alerted to a fresh listing containing Avenging Spider-Man #9 in NM condition for $40 with free shipping!
After quickly inspecting the pictures to confirm its condition, I hit that Buy It Now button and locked it up before anyone else could.
Then once I received the comic, I shipped it off to CGC for grading and I’m happy to report that it came back graded in 9.4 near mint condition!
New Avengers #8 (Vol 3.)
And then the last example is a comic that’s really fresh and became the catalyst for me to take the time to write this blog post. At D23 it was announced that the Black Order – consisting of Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian – will help Thanos wreak havoc in the 2018 movie, Avengers: Infinity War.
Soon after this was announced, eBay started to become flooded with New Avengers #8 (Volume 3) featuring the first appearance of the Black Order. Being a total fanboy, I figured I could snag this issue for less than $10 shipped, but apparently I underestimated supply and demand variables for this comic.
As of this writing, near-mint issues of New Avengers #8 are selling in the $25-$40 range, with some less than savory sellers throwing $80 Buy It Now listings out there hoping to take some extra cash out of unsuspecting collectors.
Once again, I set up my little IFTTT applet to alert me whenever someone listed an issue of New Avengers #8. This time it took a little over one day, but pretty quickly I was alerted to a fresh listing for a VF/NM copy for just $12.95 plus $5 shipping. Less than half the price of what others had been paying the past few days.
SETUP IFTTT AND EBAY
By now you’re probably pretty excited about getting IFTTT setup for yourself, and why wouldn’t you be? I’ve found it to be the most effective way to buy the comics you want at a price you can afford. To recap, here’s what I bought and the estimated savings
- Darth Vader #1 Variant: Bought for $50, current average selling price $70
- Avenging Spider-Man #9: Bought for $40, current average selling price $60
- New Avengers #8: Bought for $18, current average selling price $30
Just in these three comics alone I was able to save more that $50. Not too shabby if you ask me. Ok, so here’s what you need to do to get started using IFTTT to help you find the comics you’re looking for on eBay today!
Before you begin, go to IFTTT.com and sign up for an account. Once you’re signed up, you’ll need to download the iOS or Android IFTTT App and sign in to that as well.
Setup Your IFTTT Trigger
To get things started, first you need to tell IFTTT what trigger you’d like to setup.
- Login to your account.
- Click My Applets in the item in the main navigation menu.
- Click the ‘New Applet’ button.
- Click the blue THIS button, and then select your service.
- Type ‘ebay’ in the search bar, and then click the eBay logo.
- Follow the onscreen prompts to ‘connect’ your eBay account to IFTTT. This only has to be done once.
- Select your Trigger. With eBay, you are only given one option, “New item from search’.
- Enter your search terms i.e. Avengers #57.
- Enter your max price i.e. $250 (this is optional. If you don’t put in a max price, you’ll be alerted with each new listing).
Setup Your IFTTT ACTION
- Click the blue THAT button and select your action service.
- Type ‘notification’ in the search bar and select the notifications icon.
- Follow the onscreen prompts to ‘connect’ notifications in the IFTTT App.
- Select your Action. With Notifications, you are only given one option, “Send notification from the IFTTT app”.
- On the next screen, click the “Create Action” button.
- Lastly, review the semantics of your applet, and if all looks well click the “Finish” button.
It looks like a lot of instructions, but these applets come together pretty quickly once you have the hang of it. Once your applets are set up, IFTTT will automatically scan the eBay API every 15 minutes and run a check to see if there are any new listings that match the criteria entered above. If there is, then you’ll get a notification from the IFTTT app that will include a direct link to that new listing.
With each new notification, you’ll be given the direct link to that listing. You can then tap/click the link and inspect the freshly listed comic for yourself. If it’s a Buy It Now listing and meets your standards for condition, buy it before someone else does!
So there you go folks, that’s how you use IFTTT and eBay to find the comics you want at prices that are below market. It has worked for me, and can work for you too!
Give it a try yourself, and if you have any questions feel free to post them in the comment section below. Happy hunting!