An Interview with Marie Gervais of Marygold Books on eBay

If you've ever searched eBay for children's books in French, you have probably come across titles listed by Marygoldbooks. Marie Gervais is the seller behind that handle, and she's been selling children's books in French on eBay since 2002. She's sold over 6,000 items and yet she has virtually perfect feedback ratings from buyers. Want to know where she finds all those French books? Keep reading--here's my interview with Marie in English along with her French responses:

  Photo by  Fabrice Clerc

Photo by Fabrice Clerc

How did you get into the bookselling business and why do you focus on books for children in French?

My niece has lived in the U.S. for several years and it's very difficult for her to find books in French for her children. During my travels in the U.S. I, too, noticed the same problem. There are many parents who want to meet the [literary] needs of their children who are studying French in school.

Ma nièce vit aux États-Unis depuis quelques années et c'est très difficile pour elle de trouver des livres en français pour ses enfants.  Lors de mes voyages aux E-U, j'ai aussi l'opportunité de vérifier que cette situation était celle de nombreux parents qui désirent répondre aux besoins de leurs enfants qui étudient le français comme langue seconde à l'école.

Pomme D'Api magazines for ages 3-7 currently listed by Marygoldbooks on eBay

Where do you get all of your French children's books?

I seek to offer used books in good condition. Because of this, I obtain my books through a variety of bookstores and church sales. I'm always on the lookout for new sources.

J'ai le souci d'offrir des livres en bon état tout en n'étant pas neufs.  Je me suis donc constitué tout un réseau de bouquineries, de ventes d'église ou de paroisses.  Je suis toujours à l'affut de nouvelles adresses.

Who are some of your favorite French or Canadian authors for children? Do you have a favorite series or publisher?

  Babar & ses amis en forêt,  currently listed  by  Marygoldbooks  on eBay

Babar & ses amis en forêt, currently listed by Marygoldbooks on eBay

I trust the publishing houses--whether Canadian, French, or Belgian--that have acquired a solid reputation for the quality of their text and illustrations.  I'm also delighted when I discover small publishing houses that care to publish quality literary works.

Je fais confiance aux maisons d'édition tant canadiennes que françaises ou belges qui ont acquis une solide réputation pour la qualité de la langue de même que pour les illustrations. J'ai aussi parfois de belles surprises quand je découvre de petites maisons d'édition qui ont le souci d'offrir des œuvres de qualité. 

What should potential buyers know about you and about the books you sell? 

I have a decent amount of experience teaching 6-12 year olds. In addition, I have been selling items on eBay for more than ten years and the comments that I receive demonstrate the pride that I have in satisfying my clients.

J'ai une solide expérience d'enseignante auprès des 6-12 ans.  Je suis vendeuse sur eBay depuis plus de 10 ans et les commentaires que je reçois démontrent la fierté que j'ai de satisfaire mes clients.

How do you determine your pricing?

Primarily, based on the price that I paid for the item myself.

Principalement d'après le prix que je le paie moi-même.

  Vintage comic book by Hergé  currently listed  by  Marygoldbooks  on eBay

Vintage comic book by Hergé currently listed by Marygoldbooks on eBay

Why do you choose to provide free shipping on all of your titles?

Here in Canada, the shipping costs are significant. We don't have "media mail" pricing, and when packages cross the border between Canada and the U.S., the delay and cost is significant--often more than the sales price for a package of books. As a result, I decided several years ago to cross the border once a week to ship the books from inside the U.S. (This trip is more than 50 miles.) I offer free shipping as a gift to my clients!

Ici, au Canada, les frais de poste sont importants.  Nous n'avons pas de "media mail" et comme les colis doivent passer la frontière Canada-États-Unis, les délais et les coûts sont importants, souvent plus que je prix de vente d'un lot.

J'ai donc décidé, il y a quelques années, d'aller moi-même une fois par semaine poster les colis aux États-Unis, ce qui représente un déplacement de plus de 50 milles. J'offre aussi le "free shipping" en cadeau à mes clients!

  Photo by Alix Marnat

Photo by Alix Marnat

What suggestions do you have for parents and teachers looking to buy French children's books online?

To make a good book choice, I advise buyers to thoroughly read the item description and to verify the vocabulary used (based on photos of the book's pages) so the child will have the pleasure of reading a book that corresponds with his or her reading level and level of language comprehension. If the book also covers topics that interest him or her (animals, nature, science, etc.), it's a winner! He or she will have the desire to read it!

Afin de faire un bon choix, je conseille acheteurs de bien lire la description de l'item, de vérifier, sur les photos des pages intérieures du volume, quel est le vocabulaire employé afin que l'enfant ait du plaisir à lire un livre qui correspond à son niveau de lecture et de compréhension de la langue.  Si en plus, le livre aborde des thèmes qui intéressent l'enfant (les animaux, la nature, les sciences...), c'est gagné! Il ou elle aura le goût de le lire!

  Livre à moi-même by  Brice Favre

Livre à moi-même by Brice Favre

Aren't you glad to know Marie has so many French children's books available for sale?! I'd agree with her that there is a shortage of children's books in French available here in the U.S.  I'm not a frequent eBay buyer, but I've bought books from Marygoldbooks on eBay on several occasions over the past few years. I hope Marie continues to sell books until my children are grown because she seems to maintain a variety of titles that I haven't come across elsewhere.

This is not a sponsored post; I simply wanted to learn more about Marie and her wonderful books--and to share this information with you.