EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 103 - September 21, 2003 - ISSN 1528-6703     8 of 9

Book Review: eBay Hacks - 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools

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In "eBay Hacks" from O'Reilly & Associates publishing, author David A. Karp provides tools and strategies to master eBay. "eBay Hacks" is not a hand-holding guide, rather, it gives readers an insider's view of buying and selling on eBay.

The book covers a wide range of topics, from monitoring the bidding process, getting refunds, and fixing photos so that sale items look their best, to in-depth tips for running a business on eBay

You can always expect good content from O'Reilly & Associates publications: it's computer-geek approved. And "eBay Hacks" is as satisfying as their other titles.

The challenge for readers is that the book is great for reference, but you'll miss out on some great tips if you don't consciously spend time reviewing it. I suggest going to the Table of Contents, picking a chapter, and spending some time with it. You'll be able to skim much of it, but pick up the jewels that you may not have known or given much thought. Once you've gone through one chapter, you'll likely keep going.

So what are hacks, anyway? According to the book, "hacks" are quick-and-dirty solutions to programming problems or interesting techniques for getting a task done. While the whole book has useful "hacks," the computer geeks will benefit from the last chapter, "The eBay API."

eBay developed an API program for developers, and now it has one for individuals. If you are handy with programming and like to tinker, you will benefit from reading Chapter 8 of eBay Hacks. You can write scripts that automate some of the most tedious tasks. (If you don't, stick with the eBay listing tools provided by eBay and third-party vendors.)

Another nice thing about this book: as sellers, we tend to get stuck in a certain way of thinking about transactions. It's good to be presented with buyer tips to remind us of buyers' concerns. You see the word "diplomacy" in this book. Smart buyers and sellers know it's much better to be diplomatic when confronted with a problem, even when you know you are right.

You can see all 100 hacks, with the fulltext of some of them (including "Controlling Fuzzy Searches," "Take Advantage of Bid Increments," and "Selling and Shipping Internationally):

ISBN 0-596-00564-4
331pages, $24.95 US, $38.95 CA, 17.50 UK

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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