If you've never used eBay before you'd be silly to do so without first picking up 'The eBay Survival Guide' by Michael Banks. Even if you've been using the auction site for years you will also benefit from the information found in this book.
'The eBay Survival Guide' starts out, not surprisingly, with an overview and history of online auctions and of eBay itself. It then moves on to how the site works and also provides some great tips and techniques for finding items you want. Even though I've been using eBay since 1999 I found it interesting to go back to the beginning and get an overall sense of what's really happening on one of the biggest sites on the internet.
The next major section of the book is geared toward those people who are using the site to sell things. That brings up a point worth mentioning. This book is for both sellers and buyers on eBay. It's a 'survival guide' for all users, not just a "how to make lots of money on eBay" book. I'll look at the section for buyers in a minute. The section for sellers includes suggestions for creating better listings, when to relist items, how to deal with problems that may arise and so on. It's loaded with screenshots, so you're not just reading about eBay you're seeing what things will look like when you use the real site. I think a great many sellers would benefit from reading Chapter 10 called, "How To Create Listings That Sell". Banks points out the many pluses that come with writing effective descriptions and titles for your auction items.
Next comes the section for buyers. Again there are lots of screenshots that really help bring the examples to life. And there are more than just a few examples. The book is obviously written from a great deal of personal experience not just clinical research. Banks' anecdote about the historic airplane photograph and negative (page 186) is proof of this. In presenting it he helps illustrate best practices for bidding, outbidding and sniping. Here's an area where I had some experience but again felt that the book either reinforced some of the things I already knew (making me feel more confident in bidding) or suggested things I should be doing but wasn't (like spending more time researching other bidders).
Near the end of the book he discusses how not to get ripped off using eBay and in doing so exposes some of the uglier sides of the site. This is important information though and helps buyers and sellers better understand what can go wrong and how to avoid it.
Throughout the book Banks writes in a clear easy-to-understand style that feels like a friend sitting down to explain eBay to you. Despite the fact that the guide is about an internet website it feels not at all like a computer textbook. Its short concise sections make finding the information easy and learning from it even easier. You should find it easy to pick up the book and skip to whatever section is currently most relevant to your eBay activities. The well-written index also helps you to find the help you need quickly.
Whether you're new to eBay or not and no matter whether you're buying or selling it's a sure bet that "The eBay Survival Guide: How to Make Money and Avoid Losing Your Shirt" will help you get the most out of online auctions. Highly recommended.