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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 8 March 2010
The Guide has been around for a few years now - I was made aware of it when they first reviewed my blog in the 2008 edition. It's an odd sort of publication: it looks like a magazine, both in size and in layout, but definitely has a bookish price tag.

The Guide bills itself as "The Essential Guide to Buying and Selling | How to make SERIOUS money on eBay" (that latter seems a bit close to the title of Dan Wilson's book, doesn't it?). I don't know what's happened to it over the last 12 months, but where before it felt patchy, unfinished, almost as though it were written by someone who'd never used eBay but knew how to write a how-to book, this year it's turned into something a lot more useful.

Mostly this is a guide for sellers, aimed probably at those who've sold a couple of personal items but want to sell more, or who are considering going pro. The two longest chapters are "Introductory Selling" and "Advanced Selling", which cover all the basics, with extensive sections on what can go wrong and how to deal with it, and auction management for people who look at their ever-filling inbox and freak out. There are numerous case studies on sellers who are "already doing it" - from running an eBay business alongside your B&M shop, to (intriguingly) a seller who's quitting online retail and advises others to do the same.

There's more. There's the inevitable "how to buy on eBay" chapter, which in a "how to sell" book is almost entirely pointless: I'll forgive this one because it jumps on my own favourite bandwagon, asking why eBay has no proper shopping cart. There's a chapter on PayPal and alternative payment methods, and another on eBay competitors which runs through the basics of selling on Amazon and PlayTrade. There's a useful "Reviews Directory" of eBay-related software which even experienced sellers might find worth a look.

The magazine format has one huge thing to recommend it: colour pictures. And there are a lot, mainly in the form of screenshots which walk you through how to set up an eBay shop or take a decent photograph, or even how to list on Amazon marketplace.

If you're a seller newish to eBay, this is worth getting: it pretty much covers the basics, it's reasonably entertaining and the format is easy to dip in and out of, especially as it's peppered with "memorable auction" boxes highlighting some of the more unusual listings in eBay's history, and website reviews, suggesting places you can get further help and information. If you're a seller who's already running a full-time business and knows what they're doing, on the other hand, there's very little here you don't already know - and anything you need to check, you'd be better doing online where the information is bang up to date.
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