This book, also part of O'Reilly's "Hacks" series, is an advanced guide consisting of 100 different "hacks" which are tips for using the web's premiere online auction site - eBay. Few websites are as simultaneously simple and complex as eBay is these days and this book does a marvelous job of explaining how to get the most out of buying and selling on eBay.
Its easy to see that Mr. Karp has earned his eBay stripes through many auctions. He presents excellent explainations of not just the mechanics of eBay's bidding process, but the psychologies involved on both ends of the transaction. I was immediately impressed by his intimate and up-to-date knowledge of eSnipe.com, one of the most powerful automatic bidding tools online. eSnipe has gone through some extensive changes in the past couple of years, and most of the references I've seen just don't mention them. They most often omit the fact that the service is no longer free. Mr. Karp also explains when sniping can help and hurt you - something most new users will only be able to learn through experience.
There are not as many programming hacks in this book as there are in the other books in this series from O'Reilly, but they are impressive nonetheless. I am anxious to try the "watching" script soon. I use eBay's own watching service, but its not quite as versatile as I'd like. There are a couple of cool hacks that use the eBay and PayPal API's that will certainly be useful to programmers with the auction itch.
If you're a seriously addicted eBay user, you're going to learn a lot more with this book than you expect. The section on searches is priceless. I also thought the information on international transactions, shipping issues, and scams were top-notch. I can't think of a better gift for the eBayer on your shopping list.
Rainbo Electronic Reviews published this review in our November, 2003 issue.
See our reviews of recent works from O'Reilly that you might enjoy:
Google Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools
by Tara Calishain, Rael Dornfest
Riches abound here for the aspiring web programmer who's interested in integrating Google services into their website…[more]
See our current Computer Books reviews.