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Preface > How This Book Is Organized

How This Book Is Organized

This book goes beyond the instruction page to the idea of "hacks"—tips, tricks, and techniques you can use to make your experience with eBay more profitable, more fun, less exasperating, and (if you enjoy such things) more challenging.

On a daily basis, eBay users assume many different roles: consumer, seller, technical support specialist, diplomat, teacher, nuisance, application developer, nuclear safety inspector, web designer, and, of course, hacker. With that in mind, the hacks (and chapters) in this book are divided into four main sections.

Hacks for All

Chapter 1, Diplomacy and Feedback

Feedback in the eBay world is like credit in the real world: you use it to buy and sell things, you build it up over a long time, and you protect it like a first-born child. This chapter introduces eBay's feedback system and describes the many different ways to maintain a good feedback profile and use it to inspire trust in others.

Hacks for Buyers

Chapter 2, Searching

The only way to find anything on eBay is by searching, either by typing keywords into search boxes or by browsing through category listings. The hacks in this chapter describe how to find auctions before anyone else does, focus your searches with a variety of tools, and even create an automated search robot.

Chapter 3, Bidding

This chapter explains both how bidding is supposed to work, and how it actually works in the real world. It also discusses how you can use eBay's proxy bidding system to improve your win rate while spending less money.

Hacks for Sellers

Chapter 4, Selling

The beauty of eBay is that anything you buy can be sold, sometimes for more than you paid for it. This chapter shows the strategies involved with selling, such as which listing upgrades work best, how to promote your items without spending extra money, how to format your listings with HTML and JavaScript, and how to protect yourself from deadbeat bidders.

Chapter 5, Working with Photos

Photos can make or break an auction. This chapter shows you not only how to take good pictures and put them in your auctions, but also includes specific code you can use for cool presentations.

Chapter 6, Completing Transactions

The hacks in this chapter will give you the selling tools to help receive payments, ship your packages, and protect yourself while doing it.

Chapter 7, Running a Business on eBay

If selling on eBay is your full-time job (or if you just wish it were), the tools in this chapter will help you sell more in less time and with less effort. Streamline listing creation, communications, and checkout, and make more money while you're at it.

Hacks for Developers

Chapter 8, The eBay API

To the delight of anyone interested in hacking, eBay's API lets developers write applications to communicate directly with the eBay servers. But it's not just for developers—anyone with a computer or web server and a little time to learn Perl can write (and use) quick-and-dirty scripts to search, retrieve auction information, leave feedback, and much more.

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