Until a couple of months ago I don’t think I’d ever bought anything on eBay and in the past couple of months I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on a couple of items including a computer and am very happy with the purchases.

Now I think I’ve got the eBay bug! I’ve been wanting a digital audio recorder for a while, so I’m sitting on a bidding game for one on eBay just now – an hour to go.

I’d previously steered clear of eBay, probably because I did not see myself as much of an auction bidding type. But now I’m learning to work out who else is in the market today for one of these, what they’ve previously bid, whether they are hardened eBayers or newbies, etc, all from information readily available on the site.

And I’ve become aware that there is a whole tribe of people who actually run their businesses on eBay, including, presumably, a lot of home based businesses. Where else, when you think about it, could you start a global business, with virtually no overheads, from stuff you’ve got in your back room?

I mean, there was this guy on tv the other morning, one of the presenters, who admitted with a bit of discomfort but also a certain bravado, that he’d paid I think it was $45 on eBay for a piece of coal brought up from the wreck of the Titanic.

But the aggregate of transactions is amazing – some $34 billion in 2004. For that bit of information and lots more I’m indebted to my friend Phil Dunn, who sent me a copy of the book he co-authored with Janell Elms and Amy Balsbaugh, The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing, which I mentioned in a July 19 post here.

I finished the book last night, earlier than I had expected. I was expecting it might be heavy going for me as I know so little about eBay. What I found was that it is an excellent read, packed with information and ideas, not only about eBay, but about business generally.

It may be a character defect, but I usually get bored rigid by books on setting up a business, marketing basics and so on, but this book had me absorbed from go to whoa! It’s certainly quite fascinating about eBay and the possibilities for various businesses there, and it’s a great little manual on the basics of business, from a *really* practical approach to doing a business plan to a really clear, succinct explanation of how using different colour combinations will tell different stories about your business.

Is the book accurate on eBay issues? I wouldn’t know. Is it interesting for people who want to understand eBay better and an excellent introduction to business practicalities and a good refresher for people already in business? Definitely.

Will I get a commission if you click through to Amazon from the link above or in the sidebar? Yes, I should manage a cup of instant coffee from it, or if that bothers you, just go to Amazon directly.

It seems that the audio version is at Dymocks in Australia (and I don’t even get a coffee if you click on that mention). How they can have the audio but not the print version is more than a bit mystifying for me, but don’t get me started on the book trade and their shenanigans. And while there is not a huge number of illustrations in the book, I do think the information in the book is sufficiently ‘chewy’ for it to be better read, at least first time around, than listened to while driving.

In case you’re interested, the bid on the recording device is at AU$46 (US$35.42 just now) and the previous identical item went a couple of hours ago for AU$61 (US$47). This could get addictive!

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