PayPal Hacks

PayPal Hacks
By Shannon Sofield, Dave Nielsen, Dave Burchell

Publisher: O’Reilly
Price: $24.95
ISBN# 0596007515

PayPal Hacks is a 343-page book designed for those who use PayPal often. I am one such user, so I was very interested in reviewing this book to learn more about the service. Unfortunately, the book fails on many levels, while still giving some good examples of how to most benefit from PayPal.

I suppose I am somewhat spoiled: I am used to reading computer books that have a human voice to the book. I am used to reading books that speak to me, not at me. PayPal Hacks is boring on almost every level, and reads as if any personal voice in the book was deleted. It is a dull, boring read. Not to say that every technical book should read in first-person, but when a book about “hacks” reads this dry, it is somewhat of a letdown.

The title reads “100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools” which is accurate. However, the book fails miserably in even this simple premise. Website creators are, by a large margin, creating websites using open standards such as PHP, while PayPal Hacks focuses mostly on .Net. Window users. The book all but ignores any mention of Macintosh website developers.

The book does give examples such as how to add a PayPal shopping cart to your site, setting up donations, and more. Here the book conveys information web developers will find most helpful. It also covers eBay sellers and buyers using PayPal, but most of these “hacks” are not very helpful to serious eBay users.

While the book does deliver the promise of 100 tips and tools, the scope is very limited. I would also dispute the decision to even use the term “hacks” here, as none of the tips and tools has anything to do with hacking, even in the broad definition of that term.

This book could have been much more, and much more inclusive of more popular technologies. It reads, rather, as an open invitation to use Microsoft solutions for website creation, which we can all agree is not the be-all and end-all of the Internet.

Most of the “tips” found in this book can easily be found online; many of them on PayPal’s site itself. Save your $24.95 and use the Internet to learn how to use PayPal to your best advantage. Every trick I use to get the most from PayPal is not in this book, but online. Rating: 2 out of 5

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