Two ebay Books
Book Bytes Review

eBay Photos That Sell – Taking Great Product Shots for eBay and Beyond
by Dan Gookin and Robert Birnbach

Sybex Publishers
ISBN 0-7821-4381-4, 172 pages
$29.99 US, $41.95 CN, £16.99 UK

eBay Power Seller Secrets – Insider Tips from eBay’s Most Successful Sellers
by Debra Schepp and Brad Schepp

Osborne / McGraw-Hill

ISBN 0-0702225869-1, 385 pages
$24.99 US, $36.95 CN, £14.99 UK

If you want to improve the visual quality of your occasional postings of items for sale on eBay, the first title will suffice. But if you intend to join the heavy hitters and monster moneymakers, splash your cash and devour both books.

eBay Photos That Sell is a concise how-to manual with a single goal. If you follow the authors’ instructions, your photographs will be first rate and your sales may improve. eBay Power Seller Secrets is dense, intense, and comprehensive. It’s a curriculum dedicated to results, techniques, and time-tested advice. 

Most people are lousy photographers. I know, because I’m a photo instructor and professional photographer. The introductory tips in eBay Photos That Sell will help readers begin to master composition and lighting in their pictures. Photographic technique comes next, with emphasis on a homegrown studio for good product images.

Basic digital image editing is crucial, and is addressed briefly, which is probably sufficient. Dozens of other books focus exclusively on that topic. More important is the co-authors’ detailed one-two punch, covering both subjective and objective approaches to photos of inanimate objects, including kiddie dungarees and a jar of gum drops.

eBay Photos That Sell wraps up with a very brief unit on digital image transfer, storage, and eBay upload. A few more pages could have been added here.

Overall, the book provides valuable, practical photographic advice, which is all its title promises. For the seller new to the eBay presentation experience, and for everyone wanting to improve their picture making, the instructions provided qualify this book for a strong 3.5 out of 5 in our Book Bytes rating system.

In helpful-words-per-dollar (or euro or whatever currency), eBay Power Seller Secrets is a mighty bargain. When you study the outstanding advice on every page, and then apply the information to your personal eBay sales situation, you will ascend from newcomer to esteemed master swiftly and efficiently. The many power seller profiles add a personal touch to the hundreds of tips and techniques.

Becoming and remaining an eBay power seller is a full time job for many people, and they earn a substantial income from it. eBay Power Seller Secrets breaks down the process into many tiny practical steps. Ignore them at your peril, including:

• Sell what you love, but don’t be blinded by your emotions

• PayPal and why it really is your friend

• Combine pricing and timing for smart selling.

This is the sort of book that will either get your blood racing with excitement, or send you screaming into the wilderness. Plain language is used, forcing readers to examine who they are, why and what they are selling, and how they will manage their intensely personal enterprises.

For example, from page 55:

Don’t expect to find help on eBay. Remember those friendly discussion boards we told you about in Chapter 1? Well, the sellers your find on those boards will be more than happy to lend you a shoulder to cry on and a sympathetic ear, but they will not give up their sources of products.

And on and on, over and over, for 370+ pages.

Inventory management tools, customized auction management software, listing advice, statistical timing tables, shipment insurance and scheduling — they’re all here. Reviewing this book is difficult, because it is so loaded with knowledge I’m tempted to quote from every chapter. Instead, I’ll direct you to, where if your do a search for this title, you will find it at a substantial discount, plus more praise for its content that could ever provide.

eBay Power Seller Secrets concludes with a list of eBay’s 500 top sellers, ranked by feedback numbers, starting with “jayandmarie” with 177,296 when the book was published (or closer to 250,000 by now). I am not a power seller, nor do I intend to become one, but if I did I would soak up every word in this book, that receives our highest Book Bytes recommendation at 5 out of 5.

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