Book buying guide for eBay

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eBay is the ideal place to buy books.  A quick glance at any books listings will show that most of the items do not have bids on them at all, so often a book can be grabbed for only $0.99.  There are, however, some things to remember when buying books on eBay:

  • If a listing has Paypal, put it at the top of your priority list; Paypal is simpler, easier and safe. 
  • Do not avoid sellers with a low feedback count; they will give you extra attention and are likely to be more honest and meticulous over the item than large-scale-bulk-listing companies.
  • Do not accept listings which only say things like: in good condition, in all right condition; without any further expansion on any good points or bad points.  The seller is obviously not dedicated enough, and if they do not have time to write a proper description, will not have enough time to look after you.  This could lead to bad communication and unsavoury negatives on both sides.


  • Be wary of listings which say "as new" - this means it is in perfect condition, has NO flaws(note that it does not mean that it is as good as one from a bookshoop, even books from the shops are rarely as new, as they have been bumped around in shipping etc.) and has never been read.  Many eBay sellers use the term very loosely and take it to mean as very good - upon examining pictures of "as new" items you can see that they do have flaws.  See as new items.
  • Do not be afraid of buying used items, they can often be in very good condition, and the inside content (which is what really matters, after all) is rarely damaged, only the cover.  They are cheaper as well.
  • For a normal sized novel, avoid listings which have postage at more than AU$10.00. If so, they are probably increasing the postage price beyond what is normal to increase their profits without paying fees to eBay.  Always keep an eye out for others who offer cheaper postage options.


  • School textbooks and workbooks are easy to find on eBay, and usually very cheap (compared to buying one new or secondhand from the school).  Any time is a good time to buy these items, although it may be better to buy outside of the peak months (November, December and January). 
  • Avoid sellers with complicated and authorative terms of sales.  They are obviously not sympathetic to your needs.   Any terms of sales should be short, simple and made for the buyer, not for the success of the seller.
  • ESPECIALLY avoid sellers who say they will only give feedback for you after you have given them feedback.  This means that if you gave them neutral/negative feedback, they will give you negative feedback in return, even if you kept to your side of the bargain and paid up, but were not happy with the item.  They then try to mutually withdraw both the ratings.  This is coercion and ought to be banned by eBay! Carefully examine their terms of sale, if you wish to avoid the possibility of an unpleasant and damaging experience.


  • Do not buy from sellers who tell you to ask them about postage details or payment options.  Who has the time?  These sellers do not care about you.
  • Buy from sellers who have a clear and fair return policy.  You may find yourself in need of it.
  • Consider buying multiple items to save on postage.  You will probably have to ask about the details, as how much you buy does change how much you save, so it is difficult to summarize it as so much extra for each new item of the seller you buy.
  • Watch an item if you like it so you do not forget about it.  This is an excellent feature that also allows you to compare listings.

I hope this has been influential and valuable for you,


P.S.  Click the yes button below if you though this was good!

P.P.S.Check out my other guides.

P.P.P.S.Go to eBay MyWorld.

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