If you want to be certain that the book you're buying is exactly as advertised, especially if you're after scarcer books in really great condition, stick to buying from established booksellers like the ones recommended on ModernLib. If you're more flexible about the condition or scarcity of the books you buy, eBay can be a great source of bargains.
You can increase your odds of having a positive experience on eBay by sticking to a few rules.
- Use dealers whom you know or who come highly recommended.
- Avoid dealers who broadcast danger signs.
- Make sure the listing provides the information you need to make good decisions.
- If the listing doesn't provide enough information, ask for more. (Most sellers aren't out to deceive you; more often than not, they're just amateurs who don't know what information to include.)
- Read the negative and neutral feedback registered to the seller.
To see what the negative/neutral comments are about, feed the seller's eBay name into Toolhaus eBay Negative Search and see what comes back.
- Seek advice on the listing from knowledgeable collectors on the Modern Library Mailing List. (Be sure to include a link to the listing so that folks can see what you're talking about.)
- Whenever possible, pay using a credit card (or the credit card option within PayPal).
- Unless you know the seller, never pay with cash or cash equivalent such as money order, certified check, or direct cash transfer from your bank.
For a summary article about buying and selling on eBay, see Ethics & eBay - No, Really!
elsewhere on this Website.