There are plenty of books out there that tell you how to make money on the internet but not many that focus on the other side of that equation: how to be a sharp online customer. In Online Shopper’s Survival Guide (Entrepreneur Press, $19.95), Jacquelyn Lynn takes you through the cyber-buying process.
She begins with a look at how “distance buying” has evolved over the years, from the early days of mail order catalog shopping to today’s powerful online shopping malls. “Much of the early American economy depended on mail order, which was the only way rural residents could get many of the goods they wanted and needed,” Lynn says. “Today, shopping online gives consumers access to a much broader range of goods and services than they have locally, even in big cities.”
For many, the lure of online shopping is convenience: no driving, no parking, and the stores are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For others, it’s the bargains—and there are plenty to be had on the internet.
Lynn walks the reader through online shopping basics, including how to evaluate an online seller, how to pay for purchases, and how to find bargains. She goes into great detail about how to shop online auctions—which is to be expected, since one of her earlier books is Make Big Profits on eBay.
She spends a significant amount of time discussing consumer protection and fraud issues. Readers who follow her advice can shop online with confidence and know that their personal information isn’t likely to be stolen and they aren’t going to be victims of a scam. She even talks about what you can’t—or shouldn’t—buy online.
Because online opportunities aren’t limited to merchandise, Lynn discusses things like online dating, job searching, and even participating in discussion groups. “The internet has created a whole new way for people to connect, and as long as you know how to do it smartly and safely, the opportunities are tremendous,” Lynn says.
Written in a lively, casual style with plenty of anecdotes and illustrations, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide is an entertaining and informative guide for anyone who shops online. In addition, it’s a must-read for seniors who are just learning to navigate in cyberspace and for teens who probably know more about the internet than their parents but who could use a dose of caution on how to buy safely online.