Tufte books for sale

[Update 10 January 2011: These books have now been sold.]

For sale right now on eBay: my copies of Edward Tufte’s first four books on data visualisation: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information, Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative and Beautiful Evidence.

This is the first of a whole bunch of things I’ll be selling over the next few weeks. Yes, partially it’s because I have to move house. But it’s also because I’ve decided to make good on the comment I made at a lunch with the people from Blurb — that books I haven’t even opened in six months are simply wasting space on my shelves and are of no use to anyone. They’re an asset in a coma.

This also relates to a point I’ve been trying to make for the last couple of years, with varying degrees of success: that digital media allows us to separate to creative content — a novel, say — from the container it was traditionally published in, i.e. a book. One version was a Crikey article, Literature? What’s that got to do with the price of books? The core issue is that the pleasure people enjoy from reading the novel, with its characters, settings and plot, is a separate pleasure from the tactile sense of turning pages and feeling the paper, or the satisfaction of collecting objects. I don’t deny anyone any of these pleasures, but they’re no longer necessarily interlinked.

But I digress…

Having read Tufte’s books and absorbed their message, there’s no need for them to sit idly on bookshelves. They’re not something I refer back to. And I have no need to reinforce my sense of self-worth by displaying them as tribal markers either.

You can bid for these books directly at eBay.

eBay: Not Australia? Let’s try the US!

eBay couldn’t force its Australian sellers to use its wholly-owned PayPal payment service, but that’s not stopping them from trying the same trick in the US.

I wrote about this previously, though I didn’t mention that eBay gave up in face of such clear opposition — the 700+ submitters and the ACCC, that is, not me! However Lauren Weinstein writes that in the US eBay has announced that PayPal (or credit cards) are to be the required mechanism for all transactions.

Continue reading “eBay: Not Australia? Let’s try the US!”

Crikey: eBay Australia: Who? Us? Anti-competitive?

Crikey logo

[This was me in Crikey yesterday.]

Thank the gods I don’t work for the ACCC! The poor sods have to read 700+ public submissions on eBay Australia’s plan to force sellers to use PayPal — which they own. As Crikey reported, this could breach the “third line forcing” provisions of the Trade Practices Act.

Being a lazy geek rather than a tireless public servant, though, I can skim for juicy tidbits. They reveal a widespread fear of eBay bullying.

Continue reading “Crikey: eBay Australia: Who? Us? Anti-competitive?”

eBay responds to 700+ submissions to ACCC

When the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) decided to investigate eBay Australia’s plan to force its sellers to use PayPal for their “protection”, there were more than 700 public submissions. eBay has responded by dismissing the objections.

I’ve written about this at length previously, both here and in Crikey [1, 2], with plenty of interesting comments from readers. And I’ve just written a piece for Crikey today, to be published around 2pm Sydney time.

Meanwhile, you can read some overview pieces at Auction Bytes and The Sheet. And you can see eBay’s full 15-page response at the ACCC website: it’s the second submission on the page, from “Applicant”.

To make things just that little bit more interesting, yesterday Telstra’s Sensis division announced a free auction site at Trading Post.

[Update 1250pm: The story will now run in Crikey tomorrow (Thursday). Busy news day, apparently.]

Am I a hypocrite for using PayPal?

Given what I’ve written about eBay Australia and PayPal recently, is it hypocritical to have added a “donate” button to my website which works through PayPal? I don’t think so. After all, I did say that for small businesses setting up online, PayPal is “often the most cost-effective way to accept credit card payments, and the easiest to set up technically”. And it is. I got that “donate” button set up in 10 minutes. The gripe was about eBay forcing its sellers to use PayPal, which they own. What do you think?