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thepurplebookŪ, 2006 edition: The definitive guide to exceptional online shopping    by Hillary Mendelsohn order for
thepurplebookŪ, 2006 edition
by Hillary Mendelsohn
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This Internet version of the Yellow Pages has changed color - to purple. My first thought when I saw it was why not just google on keywords? But of course you never know the quality of results and the reliability and security of sources - which is particularly important when shopping online.

Why shop online at all? Mendelsohn tells us 'it's one of the last places to find a wide and distinct variety of products', and it's convenient. He advises us that sites considered for the book must satisfy three requirements - offer secure transactions, provide a working customer service number, and allow open (without entry of personal data) browsing. Issues like selection and prices, ease of use and downloading times were also factored into the choices. The author offers useful tips for online shopping, including the importance of keeping records and of reporting any problems.

Sites are split into categories from Art & Collectibles to Women's Apparel and Charity, with Product, Company and URL indexes at the back. Site listings all include a URL, company name, customer service number, a brief review, icons indicating factors like cost, shipping availability, gift services, and wish list/gift registry availability. Each section comes with specific tips for buying this kind of item online. I was immediately intrigued by the Crafts & Hobbies section (looking for robot kits and telescopes), Home & Garden (cooking gadgets and accessories), and of course Travel - prompted by seeing snow outside my window!

This is an excellent resource for U.S. consumers who enjoy the convenience of doing their shopping online. While those in other countries will still find the material of interest, they need to factor in shipping, customs, and processing charges that add a significant (often exorbitant) overhead to basic costs. Personally, I found browsing through thepurplebookŪ, 2006 edition a great way to generate ideas for holiday shopping, and am off to continue clicking!

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