johhnyb writes "PrestaShop 1.3, Beginner's Guide by John Horton does exactly what is suggested by the title in that it provides a comprehensive and detailed guide to novices looking to set up their own online shops. While it is aimed at total beginners it never talks down to the reader and neither does it merely scratch the surface of the topic requiring you to go off and search for the real valuable information somewhere else. This book takes you from clueless beginner (which I undoubtedly was) to someone equipped with the knowledge, resources and additional support to be quite confident in setting up an effective online retail presence (which I believe I now am)." Keep reading for the rest of johhnyb's review.From the beginning, I was caught by the evident enthusiasm of the author and the fact he is clearly such an expert on the subject. I also liked the fact that he laid down his 'seven day challenge' and included some excerpts from his own 'story' throughout the book. Anyone who has even a faint idea about selling products online would undoubtedly benefit from this book as it gives you not just the technical information but the business input too. Likewise, if you already have an idea of what you want to sell and why it is a good product then you have a complete technical guide as to how to make that happen.
It actually helps if you have at least a certain comfort level with some simple computing basics, but even if you don't the processes described are in sufficiently layman's terms to make it easy for almost anyone. I can be quite confident in saying that this book contains pretty much everything you will need to set up a sophisticated and successful online shop. It doesn't go crazy though and go off on any disingenuous tangents by, for example, trying to explain Content Management Systems or some other equally esoteric topic. Overall, I think an excellent balance is achieved.
PrestaShop 1.3, Beginner's Guide is written in a very chatty and engaging style and the author's personality comes through loud and clear — you really do feel like he wants to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed. It is always down-to-earth and although the author clearly knows his topic well, he does go to great lengths to take everything step by step and make it as absolutely logical as possible. The level of detail is sufficient if you have never covered the particular task before.The addition of screen shots is also very convenient and makes the process easier. The 'What just happened' section is particularly good and there are plenty of reassuring summaries throughout so you can feel the book is not just running away with itself and the reader can keep recycling and reprocessing the information. Most importantly, he has done it himself and made a success of it. He has set up over 10 online shops, has been through all the different options, experienced the pitfalls, the highs and lows, and is passing on the very best information and advice possible to a new lucky group of shop owners.
I found the book full of very solid advice which could applied in many settings. It is also a great introduction to some of the most modern forms of online marketing including the use of Twitter, Facebook, and Google Adwords. One thing I liked was John's regular reference to the need for a strong, viable business case. Prestashop is a magnificent product but will totally fall flat if your basic offering does not create a customer which Peter Drucker famously said was the purpose of business. It is too easy to fly into the detail of a business before taking time to fully understand your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and why people buy from you. Likewise, the author also covers key and hard-to-grasp issues like Search Engine Optimization which I think he correctly identifies as something readers will need to understand.
I can honestly say that PrestaShop 1.3, Beginner's Guide covers everything you will need. Not only that, John refers to several free resources he himself has written and provides an extensive list of resources at the end of the book.This book is almost encyclopedic in its treatment of how to set up and use Prestashop and it is certainly something that can used in that way. You don't only get Prestashop related material you also get a lot of valuable business advice, of course in a Prestashop context.Another benefit readers will receive is regular pointers to where they can find other free resources also written by the author.
I have to state clearly that John is a long-term friend of mine — to give you an idea we go back to those halcyon days of the Spectrum ZX-81 and the Commodore 64 — yes, we are getting on. Bearing this in mind, I have done my best to write something honest and useful to potential buyers of this book. Although he plays it down, John has always been marvelous with computers and able to effortlessly explain complex technical issues to me, a relative technophobe. Therefore, it does not surprise me he has written something so useful, practical and frankly inspiring.
You can purchase PrestaShop 1.3 Beginner's Guide from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.