An important thing to consider when buying a book on eBay is, 'Did this book come from a smoker's home!!'
Now this guide isn't trying to cause any kind of argument with the smoking eBay users out there, but one thing to be aware of is the fact that the smoke smell will often stick to the book, usually pretty much imbedding itself into the pages. If you're a smoker yourself then you might not notice the smell, but if you're a non smoker then there's a good chance that you won't be able to read the book without smelling the smoke the whole way through (as well as smelling the smoke on your fingers from when you turn the page as I found out myself!). If you really can't stand the smell of smoke then there's a very good chance that you'll have to stop reading the book altogether until you've managed to get rid of the smell! (And if that's the case - see the last paragraph of this guide!)
How to find out if the book is from a smoking home:
Most of the time if a book, or any other item in fact, is from a non-smoker's home then the buyer will post this somewhere on his auction. If it isn't on there then there is still a chance he or she might've forgotten or they might have put a message in their 'About me' page. Strangely enough, most people don't like to advertise that an item comes from a smoking home so if you can't find neither of these, you can pretty much assume it's from a smoking home. If you want to be totally sure, your best bet is to click the 'Ask seller a question' button and just ask them! If they don't reply then they might be avoiding the question, but more often than not, if they want a sale then they will reply.
I've bought a book that stinks of smoke - can I get rid of the smell??
If you are unlucky enough to buy a book that really stinks of smoke, then here are some tips on how to get rid of the smell (thanks to Bonsai from the 'Discworld Stamps' forum!!).
If the books smell of smoke, generally you'll find there is a layer of nicotine on the dustjacket. The best and cheapest way of cleaning them is using Mr Muscle window cleaner. Spray a bit on a paper towel and wipe liberally, you'll be surprised how yellow the paper towel goes but it won't leave any residue on the books or damage the covers, plus they do smell a lot nicer! If the book still smells, try putting it in a bag with bicarbonate of soda, making sure it doesn't touch the book as that can make the smell dissipate.
I hope this information helps someone!! :o)