Starting an Online Business for Dummies

It's Not That Easy to Set Up an Online Business

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If you have read my review of the book Ecommerce for Dummies, you would recollect my mentioning that in the Dummies series, the most popular book on ecommerce is, strangely, not Ecommerce for Dummies. The present book that I am reviewing is actually a pretty popular book for people who want to learn more about ecommerce. Given that this book seems to include much more than just ecommerce, it is interesting that ecommerce enthusiasts flock to it.


This book does a good job of covering the basics of setting up a storefront, marketing your products, generating customer loyalty, and the like. It also covers the usual discussions such as the one on niche ecommerce vs. generic ecommerce. But what I find particularly interesting about this book is that it covers many topics that every ecommerce business owner needs to know about, though they may not be ecommerce specific. Some of these topics include:

The above list is by no means exhaustive, and you should check out the table of contents of the book for more information.

But I really like the topics that have been covered. In addition to learning about native ecommerce topics such as shopping carts, payment gateways, and the like, an ecommerce business owner needs to know a lot about the business environment in which the ecommerce business exists. Coverage of this wide range of topics is probably the highlight of this book.

The title of this book has the term, "All in One" in it, and I think that is well-deserved. This is not because this is an 888-page book; I say this because it's author has really thought through the topics that need to be covered. If you have read other book reviews by me, you know that merely the table of contents does not impress me. So, rest assured that I am impressed even by the style and insight; not to mention the usually delights of a Dummies book.


Shannon Belew is the primary author of this book. She owns several online businesses. I guess that diverse online business experience must have come in handy while writing a book about so many aspects of online business.


  • Comprehensive coverage
  • One of the best books for beginners
  • Easy to read with all the fun features of a Dummies book.


  • If you are interested in specific areas of information only, there are better books available for most of the specialized topics.
  • Given the dozens of topics and despite the large number of pages in the book, there are many cases where you might feel that the treatment is shallow.

Details for the Paperback Edition

  • Pages: 888
  • Publisher: For Dummies
  • ISBN-10: 1118123190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118123195


I have read many books on ecommerce.

In fact, I have authored one on a related topic (read more about that on my bio). But if I were to write an ecommerce book today, it would most closely resemble this Dummies book. Probably something about the writing and thinking in this book strikes a chord with me.

If you are not looking for a broad-spectrum book at this time, here are some specialized books that might work for you: