AbeBooks / / (formerly the Advanced Book Exchange) is an online marketplace for books. Most books listed are used, many are rare or out of print, and a growing number are new books. The company is based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, with an office in Düsseldorf, Germany. It was incorporated in 1995 and launched its websites in 1996. At present, they list more than 140 million books on sale from thousands of booksellers in more than 50 countries. AbeBooks offers six regional websites: for North America, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and Spain (Iberlibro.com).
On August 1, 2008, AbeBooks announced that it had been acquired by Amazon.com.
Searchable inventory[edit source | edit]Edit
AbeBooks' users can search across the listings of many independent bookstores, thereby allowing small, independent players to compete with bookselling superstores. Some of the member bookstores offer their books online only, while others also maintain a regular storefront.
Booksellers upload their inventory data to the AbeBooks database, specifying information about each book including condition and price. Prices are fixed (with US$1 being the minimum) and there are no auctions. Items available range from the extremely common, where there might be hundreds of copies listed, to truly unique manuscript material worth thousands of dollars. In addition to books, magazines, audio books, journals, illustration art, vintage photographs and paper ephemera are offered.
History[edit source | edit]Edit
AbeBooks was founded in 1995 by Rick and Vivian Pura, and Keith and Cathy Waters. The site was launched in 1996, initially including listings for only four bookstores. AbeBooks acquired Germany's JustBooks GmbH online book marketplace in 2001, which helped the company expand into the German, French and British online bookselling markets. In 2004, AbeBooks expanded its model to include new books, and acquired the Spanish company IberLibro, to better serve Spanish language markets.
In 2002, the founding partners were bought out by German media company Hubert Burda Media.
From the late 1990s through 2005, AbeBooks had reseller agreements with eBay, Half.com, Barnes & Noble.com, BibliOZ.com and Amazon.com, allowing AbeBooks to market and sell booksellers' books through those channels; these agreements were dissolved in 2005. AbeBooks purchased IberLibro.com in October 2004 and its inventory was integrated into the AbeBooks' database in December 2006. In November 2005, AbeBooks acquired BookFinder.com, an American book price comparison "metasearch" shopping service site. In February 2006, AbeBooks acquired book-inventory and order-management company FillZ. In May 2006, AbeBooks purchased a 40 per cent stake inLibraryThing, a social networking and book cataloging website for bibliophiles.
Chrislands was acquired by AbeBooks in April 2008. Chrislands is a company that hosts websites for over 1000 booksellers. In May 2013, AbeBooks sold ChrisLands back to one of its original founders, Jaymes Sorbel.
In June 2008 AbeBooks was awarded the British Columbia Technology Industry Association Impact Award for Leadership in Social Responsibility for its charitable activities, literacy initiatives, and commitment to environmental friendliness in its business practices.
On August 1, 2008, AbeBooks announced that it would be acquired by Amazon.com. The deal gave Amazon.com a stake in both LibraryThing, of which AbeBooks owned 40%, and competitor Shelfari, in which Amazon.com had invested separately.
In October 2008, AbeBooks was named one of BC's Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc., which was announced by The Vancouver Sun, The Province and the Victoria Times-Colonist. In 2012, AbeBooks was again named one of British Columbia's top employers by Mediacorp.
In May 2010, AbeBooks launched the AbeBooks’ Channel Program to provide its booksellers with the opportunity to list their books for sale on Amazon.com
In 2011, AbeBooks acquired ZVAB.com - a worldwide marketplace for German rare books with over 3,000 professional booksellers in 27 countries offering customers more than 35 million used, antiquarian and out-of-print books.
Sellers[edit source | edit]Edit
Sellers pay a monthly subscription to list their books on the site, ranging from $25 to $300, depending on how many books they list. In addition, sellers pay a percentage fee for each book sold via the websites.
AbeBooks initially offered its services for a flat listings fee, based on the number of titles listed for sale. The model was changed in the early 2000s to include a commission on sales. In April 2006, AbeBooks started mandatory processing of MasterCard and Visa credit card transactions on behalf of its sellers and added a charge a 5.5% pecentage for the provision of this service: previously this service had been optional. In 2008, AbeBooks started charging a commission of 13.5% on the cost of postage as well as the book price. Currently (2013) the commission charge is set at 8% of postage and book price.
Sellers can, within limits, set their own standard postage rates to various countries or by different carriers. Booksellers can upload their inventory using their own spreadsheet software or via the site's interface. Items that sell are mailed directly from the individual bookseller's location. Some booksellers have new books directly mailed from wholesalers or publishers. While AbeBooks is arguably the largest such site, most booksellers who list on AbeBooks also list their books on multiple competing marketplaces such as Amazon.com, Biblio.com, Half.com, etc