Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2008 Issue

AbeBooks Purchases Chrislands, Launches Italian Website

Chrislands

Bookselling website provider Chrislands is now part of the AbeBooks family


By Michael Stillman

April was a busy month for leading online used bookseller AbeBooks.com. First, on April 9, they announced the purchase of Chrislands, a firm that builds, hosts and maintains bookselling websites for independent dealers. Five days later, they announced the opening of an Italian version of their website, AbeBooks.it.

Founded in 2001, Chrislands now hosts more than 1,000 bookselling sites. What the firm does is provide an internet package for booksellers who wish to have their own website. Their software contains all of the programs necessary to run an online bookstore. This includes a database to store listings and a search engine to find them, a shopping cart and secure order processing, and software that enables each bookseller to establish his own identity. Tools are provided for booksellers to operate their site without specialized computer knowledge. Chrislands charges a set-up fee of $199, and a monthly fee starting at $19.99 (depending on inventory size) to host and maintain the dealer's site.

This is hardly the first purchase by AbeBooks. Previous purchases included European online bookselling sites JustBooks and IberLibro, multi-site book searcher BookFinder, and inventory management provider FillZ. We asked AbeBooks' PR Director Richard Davies what the thread was behind these seemingly disparate purchases. He explained, "When looking at a possible acquisition, we look for three things: 1) is the company book-related; 2) is it successful; 3) is there opportunity for growth? Chrislands checks all these boxes." He further noted, "We are diversifying our business but always remaining close to books."

We asked whether any changes were in store, to which Mr. Davies answered, "The acquisition of Chrislands has been completed in a very similar style to our purchase of BookFinder.com in 2005." In other words, the short answer is "no." BookFinder has been allowed to continue to operate in an independent fashion, and Abe has not used its position to gain advantage, such as priority in results displayed. Davies went to say, "Chrislands will continue to operate as an independent business with Lance and Jaymes [Chrislands owner/founders Lance Christen and Jaymes Sorbel] remaining at the helm. Lance and Jaymes even consulted with BookFinder's founders Anirvan and Charlie before agreeing to the acquisition. There are no plans to change the Chrislands fees or offer discounts to existing AbeBooks' sellers. We plan to give Chrislands access to AbeBooks' resources, such as marketing, design and other companies within our family. Chrislands is already working closely with BookFinder.com so stores hosted by Chrislands will soon have the capability of including their inventory in BookFinder.com search results."

AbeBooks' second announcement was that they have opened an Italian edition of their website, joining versions in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and, of course, North America. The formula is essentially the same. AbeBooks.it includes 1.4 million books offered by 98 Italian booksellers. Books sold by Italian dealers are listed first, the site is in the Italian language, and pricing is in Euros. However, books from all of the Abe sites, now around 110 million, are displayed on the AbeBooks.it site.

Asked whether Abe plans to add any more such country-specific sites, AbeBooks' PR Coordinator Scott Laming responded that while the firm is always looking to expand to new territories, there are no specific plans at the moment. We also asked what determines whether Abe will expand through a new Abe site, or a Gojaba site, such as recently opened in Russia and Sweden. Scott Laming responded that this "is decided on a case by case basis depending on the projected economic viability of bookselling in the region, the level of competition, internet penetration, the postal service, and the book culture and used bookselling heritage." Where these factors are similarly developed as in the nations currently hosting Abe sites, a local Abe version is established. If not, it is more likely to be a Gojaba site. He also noted that AbeBooks sites are not equipped to handle languages not based on the Latin alphabet, so a country with a Cyrillic alphabet, such as Russia, or other non-Latin one, is more likely to see a Gojaba site.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two 19th Century Books Pertaining to Canada's Red River Settlement. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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