What Is happening At Abebooks?
This, I believe, will be a major issue Abebooks will have to confront in the days ahead. It may not be important to the used book amateurs who sell on the site, but it is critical to the antiquarian experts. If Abe persists in taking steps that negate their selling skills, it is hard to imagine they will not earnestly seek selling alternatives. This may not be a major concern for the other large sites which have never facilitated direct contact, but Abe has always been the one that did, and this made it a favorite of the "serious" bookseller.
Perhaps those booksellers will find no alternatives and be forced to swallow the changes. There are other sites with a more antiquarian bend, such as the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America) site, but none of these have anywhere near the traffic of Abe. However, Abe needs to understand that their changes are hurting the traditional bookseller, the backbone on which their business was built. If Abe is unable to find a way to meet their own financial needs without jeopardizing the business model of many of their important sellers, they must recognize that those sellers are likely to seek new selling venues. If so, it remains to be seen whether they will be successful. They may not be able to find alternative selling vehicles superior to Abe. Then again, maybe they will.
Editor's Note: We have received many interesting and informative comments on this subject, and they can be seen in our Letters to the Editor