Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2003 Issue

Abebooks: Internet Visionaries

Fur Trade Permit, 1646, $12,000 courtesy of Abebooks

For all of these reasons, Abebooks is a force to contend with, and we were lucky to meet with some of their representatives at the American Library Association conference in January in Philadelphia, where, naturally enough, Abebooks was exhibiting. There, over a lengthy dinner, our charming Abebooks hosts wined and dined us and gave us essential background information about their enterprise. The following interview was not conducted at this meal, which was far too busy and noisy for such a one-on-one. Rather, we submitted our questions in writing to Abebooks. We gather that they were answered by a collaborative written ‘roundtable” or Abebooks team consisting of Brent James, CEO Abebooks; Sue Connors, VP, Bookseller Community & Corporate Product Management, Abebooks; and Marci Crossan, Manager Marketing & Communications, Abebooks. We thank all for the time that they obviously invested in answering these queries and for the forthright nature with which they responded to some of our more challenging queries.


[Editor’s Note: the following interview was conducted by email. All questions were answered by a collaborative Abebooks “roundtable” team consisting of Brent James, CEO Abebooks; Sue Connors, VP Bookseller Community & Corporate Product Management, Abebooks; and Marci Crossan, Manager Marketing & Communications, Abebooks. In only one case is a particular person credited with answering a specific question: this is in the case of the last question, which was rephrased and then answered by Brent James, Abebooks’ CEO.]

AEM: What is Abebooks.com?

ABEBOOKS: Abebooks is the world’s largest online marketplace for used, rare and out-of print books. It has become the favorite source for booklovers around the world, partly because of what it offers: you can find a cheap reading copy of a secondhand bestseller or a signed first edition of a collectible classic.

In essence, we are the sum of our booksellers. Right now we list books for over ten thousand booksellers in 42 countries. These range from small independent sellers (who might not have a storefront) to large booksellers like The Strand in New York, or Powells Books in Portland Oregon.

AEM: Can we ask you to confirm the numbers we have seen posted on your site? The first is that you have more than 40 million books for sale and the other is that you have more than 9,200 sellers.

ABEBOOKS: At the moment we list over 42 million books on our sites. We operate five sites. When a bookseller lists a book on Abebooks, it is uploaded to all of our sites. Each site lists the same 42 million books, but are tailored to specific countries or groups. For example, the Abebooks French site is in French and bookbuyers can pay in Euros. Our five sites are Abebooks.com (North America), Abebooks.de (Germany) Abebooks.fr (France) , Abebooks.co.uk (the United Kingdom) and AbeLibrary.com (special services for librarians).

AEM: Can you also tell us how many visitors you get on an average day? Do you have any idea how many books are sold on an average day as well as how many new books for sale are posted? Please share any other statistics including year over year changes.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Keats, John] Spenser, Edmund: The Works of that Famous English Poet, Mr. Edmond Spenser. $50,000 - $80,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: (Walton, Izaak): The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative man's Recreation. Being a Discourse of Fish and Fishing. $30,000 - $50,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Thomas, Gabriel: An Historical and Geographical Account of the Province and Country of Pensilvania; and of West-New-Jersey in America. $25,000 - $35,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Carroll, Lewis]: The Game of Alice in Wonderland. $2,000 - $3,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Athias, Joseph, et al.: Biblia Hebraica. $7,000 - $10,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Warhol, Andy, and Jens Quistgaard] Dansk Designs Salesman's Presentation Catalogue. $2,500 - $3,500.
  • Sotheby’s, June 26: Poe, Edgar Allan. Tamerlane — the most poignant rarity in American literature. 400,000 - 600,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: The Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." 2,500,000 - 5,000,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: William Blake. “Poems with very wild and interesting pictures” 1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: Thomas Taylor [artist]. The original cover art for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 400,000 - 600,000 USD
  • Bonhams, June 15-25: 18th Century American Sea Captain's Journals of Voyages to Hawaii, China, and South America. $35,000 - $45,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Autograph Diary from Bolling Advance Base, Winter 1934. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Thoreau, Henry David. Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Cellarius, Andreas. Harmonia macrocosmica seu atlas universalis et novus, totius universi creati cosmographiam generalem, et novam exhibens. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Nobelist George Stigler's Copy of Ricardo's Classic on the Science of Economics. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris: F. L. Schmied, 1927. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Fine Copy of Walras's Classic on the Theory of Marginal Utility. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Arion Press Moby Dick. Melville, Herman. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Venegas, Miguel. Noticia de la California, y desu conquista temporal, y espiritual hasta el tiempo presente. $7,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Carelton Watkins, Yosemite and the West. Portfolio of 21 imperial albumen prints. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: An Unpublished Archive of Thornton Wilder Correspondence to F.J. O'Neil. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. Suorum de humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome. $100,000 - $150,000
  • Bonhams, June 25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. $200,000 - $300,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Gersdorff, Hans Von. 1455-1529. Feldtbuch der wundartzney. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Pare, Ambroise. C.1509-1590. La Methode Curative des Playes, et Fractures de la Teste humaine. Avec les pourtraits des Instruments necessaires pour la curation d'icelles. $25,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Reisch, Gregor. 1470-1525. Margarita Philosophica. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bright, Richard. 1789-1858. Reports of Medical Cases, Selected with a View of Illustrating the Symptoms and Cure of Diseases by a Reference to Morbid Anatomy. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Berengario da Carpi, Giacomo. C. 1460-1530. Tractatus de fractura calve sive cranei. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Vicq D'Azyr, Felix. 1748-1794. Traite d'antomie et de physiologie. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Croce, Giovanni Andrea Della. 1509?-1775. Chirurgia libri septem... $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bruno Da Longburgo. 1200-1286. La cyrogia di Maistro Bruno: Expertissimo in quella. Tradutta in vulgare. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Schwann, Theodor. 1810-1882. Mikroskopische Untersuchungen uber die Ubereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Cowper, William. 1666-1709. The Anatomy of Humane Bodies, with Figures Drawn after the Life… $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bidloo, Govard. 1649-1713. Anatomia humani corporis, centum & quinque tabulis, per artificiossis. G. de Lairesse ad vivum delineatis. $6,000 - $9,000

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions