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.