Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2003 Issue

Abebooks: Internet Visionaries

Abe7

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.

ABEBOOKS INTERVIEW


[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

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Les Cigarettes Mekka,</i> 1919. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Plinio Codognato, <i>Cicli Fiat,</i> circa 1910. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> L.N. Britton, <i>Warning! Consider the Possible Consequences,</i> c. 1917. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonardo Bistolfi, <i>Première Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Modernes,</i> 1902. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Paquet Pernot / Biscuits Pernot,</i> 1910. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Francesco Nonni, <i>Font Meo / Acqua Minerale Naturale,</i> 1924. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell, <i>American Crescent Cycles,</i> 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> <i>Be a Tight Wad! Own Something!</i> designer unknown, 1925. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Candido Aragonese de Faria, <i>Chamonix–Mont–Blanc,</i> c. 1910. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> W.E.J., <i>Irishmen Avenge the Lusitania,</i> c. 1915. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Maitres Affiches by MUCHA - Papier a cigarettes Job. 202. $5,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> De Bry - Map of the West Indies (including Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, Bahamas, Parts of Central & South America, Sea Monsters, Ships). $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gould - Short-billed Toucan (Ramphastos Brevicarinatus). $5,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Redoute, Folio - Pale Iris - Iris flavescens. 375. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gillray - Light Expelling Darkness or The Sun of the Constitution. $200 to $500.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gerard - Wild Hemp or Weed, Cannabis. 708. $150 to $450.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Shaw & Nodder - Head of The Dodo. 165. $100 to $300.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Family photograph album ("The Hughes family Album"), 1957-1962. £30,000 to £50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on "my own private doctrine", with a poem, 5 October 1956. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Pen and ink portrait of Ted Hughes, [1956]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Joint autograph letter signed, to William and Edith Hughes, March 1960. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Photographic portrait by David Bailey, inscribed by Plath, 1961, and another press photo. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Tarot de Marseille. Deck of cards owned by Sylvia Plath. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Pair of gold wedding rings. £6,000 to £8,000.

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