Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2003 Issue

Abebooks: Internet Visionaries

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AE Monthly Feature Article


ABEBOOKS: Our “Wants” list is hugely popular with our buyers. At the moment we have one million and sixty-four thousand wants registered in our system. (1,064,000) These are screened every 8-10 hours against books that have been recently uploaded to our system.

We find that different people use the “wants” for different reasons: acquisition librarians who are putting together collections use it to help them locate rare or hard to find items; collectors use wants to help them be the “first to know” when a copy of a book is available; general booklovers and avid readers use it to find out when a used copy of a new book comes onto the site.

Booksellers also find this a convenient means to determine which books are in high demand and low supply.

Abebooks allows anyone with an account (bookseller and bookbuyer) visiting our site to browse our books-wanted list.

AEM: Can you look ahead and tell us what the future looks like to you?

[Editor’s Note: Answer from Brent James, CEO Abebooks.]

ABEBOOKS: Another way of asking this question is: what does the future look like for buying and selling used, rare, out-of-print and antiquarian books over the internet?

From Abebooks' perspective, the supply of rare books on the Internet will continue to increase as booksellers around the world become more aware of the Internet and become more comfortable in listing their rare books for sale online. For sellers of rare books, the Internet is (so far) the most efficient medium to list their books to a world-wide audience.

In parallel, book collectors around the world are increasingly turning to the Internet to locate such rare books. Indeed, only the World Wide Web allows a book collector to browse the inventory of a bookstore anywhere else in the world.

Abebooks sees an ever-increasing demand for an Internet service which brings buyers and sellers of rare books together. We recognize that sellers of such books may want to process credit cards themselves, so we give booksellers the option to do this and save money on transaction costs; we recognize that such rare books tend to be higher priced than other books, so we cap our transaction fees; we recognize that booksellers want to be able to provide a full description of their rare books, so we do not limit the amount of information for book descriptions; and we recognize that buyers of such books will likely want to contact the bookseller to ask questions, so we display full bookseller contact information including email address, telephone number, and address.

In summary, the Internet does not only facilitate the sale of used, rare, out-of-print and antiquarian books, but in many cases the Internet is the only way that buyers are able to find the books they are looking for. Demand and supply of rare books are inter-related - supply increases with demand, and demand increases with supply. This inter-relationship continues to grow, and Abebooks is committed to not only keeping up with this growth, but to fueling this growth.

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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