Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2008 Issue

AbeBooks Purchases Chrislands, Launches Italian Website

Chrislands

Bookselling website provider Chrislands is now part of the AbeBooks family


By Michael Stillman

April was a busy month for leading online used bookseller AbeBooks.com. First, on April 9, they announced the purchase of Chrislands, a firm that builds, hosts and maintains bookselling websites for independent dealers. Five days later, they announced the opening of an Italian version of their website, AbeBooks.it.

Founded in 2001, Chrislands now hosts more than 1,000 bookselling sites. What the firm does is provide an internet package for booksellers who wish to have their own website. Their software contains all of the programs necessary to run an online bookstore. This includes a database to store listings and a search engine to find them, a shopping cart and secure order processing, and software that enables each bookseller to establish his own identity. Tools are provided for booksellers to operate their site without specialized computer knowledge. Chrislands charges a set-up fee of $199, and a monthly fee starting at $19.99 (depending on inventory size) to host and maintain the dealer's site.

This is hardly the first purchase by AbeBooks. Previous purchases included European online bookselling sites JustBooks and IberLibro, multi-site book searcher BookFinder, and inventory management provider FillZ. We asked AbeBooks' PR Director Richard Davies what the thread was behind these seemingly disparate purchases. He explained, "When looking at a possible acquisition, we look for three things: 1) is the company book-related; 2) is it successful; 3) is there opportunity for growth? Chrislands checks all these boxes." He further noted, "We are diversifying our business but always remaining close to books."

We asked whether any changes were in store, to which Mr. Davies answered, "The acquisition of Chrislands has been completed in a very similar style to our purchase of BookFinder.com in 2005." In other words, the short answer is "no." BookFinder has been allowed to continue to operate in an independent fashion, and Abe has not used its position to gain advantage, such as priority in results displayed. Davies went to say, "Chrislands will continue to operate as an independent business with Lance and Jaymes [Chrislands owner/founders Lance Christen and Jaymes Sorbel] remaining at the helm. Lance and Jaymes even consulted with BookFinder's founders Anirvan and Charlie before agreeing to the acquisition. There are no plans to change the Chrislands fees or offer discounts to existing AbeBooks' sellers. We plan to give Chrislands access to AbeBooks' resources, such as marketing, design and other companies within our family. Chrislands is already working closely with BookFinder.com so stores hosted by Chrislands will soon have the capability of including their inventory in BookFinder.com search results."

AbeBooks' second announcement was that they have opened an Italian edition of their website, joining versions in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and, of course, North America. The formula is essentially the same. AbeBooks.it includes 1.4 million books offered by 98 Italian booksellers. Books sold by Italian dealers are listed first, the site is in the Italian language, and pricing is in Euros. However, books from all of the Abe sites, now around 110 million, are displayed on the AbeBooks.it site.

Asked whether Abe plans to add any more such country-specific sites, AbeBooks' PR Coordinator Scott Laming responded that while the firm is always looking to expand to new territories, there are no specific plans at the moment. We also asked what determines whether Abe will expand through a new Abe site, or a Gojaba site, such as recently opened in Russia and Sweden. Scott Laming responded that this "is decided on a case by case basis depending on the projected economic viability of bookselling in the region, the level of competition, internet penetration, the postal service, and the book culture and used bookselling heritage." Where these factors are similarly developed as in the nations currently hosting Abe sites, a local Abe version is established. If not, it is more likely to be a Gojaba site. He also noted that AbeBooks sites are not equipped to handle languages not based on the Latin alphabet, so a country with a Cyrillic alphabet, such as Russia, or other non-Latin one, is more likely to see a Gojaba site.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, <i>El Ingenioso Hildalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha . . . Nueva Edición,</i> first Ibarra edition, Madrid, 1780. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Prayer Book in Latin and French, France, 1530-40s. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin, France, mid-15th century. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b><br><i>Die Ernsthaffte Christenpflicht,</i> earliest known edition of the first complete Mennonite prayer book, 1708. $300 to $500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Georg Agricola, <i>De ortu & causis subterraneorum Lib V.,</i> first edition, Basel, 1546. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Frederick Ruysch, <i>Icon durae matris in concava [convexa] superficie visae,</i> with 2 mezzotints by Jan Ladmiral, first edition, Amsterdam, 1737. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, <i>Eine Neue Art von Strahlen,</i> Würzburg, 1895. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pietro Carrera, <i>Il Gioco de gli Scacchi,</i> first edition, Militello, 1617. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> William Lithgow, <i>The Totall Discourse, of the Rare Adventures</i> [etc.], London, 1632. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Michel de Nostradamus, <i>The True Prophecies or Prognostications,</i> first complete edition in English, London, 1672. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pseudo-Methodius, <i>De revelatione facta . . . beato Methodio,</i> Basel, 1504. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Hrabanus Maurus, <i>De laudibus sancte crucis opus,</i> Pforzheim, 1503. $1,000 to $2,000.
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Autographs & Memorabilia. February 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Autograph album featuring signatures by prominent actors, politicians, musicians and authors, including Rudolph Valentino. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> An extremely rare working radio script for Crazy People No 29, the first series of <i>The Goon Show.</i> £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Manuscript prayer book, in German. 8vo, 1755 £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Italian Manuscript on Geometry, with diagrams, 18th century. £500 to £700
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Thorburn (Archibald). Sparrowhawk, original watercolour & gouache, signed & dated lower right, 1917. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Burton (Sir Richard Francis). <i>Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah.</i> 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, 1855-56. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> [Mount (Richard) & Page (Thomas)]. <i>The English Pilot. Describing the Sea-Coasts…</i> 31 engraved maps, W. & J. Mount, T. Page, 1756 £4000 to £6000
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    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> D’apres De Mannevillette (Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Denis). <i>Le Neptune Oriental.</i> Paris & Brest, [1775 – 1781]. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Loring (Josiah). Terrestrial Globe Containing all the Late Discoveries and Geographical Improvements. Boston, Gilman Joslin, 1846, £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Shelley (G. E., Capt.). <i>A Monograph of the Nectariniidae, or Family of Sun-birds,</i> FIRST EDITION, by the Author, 1876-80. £4,000 to £6,000
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    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Albert Einstein A remarkable letter on God in English, one of his most eloquent and quoted, 1 p, July 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Benjamin Lincoln's commission as Major General in the Continental Army, February 19th, 1777. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Broadside. A Poem Upon the Bloody Engagement That Was Fought on Bunker's-Hill. 1775. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Early, full printing of the Star-Spangled Banner in The Yankee, October 7, 1814. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Paul Revere. Engraving, “The Boston Massacre Perpetrated on March 5, 1770," in <i>Massachusett's Calendar 1772.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Earliest known newspaper coverage of Babe Ruth, "a St Mary's schoolboy," Baltimore, April 4, 1914. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Franklin, Benjamin. <i>The Independent Whig.</i> First Magazine Published in America, Philadelphia: Keimer, 1723-4. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Smith, Joseph. <i>The Book of Mormon.</i> Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin for the Author, 1830. First printing. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Last Words of Joseph Smith. Autograph Letter Signed from a Mormon disciple, conveying a contemporary account of the Prophet's final words, Nauvoo, July 27, 1844. $10,000 to $15,000
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    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Powell Expedition. Autograph diary of Rhodes C. Allen kept during the Powell Expedition of 1868, June 29, 1868 - November 16, 1868. $20,000 to $40,000
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