Abebooks (formerly the Advanced Book Exchange), has been around for 12 years as an online marketplace for books focusing on used, rare and out of print titles for sale by independent booksellers - They currently list 110 million titles from 13,500 sellers worldwide and they operate from beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada with 100 of those at its Victoria headquarters they have a European office in Dusseldorf , Germany with 35 staff. (WAPO)
Abebooks also owns 40 percent of Library Thing (a social app for keeping track of your books (modest subscription required) and finding other like-minded book lovers - "Meet the world's largest book club. Find people with eerily (?) similar tastes. " ). Amazon is an investor in a similiar outfit called Shelfari -Free membership.
Abebooks CEO Dr. Hannes Blum sent an email out to its booksellers today telling it's bookseller subscribers that they have been acquired by Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) (terms not disclosed) but would continue to operate as a stand-alone business.
Amazon (he says) is committed to further developing the AbeBooks brand and building upon the success of the past 12 years. This is not the first time AbeBooks has changed hands since being launched in 1996. Hubert Burda Media, a substantial German media company, took a majority shareholding in 2003.
Amazon already has a system for supplying hard-to-find and rare books, which incorporates a similar operation to ABE called Bibliofind a few years ago . Scuttlebut in the "Curiosa" section claims that ABE fees have been increased and sellers have been leaving "in droves".
On the basis of this, Reuters report fevered speculation that in the light of changing (ie rapidly declining personal disposable incomes) eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) would become a merger target.(!)
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