The AbeBooks Story

Launched in 1996, AbeBooks.com's mission is to make it easy for people to find and buy any book from any bookseller anywhere. [See the Company Timeline]

Today, thousands of independent booksellers are listing millions of books on AbeBooks' network of websites. AbeBooks has grown into the world's largest online marketplace for new and used books, and offers the greatest selection of books found anywhere.

AbeBooks remains committed to selling solely books and serving independent booksellers. Its headquarters are still located in Victoria, British Columbia, where its founders created the business in the early days of the Internet.

Two couples - Rick and Vivian Pura and Keith and Cathy Waters – wrote the first AbeBooks' chapter. Keith worked in IT for British Columbia's provincial government, while Cathy ran a used bookstore. Countless customers would walk into Cathy's shop and request a specific book, often out-of-print or just plain hard to find, that she did not have in stock.

She would then place an advert in a trade magazine in order to source the book for the customer from another bookseller in North America – she thought there had to be a better way to help people buy books and put the problem to her husband and their friends the Puras. The answer was the Internet.

Although AbeBooks has expanded beyond their wildest dreams, the initial concept has not changed – AbeBooks connects buyers and sellers by acting as a giant shopping mall for bookstores where book searches are conducted in seconds.

The vast inventory of books range across every possible genre and sector in publishing – new, used, rare, antiquarian, and out-of-print. From much-desired first editions of The Great Gatsby to used copies of The Da Vinci Code to college textbooks to cookbooks and travel guides.

Today the company has offices in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Berkeley, California, as well as Canada. More than 10 nationalities are represented in a book-loving workforce who in 2006, launched the AbeBooks staff blog called Reading Copy. Macleans Magazine named AbeBooks one of Canada's top 100 employers between 2003 and 2008.

The firm's growth has been fuelled by an ever-expanding inventory, increasing numbers of customers, increasing numbers of booksellers and by acquisition of other companies.

In 2001, a leading German online marketplace for used books, JustBooks.com, was acquired and that swiftly led to the development of AbeBooks.de in Germany and AbeBooks.fr in France. One year later, AbeBooks.co.uk was launched in the UK. In October 2004, AbeBooks acquired IberLibro.com – a Spanish online marketplace for rare and used books.

In November 2005, BookFinder.com became the latest addition to the AbeBooks' family when the leading California-based price comparison shopping service for books was acquired.

In February 2006, FillZ, a book inventory and order management company that helps booksellers offer books through online marketplaces, was acquired. In 2006, AbeBooks took a stake in Librarything.com – a book cataloguing and social networking site for bibliophiles.

In April 2008 the launch of an Italian language website, AbeBooks.it is celebrated. In December 2008, AbeBooks was acquired by Amazon.

In 2011, AbeBooks acquired ZVAB.com - a worldwide marketplace for German rare books with over 3,000 professional booksellers in 27 countries offering customers more than 35 million used, antiquarian and out-of-print books.

As a true champion of the written word, AbeBooks has attracted media attention around globe. The New York Times described the company as "a true Internet success story" and in the UK The Guardian said AbeBooks was writing "a dotcom chapter of success".

[See the Company Timeline]