How AbeBooks Helps Booksellers
AbeBooks works by bringing together thousands of independent bookstores from around the world and providing a range of services that are usually only available to large corporations. Our services level the playing field, allowing small independent players to compete with bookselling superstores.
Buyers who visit AbeBooks do not see a single corporate book retailer- instead they see a network of independent booksellers, the vast majority of which are owner-operated, small businesses.
Booksellers upload their inventory data to the AbeBooks database, specifying information about each book including condition and price. Booksellers can upload their inventory using their choice of software or our free bookstore management software, HomeBase, available for download off our website.
Finding A Book
Booklovers around the world can find virtually any book they are looking for from the combined inventories of our booksellers. If their book is not listed, they can leave a search request (we call it a "want"), and our database will check the new titles uploaded onto the site each day, until the book is found.
Visitors can search by author, title, or keyword to find their desired book. The search results will offer up a list of books fitting the visitor's request. Buyers can choose the copy that best fits their needs based on condition, price, and the bookstore it is available from.
Purchasing A Book
The original method: AbeBooks helps book buyers and sellers find each other. If a buyer in New York is looking for a book and a bookseller in Vancouver, Canada has it listed on any of our sites, they can meet over e-mail. The buyer can contact the bookseller and make their purchase through direct communication. AbeBooks facilitates the transaction, but encourages buyer and seller interaction. The bookseller ships the book directly to the buyer from their own shelves, and receives their full listed price.
E-commerce convenience: Every book on AbeBooks can be purchased by Visa or MasterCard. All credit card transactions are made in a high-security environment. Booksellers pay a 5.5% fee for all transactions completed through the AbeBooks checkout system, and pay a credit card processing fee if they choose to have AbeBooks process credit card payments on their behalf. The buyer pays no additional handling fees.
Our database and search engine are some of the most extensive on the Internet. Our prototype was written in Visual Foxpro; however, the system has since been converted to an Oracle database combined with Java servlets and an Alta Vista search engine. The new platform was chosen specifically for its scalability - its ability to scale up to higher volumes as needed. We anticipate continued growth, accelerating for years to come.
For our member booksellers, we have telephone support, an extensive e-mail help desk, and an online Help Wizard. Independent booksellers list their books with AbeBooks because it comes down to a good business decision: Internet sales make up a significant portion of our booksellers' revenue. AbeBooks gives booksellers an opportunity to sell through our site and through our partners. And our booksellers always maintain their identity. This means that where their books appear, the booksellers' name appears as well. We respect that our booksellers are the lifeblood of this business and help them keep and develop relationships with their customers.