Home Amazon Remembers Its Origins: Buys Abebooks

Amazon Remembers Its Origins: Buys Abebooks

Amazon today announced that it will acquire AbeBooks, the online marketplace for used and rare books. Given the breadth of Amazon’s product line, it is sometimes easy to forget that, at its core, Amazon is still a book seller, even if its product line now ranges from hosted Web 2.0 services to bulk groceries. AbeBooks, which was formerly known as the Adcanved Book Exchange, launched in Canada and the US in 1996 and has since expanded to Germany, Italy, France, the UK, and Spain. AbeBooks will continue to operate under its own name.

In many ways, buying AbeBooks is almost the antithesis of of what Amazon has done lately with pushing into electronic books with the Kindle and hosting Web 2.0 services like EC2, S3, and its recently launched Flexible Payment Service.

AbeBooks has generally stuck to its roots, by creating a thriving marketplace for rare and used book sellers worldwide. It is not clear if there will be any direct benefits of this acquisition by Amazon for the merchants on AbeBooks, though chances are that Amazon is going to start integrating the AbeBooks inventory into its own store. This will give the AbeBooks sellers access a far larger market to sell to than just the AbeBooks community, though many of them were already listing their inventory on Amazon (and other services like Alibris and Biblio.com anyway).

Currently, there are over 110 million books from over 13,000 sellers available on the site. Besides AbeBooks, the company also runs the book search aggregation site BookFinder and provides a sales and inventory management through Fillz.com.

AbeBooks also has a very active user community. Judging from the email AbeBooks send out to its sellers, it would seem that nothing much is going to change on the site for now and that the management team at AbeBooks is also going to remain in place.

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