Amazon Acquires Abe

SEATTLE & VICTORIA, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 1, 2008–, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), today announced that, subject to closing conditions, it has reached an agreement to acquire AbeBooks. AbeBooks is an online marketplace for books, with over 110 million primarily used, rare and out-of-print books listed for sale by thousands of independent booksellers from around the world.

“As a leader in rare and hard-to-find books, AbeBooks brings added breadth and expanded selection to our customers worldwide,” said Russell Grandinetti, vice president of books for “AbeBooks provides a wide range of services to both sellers and customers, and we look forward to working with them to further grow their business. We're excited to present all of our customers with the widest selection of books available any place on Earth.”

“This deal brings together book sellers and book lovers from around the world, and offers both types of customers a great experience,” said Hannes Blum, chief executive officer of AbeBooks. “We are very excited to be joining the Amazon family.”

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close before the end of the fourth quarter of 2008.

AbeBooks will continue to function as a stand-alone operation based in Victoria, British Columbia. AbeBooks will maintain all of its websites, including its Canadian website with Canada-specific content, such as reviews of Canadian-authored books and interviews of Canadian writers.

[press release]

Thoughts? I like AbeBooks because they are local and were the pioneers of online used book selling, but their website doesn't have the detailed product information and general slickness I've gotten used to with Amazon. Perhaps that will change now. The main downside I see is that one good earthquake could knock out the entire system in one blow! Not that I'd care since I live on the same subduction zone and would have my own technical difficulties to worry about in that event…


UPDATE: Book Patrol has some thoughts on this, uh, “seismic event.”


10 comments on “Amazon Acquires Abe

  1. wil says:

    I don't know that I've ever actually ordered anything via AbeBooks (or Alibris, etc.). But I have ordered used through Amazon on several occasions, so I'm happy.
    But I won't be truly satisfied until Amazon carries Crodino!
    You be careful up there! Do you get occasional earthquakes?

  2. Sylvia says:

    Heh. You and your Crodino. Is it really that good?
    Apparently we had a small earthquake just the other day, but I didn't feel it. I've only felt (and heard) one earthquake here, but it was small. We are due for a big one any day now.

  3. Danielle says:

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. I actually use Alibris and AbeBooks a lot at work and sometimes for myself. I only get a little antsy when one company owns everthing. I didn't realize you lived in Western Canada. For some reason I thought you were on Ontario. Tornadoes are bad enough, I don't think I'd like earthquakes at all.

  4. Sylvia says:

    I don't think I'd like Ontario mosquitoes at all! πŸ˜€

  5. Stefanie says:

    I've used AbeBooks before but prefer Alibris because they seem to have more hard-to-find books and better prices. But I still can't help feeling a little sad at the news. Smaller companies getting swallowed up by bigger companies in the book industry always gives me a little twinge.

  6. After reading the first half of the post, I had no idea it would turn to seismic catastrophe at the end. I like the 1965 mark on Seattle. We had a big one to announce my birth. Perhaps the next monster in Seattle will happen to announce my departure, since they are pretty rare. My father, the structural engineer, keeps reminding us that we should expect one soon.

  7. Sylvia says:

    Heh. You should always be prepared for earthquakes, especially in Japan! πŸ˜‰

  8. wil says:

    Is it really that good? Well, it's quite good and unavailable…and as everyone knows, absence makes the heart grow fonder. πŸ˜‰

  9. Mallory says:

    I don't claim to know anything about this stuff, but here is my gut reaction: I don't like that big Amazon now has control of one of the largest independent retail outlets available. It seems like another step closer to the loss of more independent bookstores.

  10. Sylvia says:

    Isn't Amazon technically independent too since it is not owned by another corporation? Well, there's no question that e-commerce and economies of scale have made small book stores uncompetitive. Ironically, ABE is as much to “blame” since they pioneered online used bookselling, kicking off the downward slide in prices. Unless we get rid of the internet I don't see a way back for most small bookstores. I think specialty stores with an online presence have the best chance of surviving.

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