Hundreds of Antiquarian Booksellers Fight Amazon Subsidiary’s Recent Decision

Several weeks ago AbeBooks (owned by Amazon since 2008) announced to vendors from the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Korea, and Russia they wouldn’t be welcome on this book selling platform starting the end of November:

“Effective November 30, 2018, AbeBooks will no longer support sellers located in certain countries. Your business is located in one of the affected countries and your AbeBooks seller account will be closed on November 30, 2018. We apologize for this inconvenience.”

International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) has tried to reach AbeBooks to clarify the situation. Here is the reply they received:

AbeBooks statement as of 27 October 2018: 

We recently announced to sellers in certain countries that AbeBooks will no longer be able to support them effective November 30, 2018. This included 4 countries with national associations that are members of ILAB: Czech Republic, Hungary, South Korea, Russia.

We sincerely regret having to take this action but it is no longer viable for us to operate in these countries due to increasing costs and complexities. 

We continue to support sellers in all other 18 of the 22 countries with national associations that are members of ILAB (i.e. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States).

Any ILAB affiliated seller in any country with questions about this change is invited to reach out to me directly (email: [email protected]), and I’ll be happy to help them. We highly value our relationships to ILAB affiliated sellers because they offer unique selection and adhere to the highest standards, and we will continue to search for ways to support sellers from a greater selection of countries.

While AbeBooks is a privately owned company, many of the booksellers would like to get some explanation on the reasons for this ban. By the morning of the 5th of November more than 300 booksellers decided to put their stocks in a vacation mode in protest to the actions of Amazon’s subsidiary. Starting today, they unite for a Banned Bookstores Week:

ILAB hasn’t supported the strike yet. However, more than 10% of the Association’s members already are among the 300+ booksellers joining the protest.

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (London), announced last week it is dropping AbeBooks as a sponsor of its 2019 book fair:

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association is proud to be part of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, which represents the booksellers of 36 countries.

Following a successful partnership with AbeBooks for our 2018 summer fair, we were saddened to learn that from November 30th 2018, AbeBooks will no longer support ILAB booksellers in certain countries, with a significant negative impact on the businesses of our friends and colleagues.

Our mission is to champion the highest standards of rare bookselling across the world, irrespective of location.  Sadly we feel that AbeBooks is not a suitable fair sponsor for us at this time and so have decided not to renew our sponsorship agreement for the 2019 Firsts book fair.  We hope very much that AbeBooks will find a solution to accommodate all ILAB booksellers.  

Amor librorum nos unit. 
The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA)

In total, vendors from more than 20 countries, are pulling more than 1 million books from AbeBooks for this week’s action.

Find out more:

Updated on the 6th of November, 2018

More than 500 booksellers now joined the protest, taking at least 3,3 million books out of the circulation.

Updated on the 8th of November, 2018

Following the protest, AbeBooks decided not to proceed with their plans to seize their operations in the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Korea, and Russia.

Read more:

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