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For release: May 13, 2004


The world’s largest online marketplace for books exemplifies a profound cultural shift in how people think about used books

(Victoria, BC, CANADA, May 13, 2004) – In response to three recent studies on the new and used book market, Abebooks confirms that online sales for used books are reaching new, never-before-seen heights. In fact, the company reports growth far beyond this week’s reported findings.

The three studies released this week and last, present findings on the state of the US book market and were conducted by Ipsos-Reid BookTrendsSM, the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), and Book Hunter Press.

Each study concludes that used books are taking market share from new book markets. However, Hannes Blum, CEO and president of online used book marketplace Abebooks, suggests that each study has underestimated the potential of the used book market.

“These studies show a very important trend,” explains Blum. “We’ve seen it coming: last year the number of used books sold on rose to heights well-beyond what the current studies are showing. Selection and price are the key drivers for online used books sales. Whether you’re an avid reader, a student, or a serious collector—everyone likes to find a treasure and a bargain.”

The Ipsos Insight study (April 29) shows the number of used books bought by consumers between April and December 2003 increased 5% over the same period the year before, while demand for new books fell by 2%. The BISG study, “Book Industry Trends 2004” (May 14) identifies used books as the biggest factor affecting the new book market. The Book Hunter Press Study “A Portrait of the U.S. Used Book Market” (May 10) confirms Abebooks position as leader in the field by showing that 79% of all online used book sellers list their books on (followed by Amazon and Barnes & Noble).

Even in the area of gift books—approximately 14% of all books bought—Abebooks notes that used books are now seen as a unique gift option.

“We’re seeing a cultural shift,” explains marketing director Lisa Stevens. “People don’t feel that “used” is a dirty word anymore. Over 78% of buyers on say they’d be thrilled to receive a used book as a gift.”

Two areas of rising demand for used books are childrens books and textbooks. Adults are purchasing the books they read as children to give to their own children. Since over 95% of all books ever published are now out of print, the main source for these books is with used, rare and out-of-print book sellers online. Sales of used textbooks are soaring now that students can visit one site to search the books of 12,000 small sellers on

Related findings from the studies mentioned:
1. Overall, the used book market accounted for 14% of general trade book sales, gaining one full share point since 2002.* Abebooks predicts additional growth in the used book market for 2004, fuelled by increasing international acceptance of shopping for books online.

2. Annual consumer expenditures for books will reach $44 billion by 2008** Abebooks has discovered that demand for used books remains largely unaffected by economic downturns and may in fact, be enhanced by them

3. The Internet has brought hundreds of thousands of new books buyers to the used book market***The number of unique monthly visitors to has grown beyond 4 million, with growth in book buyers from outside of North America Excerpts from *Ipsos BookTrendsSM © Ipsos Reid, USA, **BISC TRENDS 2004, ***Portrait of the US Used Book Market, © Book Hunter Press.

About Abebooks
Abebooks is the world's largest online marketplace for books. Abebooks makes it simple and safe to find and buy-or list and sell-new, used, rare, and out-of-print books online. Bookbuyers love the variety of over 50 million books offered by more than 12,000 independent booksellers. Booksellers love Abebooks for providing the tools to help them succeed online. Abebooks offers a range of services including dedicated support, HomeBase inventory management software, options for selling via strategic partners (Amazon, Barnes & Noble), and four international sites (,,, Abebooks is a private company based in Victoria, BC Canada, with offices in Düsseldorf, Germany.

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Media Contacts:
Marci Crossan, Abebooks Media Relations Tel: (+1) 250 412-3258

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Abebooks Contact

Abebooks Europe GmbH
Ronsdorfer Str. 77a
40233 Düsseldorf

Phone: ++49-(0)211-7117069-40
Fax: ++49-(0)211-7117069-19

UID: DE 203 584 970

Management Board:
Hannes Blum, Ulrich Brand
Amtsgericht Düsseldorf
HRB 378 99