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Attention: News Editors/Books Editors

In response to recent articles about whether charities enjoy an unfair advantage over independent booksellers when selling secondhand books, have issued the following press statement:


For Immediate Release:

Statement Issued by Press Office - Tuesday May 18, 2004

"As an open marketplace, Abebooks accepts all booksellers who are ready and able to sell books in good faith in the online world.

We are proud to maintain our "open arms" status and we currently help small booksellers and charities alike sell books online. All sellers enjoy the same affordable book listing fees, and none receive preferential deals or discounts.

With a body of over twelve thousand booksellers listing books on Abebooks, we feel a responsibility to help ALL of our sellers succeed online. In doing so, it is also important that we help amplify their voices on important issues.

On this issue there are many voices.

The question of whether charities enjoy an unfair advantage over independent booksellers when selling secondhand books, is part of today's lively debate in the UK bookselling world.

Some booksellers suggest that the donated books that charities receive for free, their volunteer staff, and the reduced Business tax rates that charity shops enjoy, create an unfair competitive environment.

Other sellers agree that this is true, but choose instead to applaud the good works that charities do with the funds earned from book sales.

There are many other opinions that booksellers raise, ranging from appreciation for the way charity bookshops have raised the profile of second hand books, to being thankful that charities have brought their pricing more in line with market levels, to lamenting that this means fewer treasures for the knowledgeable book hunter to source at charity shops.

All booksellers are keen to sell books, whether the earnings go towards charitable work, toward keeping a bookshop open, or toward supporting a reading habit.

Beneath this debate runs a positive thread for all sellers: the market for secondhand books continues to grow. The demand for used, rare and out-of-print books continues to rise.

The Internet has created an international marketplace where book buyers seek the best book at the best price from the best bookseller. And yet this hasn't changed from how shopping was traditionally done. Just as each book buyer walking the high street chooses which shop to enter based on their beliefs, whims, and conveniences, so too do shoppers make these same choices online. Abebooks makes this possible by showing the name and location of each bookseller. It really is a choice for each buyer to make.

Do we avoid the issue by suggesting it's the buyers' choice that determines which bookseller thrives? No. We simply hope that by bringing light to both sides of the debate we can help bookbuyers make their own best decision when buying secondhand books."

Respectfully signed,

All of us at

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 - books online.
Bookbuyers love the variety of over 50 million new, secondhand, rare, and out-of-print 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 Dusseldorf, Germany.


Media contact: Marci Crossan, Abebooks, tel:(+1)250 412-3258

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

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Management Board:
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