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News Release: December 1, 2003


(Victoria BC, December 3, 2003), the Victoria-based website for used, rare and out-of-print books, today announced the surprising results of a recent buyer survey. Eighty percent of survey respondents say they regularly purchase used books as gifts for others, and 70% said they would be happy to receive a used book as a gift.

"We're amazed-these results reveal a shift in consumer perception. Finally the stigma of giving a used book as a gift has lifted," explained Marci Crossan, Abebooks spokesperson.

One reason for this change in consumer beliefs relates to how collecting books has shed its reputation of being a hobby for old people. More than 95% of survey respondents over the age of eighteen described themselves as book collectors.

"Ten years ago a book collector was seen as a hardcore connoisseur with specialized knowledge of rare books based on years of study," explains Crossan. "Today, our survey reveals that people identify themselves as book collectors when they discover a favourite author-such as Toni Morrison, Carl Hiaasen, or Patrick O'Brian-and collect all their books, whether these are used paperbacks or signed first editions."

Several factors have helped create this new climate:

  • the Internet makes it easy to see which rare books exist in the world and how they're priced;
  • baby-boomers are seeking books they read as children to give their own kids and are collecting nostalgic titles (i.e. Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew);
  • international bestsellers like the Harry Potter and Lord of the Ring books have ignited global excitement about books and the value of collecting rare editions;
  • television programs featuring on-the-spot book and antique appraisals support the popular idea that anyone might have a collectible book treasure in their attic.

The survey was completed online at by over 2,000 people during October and November 2003. Additional survey results are available from Abebooks.

About Abebooks
Abebooks is the world's largest online marketplace for secondhand, rare, and out-of-print books with over 50 million books listed by 12,000 independent booksellers. Abebooks is a global company based in Victoria, BC, with sites dedicated to bookbuyers in North America (, the UK (, France (, and Germany ( Through strategic partnerships with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and eBay, Abebooks has become the most important virtual supplier of used books while expanding sales avenues for booksellers.

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Marci Crossan
Media Relations
Tel: +1-250-412-3258
Fax: +1-250-475-6014

#4 - 410 Garbally Rd.
Victoria, BC
V8T 2K1