Acquiring Abebooks

Posted Aug 1, 2008, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is buying 13 year old online retail company,  Abebooks is based out of Victoria, British Columbia.  Abebooks sells 110 million books, employs 120 people, and has a relationship with 13,000 booksellers.  Abebooks started around the same time as  Amazon launched in 1994 and AbeBooks launched in 1996.

AbeBooks partially owns LibraryThing, a book social network. had also previously invested in Shelfari, another book social network.  Abebooks built themselves without venture capital.  AbeBooks made $190 million last year from book sales.

The financial terms of the acquisition were undisclosed.

Update: Tim Spalding, founder of LibraryThing, provided further insight into the deal (see comment #1).

Here is some additional information from Tim Spalding:

– LibraryThing did not have any knowledge of or influence over this deal.
– The majority of LibraryThing is in my hands. Abebooks holds a minority of the shares, with certain notable but limited rights. This situation does not change when Amazon acquires Abebooks.
– Amazon will not get access to your data. The LibraryThing/Abebooks terms are specific. Abe gets only anonymized and aggregate data, like recommendations, and they can only use it on Abebooks sites (eg.,, Nothing has changed here.
– Abebooks customers won’t see much a difference. The name will survive and the site will continue. Both employees and management will remain in Canada.
– LibraryThing remains LibraryThing. We will continue to uphold and advance LibraryThing values, including open data, strict privacy rules and support for libraries and independent bookstores.

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