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Second-hand Books go Global

23 September 2002

In a move that is sure to stoke controversy about online sales of second-hand books, Abebooks, the American used book site, has announced an alliance with giant online bookseller Amazon, to be called Amazon Marketplace. This will enable the thousands of booksellers who currently list their used, rare and out-of-print books on Abebooks sites to access Amazon's huge customer base. Since Abebooks exists to connect booksellers to book-buyers, this will mean that the 40 million books available through their site from 10,000 booksellers all over the world will all now be available via Amazon.

At Abebooks the book-buyer will still be able to access the global information bank, but certain national sites will also provide access to books of more domestic interest ( in the US, for the UK, for Germany and for France).

This move reinforces the view that Amazon now has an unbeatable lead in the race to dominate online bookselling (see News Review 9 September 2002), but it will also be of concern to authors' organisations, which have already voiced their anxiety about the potential loss of royalty income for authors which will probably result from the more active global selling of used books (News Review 22 April 2002).