Banned booksellers week

Tuesday, Nov 06, 2018

Hordern House has joined more than 275 booksellers from 24 different countries are removing their book inventory from the Amazon subsidiary Abebooks.com in support of their colleagues in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, and South Korea, who are banned from the site effective November 30. Abebooks is the world’s largest online marketplace devoted exclusively to books. Amazon acquired the company ten years ago this month.

In an official statement to the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), Udo Göllmann, a senior Abebooks official responsible for rare and collectible books, explained that it is “no longer viable for us to operate in these countries due to increasing costs and complexities.” In a second statement, Abebooks clarified that it recently selected a new credit card processor that does not offer services in a number of European and Asian countries. Inexpicably, Abebooks’ parent company, Amazon, allows booksellers on its site from all of the affected countries.

Jan Schick of Antikvariát Valentinská, one of the largest antiquarian booksellers in Prague, expects to lay off as many as five employees when their Abebooks account is closed at the end of November. For fifteen years, Schick offered books for sale on ZVAB, a bookselling site focused on Germany, Austria, and Eastern European countries. It was acquired by Abebooks and then merged into the larger company.

For the week of November 5 to 11, 2018, booksellers around the world will remove their inventory from Abebooks in a show of support for their colleagues. Booksellers are also asking their customers to take a week’s vacation from Abebooks and patronize independent sites like Biblio.com, which is offering discounted subscription rates to booksellers affected by the Abebooks ban.