ABEbooks - Is it worth it?


Hi. Does anyone have any experience selling on ABEbooks? How do sales compare to Amazon? I’m just trying to work out if it’s worth the monthly fees - I believe it’s £17 for 0-500 listings. I sell mainly academic books and have just over 300 in stock - I sell about 20% each month. I may wait until my stock increases as I’ve heard varying reports of success on ABE.


We’ve been selling on Abe for years. It’s not as good as it was, but more academic books tend to do better on there.
You could also try alibris & biblio, who do commission-only listings, so although sales are fewer, there’s no listing fee
Good luck


Your book should sell well over there, give it a go, you need to know for yourself any not rely on hearsay.


As a competitor once said to me, a little here and a little there, all adds up :slight_smile:


Thanks for the suggestions Cibba. Does Abe tend to be the most popular out of those three? I read somewhere Abe is better for book sales than Ebay - Academic books anyway.

Edited by: James on Apr 16, 2016 11:55 AM


I think you’ll probably sell about one book on Abe for every ten sold on Amazon. However, it will be the higher value stuff that tends to go. Also in Abe’s flavour there is a minimum price per book, and - as I understand it - no automated price reducing software to destroy everyone’s profits.


Abe does have the facility that allows you to ask for extra shipping for heavy books, tracking & so on, & to set postage for various countries. And no feedback to worry about.
By the way, sad to hear you are retiring. All the best for the future


Thanks. ;o)

49 years in the full-time workforce, so I reckon I’ve done my bit.


I’ve sold on both venues for many years. Amazon consistently out-performs Abe, and it does so over a wide range of books. With academic books I would expect to sell three times as many on Amazon as on Abe - and of course, you don’t know how many people look on both sites before ordering.

One benefit is adjusting your price to each site, but that might just drive particular customers from one site to the other where the price is cheaper.

If you’re selling 60 a month on Amazon, you might sell 20 on Abe - but perhaps 75 in total.

Do the sums.


Abe used to represent 30% our sales and 65% of our profit.

It now represents 10% of our sales and 10% of our profit.

The problem is the same megalisters and dropshippers as on Amazon driving prices down.

Yes, there is a minimum price but the commission can be pretty brutal. The fees are the most expensive of any of the big platforms.

What’s more, because people can set their own shipping rates, the minimum price, - the bottom everyone is racing towards - is lower than on Amazon.

There used to some perks - affialiate programmes and the like - but they’ve gone by the wayside for UK sellers.

It’s also fair to say that their customer service gives even less of a f*ck than Amazon.

If you’ve got common or garden stock, it might not be worth the time and bother.

However, once you’ve formatted your upload files you can use them on Alibris and Biblio.

Biblio is OK with occasional flashes of “wow!”. If you turnover less than $250 a month there (IIRC), the zero listing fee option is worthwhile. There’s also commission free dealer-to-dealer sales and, again, you can set your own shipping fees.

Alibris is, IMHO, the best. True, you have deal with numpty Amsrican buyers - who don’t realise there are sellers outside the US - and Barnes and Nobel customer services, who are wanted for crimes against humanity on three continents, but the profits more than make up for the occasional inconvenience.

Mind you, ebay is doing well for us at the moment…

Edited by: El Loro2 on Apr 16, 2016 1:50 PM


>no automated price reducing software to destroy everyone’s profits.

Oh yes, there is. It’s just not used as aggressively as on Amazon.

There’s also the matter of the stock photographs they use. Cue a return because the cover is different in 3, 2, 1…


What is the minimum price on ABE?

I bought a book there yesterday for £2.04 with free postage, so whatever minimum there is must be meaningless.

As a buyer, the 5% Topcashback on ABE is a nice bonus.


"You could also try alibris & biblio, who do commission-only listings"
Please allow me a correction about Alibris, where I’ve been selling for almost 6 years.
There’s an annual fee of $ 19.99, for casual sellers, and a monthly fee for professional sellers, plus a commission on every sale.


I will miss your box of free books outside the shop bishopston - I’ve made one or two good sales from the stuff I’ve had from there!


I’m pleased to hear it. I’ve always had many more books than I know what to do with. Over the next few weeks, as I clear out the shop for my incoming tenant, there will be a great increase in the number of free books out the front. ;o)


You may be correct. We recently changed our selling type to basic, as we had the first negative balance in 18 years, & threatened to leave. As i recall, it is commission only, but i could wel be wrong.
It’s sad to see the decline of Alibris - from several m-bags a week to 2 or 3 books a day. And it was noticeable that when we were acting as European returns agent for them that numbers of returns had dropped off sharply, indicting a general deecline in sales.


Abebooks is great for books that are uncommon - i.e. I use it to purchase books that were released in America but not here and often find it is cheaper on Abebooks for these kind of books than it is on Amazon.


When I started with Alibris, the relative sales were 10% of Amazon’s.
Now, they are less than 5%.


17 month old thread.


We sell on both abe and Amazon. We use abe for more “collectable” books, including first editions, signed books, antiquarian, obscure texts, foreign translations, etc, while we use Amazon mostly for non-fiction, Academic, University presses, esoterica, etc. We don’t sell normal fiction on Amazon as most books sell too cheaply to make it worth listing, often as low as a penny.