Amazon buys Abebooks and a bit of Librarything

Eoin Purcell

Smart Move
By buying Abebooks which is cool but never really rocked my world, Amazon gets closer to the treasure trove that is LibraryThing.

Techcrunch, Techvibes and

What does it all mean?
I’ve been talking about LibraryThing since 2006 and finally realised what it was in 2007. If we are to believe Tim Spadling (and I would on this), it will mean very little for LibraryThing:

I congratulate Amazon on a shrewd acquisition. Abebooks is a great company, full of wonderful people. They have accomplished great things (link). I have no inside info, but I can foresee Amazon’s extraordinary technical infrastructure giving Abe a big lift.
Here’s the scoop:

* 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., Abebooks.com, Abebooks.de). Nothing has changed here.
* Abebooks customers won’t see much a difference. The name will survive and the Abebooks.com 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.

For the online second hand book market though it’s a fairly big deal. Abebooks was pretty much Amazon’s only sizeable competitor outside of eBay and perhaps Alibris. With their acquisition, Amazon has built itself a nicely monopolistic position in that market.

My thoughts on this are good and bad. I’m happy to think that LibraryThing has an insulation (though I do think eventually the logic [AND VALUE] of LibraryThings development will result in LT joining Amazon) but I’m saddened that the second hand and rare book market is a little shallower.

Work weary after one day, strongly recommend this place if one is staying in the Loire.
Eoin

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