11/05/2018 at 10:19 am #51199
I’m shocked this has gotten major press. It has been a topic I’ve seen kicked around bookselling groups for the past few weeks, with word of a protest starting at the end of last week. To gain such momentum in only a few days with attention from the NY Times is startling!
SAN FRANCISCO — More than 250 antiquarian book dealers in 24 countries say they are pulling over a million books off an Amazon-owned site for a week, an impromptu protest after the site abruptly moved to ban sellers from several nations.
The flash strike against the site, AbeBooks, which is due to begin Monday, is a rare concerted action by vendors against any part of Amazon, which depends on third-party sellers for much of its merchandise and revenue. The protest arrives as increasing attention is being paid to the extensive power that Amazon wields as a retailer — a power that is greatest in books.
The stores are calling their action Banned Booksellers Week. The protest got its start after AbeBooks sent emails last month to booksellers in countries including South Korea, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia to say that it would no longer “support” them. “We apologize for this inconvenience,” the company said.
11/05/2018 at 11:35 am #51209
I read the article earlier. Im confused why Abebooks (aka Amazon) decided to remove sellers from certain countries. It’s just online listings and then shipped by the local book sellers. Whats the issue?
11/05/2018 at 11:57 am #51215
From this website:
“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.”
What’s interesting is that Amazon is still selling in all of these countries themselves. They have not offered a clear explanation why sellers on Abebooks from these countries are not allowed to sell directly through Abebooks.
11/05/2018 at 5:36 pm #51247
Yeah, thats the weird thing. All Abebooks has to do is have server space for listings. Then handle the transaction. Costs are minimal. Something else is happening.
11/05/2018 at 5:36 pm #51246TerriParticipant
11/06/2018 at 2:55 am #51266Antique FrogParticipant
- Location: Leicester
The list of four countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, South Korea, Russia) seems a bit random to me. It seems that this list is incomplete, and other countries are affected. I wonder if it’s a language thing, in that Amazon may have gone to a third-party payment service with insufficient translation services.
11/07/2018 at 7:09 pm #51377
Looks like the protest was effective!
From an email list I’m on that includes ILAB subscribers (I am not a member of ILAB):
It is with great pleasure I report to you that the booksellers in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia and South Korea will be able to continue to trade on ABE Books into the future if they wish to. They will not be cut off this month nor in the future.
Fabrizio Govi (ILAB Vice President), Angelika Elstner (ILAB Executive Secretary) and I have just finished a meeting with the CEO of ABE Books Arkady Vitrouk and Udo G?llman.
The meeting began with Arkady Vitrouk apologising for the behaviour of ABE Books in announcing that they would withdraw their services to our colleagues in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia and South Korea. He then went on to absolutely assure us that none of the booksellers, neither ILAB members or others will have to stop trading on ABE. They will now also continue to allow the booksellers in other countries, Poland for example, where there is no ILAB affiliated association to trade as well. Arkady told us that ABE are very well aware of the mistake they have made. He stated that it was a “bad decision” and that they deeply regret the hurt and harm they have caused. Throughout the meeting Arkady and Udo were keen to make amends. During the meeting there was none of the corporate speak that the statements issued earlier contained. They did not avoid questions, rush us or in any way try to defend their actions. Arkady apologised a number of times. All questions were answered carefully and they were prepared to answer all of the questions we put to them.
The root of the problem is ABE’s enforced shift to a new payment system as their current payment system closes at the end of the year. Angelika, who took notes throughout the meeting, will be in touch soon with more details but I wanted to make sure you immediately heard the result of the meeting.
We also talked briefly about some of the other issues that annoy the trade. Arkady assured us that they were aware of the issues we touched on and they very much want to work with us. They have a long list of improvements and they are working on them. He is keen to continue to talk and we felt this was genuine. I should also add that the meeting took place at 4.30am for Arkady such was the importance of it to ABE.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who participated in this extraordinary and unprecedented protest. Without your voices and “vacationing” books we would never have gained the media interest. Without the protests on the list and the media attention I know we would not have so easily got this excellent outcome. I wish to thank and acknowledge the outstanding contribution of Simon Beattie in his call to join him in putting our books on “vacation”. I would like to thank the ABA for their decision to no longer accept ABE sponsorship which was another very significant factor in too. There are very many others without whom this dramatic turn around would not have happened. I wish to thank the actions of the National Association presidents in spreading the word. And, vitally, every single person who wrote an email, withdrew their books, spoke to customers or the media, worked on the spreadsheet or any other of the many, many things that made this campaign so powerful. This historic, unprecendented action is a success for us all.
In light of the very good resolution and goodwill shown by ABE Books I have decided that tomorrow when I get up (it is just before 2am now here) I will put my books back to work on ABE.
Very best wishes to all
11/07/2018 at 8:37 pm #51386
I still don’t understand how any online payment system worth using couldn’t handle the countries involved. Very weird.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.