1. Managing Your Inventory

Regular inventory maintenance on AbeBooks contributes to a successful bookselling experience. When inventory is properly maintained, there are fewer misunderstandings between buyers and sellers, a reduced chance of duplicate orders, and fewer rejected orders. Inventory updates should be made frequently to avoid any of these problems. AbeBooks reserves the right to control inventory update schedules for specific booksellers in order to ensure quick processing times.

a. Vacation Status
If booksellers are not available to answer inquiries, process orders or ship books for more than two days, AbeBooks requires booksellers to use the "Vacation" program. While in "Vacation" status, inventory is temporarily removed from the AbeBooks Web sites and member information in the "stores" tab indicates that the bookseller is unavailable to fill orders.

b. Upload Frequency
Booksellers are required to update their inventory frequently to ensure orders are not received for books that may have been sold elsewhere. The frequency of uploading is dependent upon the number of books, the average number of books sold per day, and the number of optional programs in which each bookseller participates. We recommend booksellers use incremental updates at least once a day if listing through several venues, or if sales are made through a brick-and-mortar store.

AbeBooks automatically removes books from the online inventory as soon as they are sold through our Web sites or our Bookseller Programs. Booksellers must also mark items as sold in their own inventory management software. If books are not marked as sold, they may re-appear on our Web sites after the next upload. Sold book listings in bookseller's inventory management programs should not be deleted without first being marked as sold and uploaded to AbeBooks.

c. Purging and Reloading
Purging is not to be used as a method of inventory management; rather, it is a feature to be utilized on a periodic basis (every 3 or 4 months) to ensure the inventory in a bookseller’s system is synchronized with the AbeBooks online inventory.

Files processed with a purge request take much longer to process than incremental update files and can negatively impact order fulfillment in our Bookseller programs. An incremental update file contains only recently changed (added, updated or sold) books, requires less processing time and therefore ensures that bookseller inventories are updated on AbeBooks' Web sites.

d. Requirements for spreadsheet or database users

  • All files need to be saved in tab-delimited text format
  • Status field to indicate "for sale" or "sold"
  • Unique book IDs for each item.
    • The book ID may be in numeric, alpha, or alphanumeric format to a maximum of 15 characters, but cannot be re-used.
    • AbeBooks cannot guarantee the integrity of inventory data if book numbers are re-used. (Re-use is defined as assigning a previously used book ID to a book of a different title, and can result in the new record not appearing on AbeBooks.)

e. Changing Software

  • Booksellers are required to notify AbeBooks if they plan to change the format or layout of their inventory files. If notification is not provided, the AbeBooks system will not recognize the changes, and file processing will automatically fail. The updates will subsequently not appear on the AbeBooks Web sites.
  • A status field to indicate "for sale" or "sold" is required for all inventory management systems.

f. ISBN Matching
In order to ensure that all books are searchable through our web sites, we will match books that do not have an ISBN assigned by the bookseller with our ISBN data. This is to allow buyers to search using ISBN criteria only, and ensures all book results will be displayed. The ISBN we assign does not display with the search results.

g. Catalog Requirements
To ensure quick file processing times and promote a better browsing experience for buyers, booksellers can list up to 100 catalogs in their account. Booksellers listing more than 100 catalogs will be asked to reduce their catalog count to that number.

h. Backup of Data
Booksellers are responsible for maintaining a current backup copy of their inventory on their own computer. AbeBooks is not responsible for lost or inaccurate information. Booksellers should not rely on the ability to download their inventory from AbeBooks' Web site as a method for recovering a backup copy of their data. Upon upload, the data is converted from its original format to AbeBooks format and some information (such as location and the price originally paid for a book) is not stored in our system. Booksellers also cannot download their sold books from our Web site.

Booksellers are also required to maintain back-up copies of photos that they upload to the AbeBooks Web site.