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For release: April 20, 2004

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BILL: READERS CELEBRATE WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S FOUR-HUNDRED-AND-FORTIETH BIRTHDAY-BUT WON'T PAY $2 MILLION FOR A COPY OF HAMLET

(VICTORIA, BC, CANADA - April 23, 2004)-AbeBooks.com, the world's largest online marketplace for books, is celebrating the 440ieth anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth this week with a special feature on his writing, including a focus on rare and highly collectible items.

"He's right up there with Tolkien and JK Rowling as one of the most-searched for authors on AbeBooks.com," explains Lisa Stevens, AbeBooks Director of Marketing. "Everyday we see hundreds of people searching for and finding books under his name in our database of 50 million books-from students writing term papers to collectors looking for rare folios of his plays."

Shakespeare's ongoing popularity makes him a favorite among collectors. A rare copy of "Hamlet" was recently valued between $1.5 and $2 million by Christies auction house. Bids for the second edition from 1611 reached $1.2 million but failed to meet the minimum price set by the seller.

AbeBooks.com currently lists over forty thousand copies of books by or about Shakespeare for sale in English, French, German, Spanish, Turkish, Latin, Finish and Greek. Prices range from one dollar for a paperback of "Othello" to $129,558.65 for a gilt-panelled folio of his plays. Interesting copies for sale on AbeBooks.com include:

  • "Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies." By William Shakespeare $129,558.65 (1685). Folio in sixes, in late nineteenth-century gilt panelled calf, this edition was the last in so grand a format and the last in Shakespeare's own century. AbeBooks bookseller: Bernard Quaritch, London, England
  • "The Tempest." By William Shakespeare, illustrated by Marc Chagall $ 7,000.00 (1975). One of the most visually exciting editions of "The Tempest." One of 250 copies illustrated and signed by French artist Marc Chagall with 50 original lithographs in tissue wrappers. AbeBooks bookseller: Black Sun Books, New York, NY
  • "Cryptomenytices et cryptographiae libri IX." By Augustus II, duke of Brunswick-Luneburg
    $13,500.00 (1624). A central document for the argument that Francis Bacon was the true author of Shakespeare's plays, and one of the most famous works on cryptography (the art of solving codes via writing). AbeBooks bookseller: Manhattan Rare Book Company, New York, NY
    AbeBooks' celebration of Shakespeare's birthday also coincides with World Book Day: a day established by UNESCO to encourage everyone to discover the joy of reading through local events on April 23.

About AbeBooks
AbeBooks is the world's largest online marketplace for books with over 50 million books listed by over 12,000 booksellers. AbeBooks connects those who buy books with those who sell books, providing abundant selection at affordable prices. AbeBooks is a global company headquartered in Victoria, BC Canada, with sites dedicated to bookbuyers in North America (AbeBooks.com), the UK (AbeBooks.co.uk), Germany (AbeBooks.de) and France (AbeBooks.fr). Through strategic partnerships AbeBooks has become the most important virtual supplier of used books while expanding selling avenues for independent booksellers.
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Contacts
Richard Davies, PR & Publicity Mgr., AbeBooks.com
Ph: 250-412-3238
rdavies@abebooks.com

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