We've come a long way since 1996! The face of AbeBooks may have changed over the years, but our commitment to independent booksellers and book lovers from around the world has not. See our web site's evolution in the screenshots below.
AbeBooks Homepage, 1996
  • Keith and Cathy Waters and Rick and Vivian Pura, the founders of AbeBooks.com, spend all their spare time developing and testing the web site before going live in June. [Meet the Founders]
  • The first four booksellers on the site are Cathy’s Timeless Books plus Wells Books, Russell Books, Renaissance Books, and another bookseller called Heather Graham – all from Victoria, BC. [Meet the First Booksellers]
  • The company’s first office is located in a corner of its Internet service provider’s office.
  • AbeBooks’ book inventory management software, HomeBase 1.0, is launched.
  • By the end of the year, two million books are already listed for sale and the future is looking bright. Keith and Rick feel secure enough to give up their day jobs as IT contractors for the British Columbia provincial government.
AbeBooks Homepage, 1997
  • In August, AbeBooks throws a party to celebrate recruiting their 1000th bookseller.
  • The company has expanded into two offices below a Fitness World gym.
  • Cathy Waters closes Timeless Books and joins AbeBooks full-time.
  • Word is rapidly spreading through North America’s used bookselling community about AbeBooks with dozens of sellers signing up each day.
AbeBooks Homepage, 1998
  • The inventory book count breaks through 10 million and goes to 12 million by the end of year.
  • AbeBooks’ own staff continues to grow as the marketplace becomes more popular.
  • Kathy Dick, AbeBooks' longest-serving employee, joins the team. The office is moved to Garbally Road.
  • By now, AbeBooks is larger than the founders had ever imagined.
AbeBooks Homepage, 1999
  • AbeBooks alters its business model by moving to a full e-commerce operation – previously sellers had paid monthly fees to list their books.
  • Over 18 million books are being offered by the end of the year.
AbeBooks Homepage, 2000
  • The inventory hits 20 million books in July with 6,300 booksellers now using the site.
  • By the end of the year, AbeBooks offers over 23 million books.
  • HomeBase 2.0 is launched
  • Customer support team grows to 20 employees and now provides 24-hour support.
AbeBooks Homepage, 2001
  • After using various sites around Victoria, the company moves its offices to 410 Garbally Road.
  • In May, Brent James takes over as CEO.
  • In October, AbeBooks buys JustBooks.com – one of Europe’s leading online marketplaces for used and antiquarian booksellers.
  • The office moves again but this time to larger premises just across the street.
  • HomeBase 2.1 is launched along with ISBN look-up Ė a key tool for booksellers loading books on to AbeBooks.comís database.
AbeBooks Homepage, 2002
  • In February, AbeBooks launches its French and German websites and its UK site is launched in August as the company reinforces its growing presence in Europe.
  • AbeBooks.co.uk is introduced at the Edinburgh Book Festival with a Mini packed full of books.
AbeBooks Homepage, 2003
  • In July, AbeBooks launches its ‘Textbook Central’ section and moves into the rapidly developing student textbook sector.
  • The last of the original founders leave the company and former JustBooks co-founder Hannes Blum takes over as CEO in August.
  • In December, the United Nations recognizes AbeBooks as one of world’s leading e-commerce companies at its World Summit.
AbeBooks Homepage, 2004
  • In June, AbeBooks officially announces that it will also offer new books as well as used, rare and out-of-print books at Book Expo America.
  • In July, AbeBooks launches a microsite for Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Guardian newspaper in the UK dedicates a full page to online used bookselling and acclaims AbeBooks for revolutionizing the business.
  • In October, AbeBooks ventures into the Spanish market with the acquisition of Iberlibro.com – Spain’s largest e-marketplace for used and rare books that offers around 3 million books for sale.
AbeBooks Homepage, 2005
  • The rapidly growing customer support division expands into another office on Garbally Road.
  • In November, AbeBooks acquires BookFinder.com - the leading price comparison shopping service dedicated to books based in Berkeley, CA.
AbeBooks Homepage, 2006
  • In February, AbeBooks acquires FillZ – a US book inventory and order management company that assists booksellers to offer their books on Internet marketplaces.
  • The total value of books on the site exceeds $3.4 billion.
  • As the 10-year anniversary approaches, AbeBooks launches its largest ever marketing campaign across North America, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
AbeBooks Homepage, 2007
  • In March, AbeBooks.com launches BookHints - an innovative book recommendation system based upon titles owned, read and enjoyed by members of LibraryThing.com, the leading social networking and book cataloging site for bibliophiles.
  • In September, Story Laboratory - a unique book-building workshop designed for kids - appears at Vancouverís Word on the Street Festival. Itís the latest appearance of the innovative program where children are encouraged to write and make their own books.
  • In December, AbeBooks conducts a charity signed books auction and sells a signed Harry Potter book for $3,950 - the proceeds are donated to the United Way.
AbeBooks Homepage, 2008
  • In April 2008 the launch of an Italian language website, AbeBooks.it is celebrated along with the acquisition of Chrislands.com - a service that builds, hosts and maintains online bookstores.
  • In December 2008, AbeBooks is acquired by Amazon.