The new AbeBooks Fee Structure will be in effect as of April 28, 2008. Below are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions regarding the new fees. If you have questions that are not answered below, please feel free to contact Customer Support for further information.

Why are you making it more expensive to sell through AbeBooks?

As we explained in our recent communication to booksellers, there are several reasons behind these changes. Foreign currency rates have had a negative effect on our business, online marketing costs have risen due to increased competition, and there are other rising costs such as our ongoing commitment to PCI DSS compliance (PCI DSS = Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). These changes will help AbeBooks pay for the rising costs of running the business.

Are you increasing your fees because of a decrease in sales?

No. Sales continue to grow across the marketplace. There are up to 30,000 books sold each day through the AbeBooks websites. In 2007, AbeBooks facilitated sales of books worth (USD) $190 million – up from $170 million in 2006. These pricing changes are due to rising operating costs faced by AbeBooks.

Is AbeBooks going bust? Are you in financial trouble?

No. AbeBooks remains a sound, robust, and profitable business. We are simply changing the pricing model for booksellers because of rising costs affecting our business.

Will this be the last price increase for booksellers?

We can't rule out that fees will be adjusted again in the future but it is our intention to keep fees the same for the foreseeable future.

Why charge a commission on shipping costs? This is not revenue to me.

This change will help increase our revenues to help us pay for rising operating costs. However, there is an additional reason for this change; customers are unhappy with high shipping costs. We want to avoid the negative buyer experience created by very low book prices that are subsidized by higher shipping charges.

Are your fees now higher than those of your competitors?

Even with these changes, we offer very competitive prices for sellers. Sellers can reach buyers via AbeBooks that they don't reach through other online channels. AbeBooks is a global marketplace with access into many markets (North America, UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy) unlike many websites in this market. We offer HomeBase, our free inventory management software, and continue to spend more and more on marketing. We will continue to allow sellers to offer flexible shipping rates, engage in direct communication with buyers, and have their store name and contact information clearly listed on the site. All these factors mean that we remain an attractive marketplace for booksellers.

Why increase listing fees for sellers with large inventories ('megalisters')?

Sellers with very large inventories require significant time and resources to manage - hence this change.

Why are you lowering the processing fees on expensive sales?

The goal of this change is to encourage more high-value transactions through AbeBooks and to give high-value booksellers a reduction in fees.

I don't understand how the reduced processing fees are calculated. Can you provide me with a sample calculation?

Yes. For example, if an order worth US $700 is sold through or, AbeBooks will charge 5.5% on the first US $500 and then 3.5% on remaining US $200.

Will there be a minimum/maximum commission on shipping?

The minimum and maximum commission amounts will remain the same but be applied to the total item amount (book price plus shipping plus any extra charges) rather than to the book price only. The minimum commission will be US $0.50 and the maximum commission will be US $40.00. For example, if you sell a book for a total item amount of US $500 (US $450 book price plus US $50 shipping costs), the maximum commission will apply.

How will the commission be applied to multiple item orders?

The commission will continue to be applied per item as before. While the commission was formerly applied to the book price only, it will now be applied to the total item amount (book price plus shipping plus any extra charges).

How will the commission be applied to orders where I reduced the shipping?

The commission will be applied to the total item amount (book price plus shipping plus any extra charges). You can adjust your shipping rates via the flexible shipping matrix in your Members Menu. You also have the option to reduce or increase shipping costs on credit card orders: The commission will then be applied to the adjusted total item amount. If you reduce or increase shipping costs on seller direct orders, the commission will be applied to the original shipping value as defined in your shipping matrix.

When will the new fee structure take effect?

The new fee model will become effective as of April 28th, 2008. In approximately three months (not on April 28th) AbeBooks will eliminate the option for all credit card purchases via Seller Direct.

How will you invest your increased revenues? How will I profit as a bookseller?

We will use increased revenues to offset higher marketing and infrastructure costs. We are currently investing in our infrastructure to ensure that AbeBooks will remain Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant. Online marketing costs have risen over the last years as an increasing number of competitors are fighting for market share. We have just launched our Italian website to attract more buyers to our site and we will soon be launching our new version of our free inventory software, HomeBase 3.0. We will continue to allow sellers to offer flexible shipping rates, engage in direct communication with buyers and have their store name and contact information clearly listed on the site.

Will you use the revenues from your increased fees to finance

We will use increased revenues across all areas of the business, including marketing and hardware. has a low-cost business model – low-cost for us and low-cost for the booksellers. Our investment in Gojaba is about the same as 5% of the overall annual marketing budget for AbeBooks. Everything about is very cost-effective, from its set-up to its running costs and its growth.

What about the new Italian website that you promised to launch a while ago? has just been launched. Please go to

You announced the release of a new version of HomeBase a few years ago. When will the new HomeBase finally be released?

We have already begun Alpha testing of HomeBase 3.0 and plan to start beta-testing in the very near future.

Why are you taking away seller direct payment methods such as Maestro/Switch, American Express, etc.?

As part of the ongoing requirements to remain PCI DSS compliant (see below) we are now required to discontinue the transmission of all payment card information to our booksellers. In approximately three months (not on April 28th) AbeBooks will begin offering a number of new payment card options to buyers. As a company collecting and processing large amounts of payment card data, AbeBooks must be PCI DSS compliant. We have no choice in this matter.

Why does AbeBooks charge 5.5% on credit card transactions when it costs me significantly less through my own merchant account? Don’t you get some kind of ‘bulk discount’?

On the contrary, because AbeBooks processes a much larger volume of credit card transactions, across multiple international platforms, we assume a much greater risk of fraud than an individual retail account. For this reason, the fees charged to us by credit card processing services are much higher than they would be for an individual bookseller. Also included in the 5.5% fee that AbeBooks charges to booksellers is built in protection against chargebacks due to fraudulent transactions – this is something that is rarely included with an individual merchant account.

What does PCI DSS stand for?

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

What is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)?

It is a security standard developed by the major credit card companies to prevent credit card fraud, cracking, and various other security threats. For more information, please visit the PCI Security Standards Council website.