For immediate release


(Victoria, BC – 8 June 2007) - A major piece of research into online used bookselling in America has revealed how this fledgling, but rapidly growing, industry is driven by the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation who are spending long hours in front of computers, long hours on the road and committed to extending their businesses deeper into cyberspace.

Between October 2006 and January 2007, – the world’s largest online marketplace for new, used, rare and out-of-print books – polled 1,949 booksellers from the US who sold through its network of Web sites as part of a global research project.

Online bookselling has only existed since the mid-1990s when Internet marketplaces like AbeBooks emerged and the research shows how the profession appeals to entrepreneurial ‘Silver Surfers’ eager to escape the 9-to-5 rat race. The poll also reveals that long working hours and knowledge of technology are key aspects of the job.

Key findings include:

  • 79% are aged over 45 – more than half have a degree or a higher qualification;
  • Most sellers had left white-collar careers to become booksellers – the most common previous professions were jobs in teaching, libraries, sales, and management;
  • 11% work between 51 and 60 hours per week, and 9% are working more than 60 hours a week with the online cataloguing of books being the most time-consuming task;
  • 25% will increase their online book inventory by between 10% and 25% in 2007;
  • 21% plan to launch their own e-commerce website;
  • Sellers acquire books through a large number of sources - many of which require time on the road - including library sales, estate sales, private sales, and auctions. 26% had traveled up to 100 miles to buy a book and 9% had gone abroad to buy books;
  • Many sellers also sell through other online marketplaces and 74% had set up their Internet selling operation without outside IT assistance;
  • 60% of sellers polled operate purely online – the others had bookstores or showrooms;
  • 64% of the sellers offer mostly out-of-print books and most specialize in a number of genres - history, fiction and children’s books are the most common;
  • 68% list falling book prices as their biggest fear for the future but 38% are also concerned that fewer young people are reading books now;
  • Despite their long working hours, 33% read between five and 10 books per month.

“Hard work is the key to successfully selling secondhand books on the Web,” said Hannes Blum, CEO of “Although this profession is relatively new, it requires dedication to build up an online inventory of books and considerable effort to find books ideal for the Internet. We’re seeing a commitment to put more used books for sale online – sellers already offer over 100 million books through AbeBooks so that could expand to 120 million by the end of 2008, which is great news for people who love buying used, rare and hard-to-find books.”

More than 8,000 booksellers from the US currently sell through AbeBooks.

About is the world’s largest online marketplace for books, with over 100 million new, used, rare, and out-of-print titles listed for sale by thousands of independent booksellers from around the world. AbeBooks has millions of customers who purchase up to 25,000 books a day from its 5 global Web sites. A true internet success story, AbeBooks has been selling books online since 1996, and is a private company based in Victoria, BC Canada, with offices in Germany and USA. Internet Retailer magazine ranked AbeBooks at No. 67 among North American online retailers in June 2006.

Richard Davies, PR & Publicity Mgr.,
Office Ph: 250-412-3238 / e-mail