Amazon’s Local Stake: AbeBooks

Source: Douglas Magazine

Amazon’s Local Stake: AbeBooks

AbeBooks is a Victoria e-commerce success that is now owned by Amazon - but not much has changed.

One of Victoria’s great e-commerce successes has been owned by Amazon since 2008. AbeBooks — originally the Advanced Book Exchange — started shortly after Amazon. But where Amazon soon spread out to become a marketplace for other merchandise and services, AbeBooks has maintained its focus on antique and collectible books. It is now just starting to branch out into art and paper collectibles, such as postcards and magazines, says Richard Davies, the company’s public relations and content manager.

Innovative Beginning

AbeBooks began after Cathy Waters, who owned Timeless Books in Colwood, became frustrated with having to place ads in trade magazines to track down rare books for her customers. She and her husband, Keith, an information technology specialist with the B.C. government, got together with friends Rick and Vivian Pura to launch an online marketplace to connect booksellers and buyers from all over the world.

The company sold to German firm Hubert Burda Media in 2003. By the time Amazon took over, five years later, the founders had left AbeBooks.