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Abebooks to shut in Hungary, the Czech Republic, South Korea and Russia

By Dan Wilson November 7, 2018 - 4:12 pm

Specialist books marketplace Abebooks, which is owned by Amazon, will be shutting down its operations in Hungary, the Czech Republic, South Korea and Russia according to an announcement from the company late last month. And the closure of these national websites has led to a show of solidarity and support from fellow book sellers who have put their books on vacation mode in protest.

According to the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), Abebooks has said that operating several of its international marketplaces has proved to be too costly to run some national operations.

We sincerely regret having to take this action but it is no longer viable for us to operate in these countries due to increasing costs and complexities. We continue to support sellers in all other 18 of the 22 countries with national associations that are members of ILAB (i.e. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States).
– Abebooks

In response to this announcement ILAB members have chosen to stop offering books for sale on the platform with the hope of forcing a reversal of the policy. You can read the full report here, but they say:

300 booksellers have joined this form of protest. Many have quoted ILAB’s motto “Amor Librorum Nos Unit” – “The Love of Books Unites Us”. Booksellers from Denmark, France, South Africa, Italy, Australia, the UK and the US, Canada, New Zealand, Turkey, Mexico, Hungary, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Ireland, Belgium and Argentina are currently pausing their listings on the AbeBooks platform.
– International League of Antiquarian Booksellers

Whilst such community minded action is laudable and heart warming, it’s difficult to see how a long-term boycott on selling will work in merchants’ favour if it persists for weeks or months. And it seems most unlikely that Abebooks will have a change of heart in any case.

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