Amazon buys AbeBooks

Amazon is buying rare and out of print books specialist AbeBooks for an undisclosed sum. The takeover, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2008.

AbeBooks' website has been trading since 1996 and has 13,500 bookseller members, who pay a monthly subscription fee to list their books. The website features more than 110 million used, rare and out of print books for sale from thousands of indies across the world.

Russell Grandinetti, vice president of books for Amazon.com, said that the acquisition would add "breadth and expanded selection" to the company's customers. "AbeBooks provides a wide range of services to both sellers and customers, and we look forward to working with them to further grow their business. We're excited to present all of our customers with the widest selection of books available any place on Earth."

Hannes Blum, AbeBooks' chief executive, said he was "very excited" about the acquisition. "This deal brings together book sellers and book lovers from around the world, and offers both types of customers a great experience," he said.

AbeBooks will continue to be based in Victoria, British Columbia. The takeover is the third major acquisition Amazon has made this year. It took over digital book download site Audible for $300m in March and also bought online fabric store Fabric.com in June.

AbeBooks will continue to maintain all of its websites as part of the takeover.