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Banned Booksellers Week Ends!

November 4th, 2018  |  Published in Book Collecting, Bookselling, Feature 2

UPDATED: Nov. 7. 1830GMT

Banned Booksellers Week is over early. After a three-day protest by 580 booksellers in 27 countries, the Amazon subsidiary Abebooks.com reversed its decision to withdraw from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, South Korea, and Poland.

Following a meeting between Arkady Vitrouk, Abebooks’s CEO, and Sally Burdon, the president of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), Burdon released the following statement: “It is with great pleasure I report to you that the booksellers in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia and South Korea will be able to continue to trade on Abebooks into the future if they wish to. They will not be cut off this month nor in the future.” Other affected countries, including Poland, will also be allowed to continue to participate on the Abebooks platform.

Antikvariát Valentinská, one of the largest antiquarian booksellers in Prague, had expected to lay off as many as five employees if Abebooks had gone through with its plans. Following Burdon’s announcement, the owners, Jan and Ondrej Schick said, “You have achieved something we have only dreamed of: You have demonstrated that virtues like selfless solidarity and support have a value beyond the interests and decisions of a company however large it may be.”

Adam Bosze, the president of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Hungary (Magyar Antikváriusok Egyesülete), concurred: “I would like to express my deep gratitude for your effort changing directions at Abebooks. I would not have thought that we’ll succeed, but you showed the real meaning of our motto,” Amor librorum nos unit (the love of books unites us).

Additional Information

Final list of participating booksellers

New York Times story on the Abebooks protest. Republished in the Boston Globe and Seattle Times.

Rare Booksellers Rallied Against An Amazon-Owned Company and Won

The Guardian (UK) 6 November 2018

Participating Utah booksellers featured in the Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT)

Summary of NY Times story in the San Francisco Chronicle (in paper 6 Nov 18)

Shelf Awareness story

Weekly Standard

In response to Abebooks’ action, the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (UK) cancelled Abebooks’ sponsorship of the London international book fair in 2019.

Story on French book news site ActuaLitte. And a second article.

Geekwire, 5 November 2018: “Hundreds of international booksellers go ‘on vacation’ to protest move by Amazon’s AbeBooks”

French Book Trade Publication Livres Hebdo, 5 November 2018: “Les libraires de livres anciens appellent au boycott d’Abebooks”

Antiques Trade Gazette

Russian press story.

Aus dem Antiquariat [German periodically covering the antiquarian book trade]. 5 November 2018: “Urlaubswelle im November” and 3 November 2018 “Proteste gegen Abebooks” 

EcommerceBytes – online publication for online sellers

International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) summary

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