VICTORIA, CANADA — Antiquarian booksellers from around the world have launched a week-long retail protest against AbeBooks and its owner, Amazon, over the company’s decision to no longer support booksellers located in South Korea, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia.
The New York Times reported that 250 antiquarian book dealers representing more than 24 countries will be pulling their titles from the Amazon-owned abebooks.com site for a week in what has been dubbed Banned Booksellers Week.
The protest will remove more than one million books from the site. Amazon’s dominion over the book market has reached a fever pitch in recent years, with many sellers pointing fingers at the retail giant for a massive shift in the market.
Trade response to the company’s decision has been swift, with London’s Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association pledging to drop AbeBooks as a sponsor of its 2019 book fair. The organization told the Times, “Our mission is to champion the highest standards of rare bookselling across the world, irrespective of location. Sadly, we feel that AbeBooks is not a suitable fair sponsor for us at this time.”
As tensions continued to rise, AbeBooks issued a statement on November 3 saying it was dropping the countries because “our third-party payment service provider is closing at the end of the year.” It added that, “We regret that we cannot continue to serve all sellers.”