Is AbeBooks Reliable?

If you’re looking for a long-lost childhood book that you can’t seem to find anywhere, you’ll probably be able to get it on AbeBooks. The online bookstore is a platform that connects sellers with buyers, meaning if you want to buy a book, you’ll contact the seller directly. This prompts the question, is AbeBooks reliable? 

AbeBooks is reliable. It is among the leading players in the bookselling industry and has been in operation for over twenty years. The majority of the vendors in AbeBooks are credible and trustworthy. The site also guarantees maximum security with regard to personal information.

In this article, I will provide answers to all the questions that might make you doubt the site’s reliability. I have also tackled some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this service. Read on!

Is AbeBooks a Legit Site?

Most buyers doubt whether AbeBooks is real because the majority of their books are significantly cheaper than other online bookstores in the market. They are, however, mistaken. 

Founded in 1995, AbeBooks is an online marketplace with its headquarters in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It was founded by a couple of book-lovers and has grown to become one of the largest bookstores in the world, with over 150 million titles available in its catalog. The company currently has offices in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Australia. 

Since its formation, AbeBooks has loaded buyers’ shelves with millions of affordable new and second-hand books. It is particularly famous among students for its fairly-priced textbooks. It also provides opportunities for sellers from over 50 countries to offer their books for sale.

Is AbeBooks a Secured Site?

AbeBooks has top-notch security systems in place that protect both buyers and sellers. It uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology to encrypt all information that cyber criminals would try to steal. 

To minimize potential risks, the site also urges its users to adhere to the following practices: 

Sign Off After a Session 

All customers are responsible for the risks that can emerge from not signing off properly. This is especially crucial when logging on from a public or shared computer. As a general rule, you should sign out of all accounts after using a public device, including library and school computers. 

Use a Strong Password

Ensure you use a strong and unique password when creating an account. It shouldn’t be related to your personal information, and you must not share it with anyone. Strong passwords include both capital and lowercase letters, digits, and special characters. 

Handle Your Credit Card and Personal Information Safely

There are several ways to protect your personal information from theft: 

  • Don’t send any sensitive information by email.
  • Do not share your credit card information with anyone who contacts you, especially if you don’t know them personally. 
  • Keep away from unknown attachments.
  • Use updated virus protection software and firewalls.

How Does AbeBooks Work?

Whether you want to sell or buy books, you must create an account with AbeBooks first. Once you activate and log into your account, you’ll see a list of books available. Alternatively, you can search them by author’s name, book title, or ISBN. 

You should understand that AbeBooks doesn’t buy or sell the books in their catalog—it simply connects buyers with sellers. Therefore, you’ll notice a “Contact Seller” button on your interface as soon as you find the book you want. Clicking on it leads to a new tab where you can type your message, and the seller’s contact information will be populated automatically. 

If you encounter any problem purchasing a book, you should contact AbeBooks’s customer care team, which is typically responsive and supportive. Since you’ll deal with booksellers directly, it’s essential to learn the online safety tips mentioned above to secure your personal information.

Is AbeBooks Affiliated With Amazon? 

In December 2008, Amazon announced its acquisition of AbeBooks. The bookstore has since remained a subsidiary of Amazon Inc. However, while making the announcement, the CEO of AbeBooks, Dr. Hannes Blum, announced that the company would continue operating as a stand-alone business.

The cooperation has benefited both companies in many ways. For instance, AbeBooks has reached international markets, as its books can be bought directly from Amazon. On the other hand, Amazon has solidified its presence in the bookselling market. 

Why Some Books Are Cheap on AbeBooks While Others Aren’t

Unlike other online bookstores, the prices of most books on AbeBooks are reasonably fair and are determined based on a variety of factors. AbeBooks deals with books, fine art, and collectibles only. Because the cost of producing a book (cost of the materials and printing labor) is relatively lower than other items, the prices also tend to stay low. 

The second reason for such price discrepancy is that the demand is relatively low due to the number of sellers on the site; therefore, the cost per unit of a book reduces significantly. Millions of readers obtain their favorite reads from AbeBooks, allowing publishers to sell them at lower prices and still make a good profit. 

On the flip side, AbeBooks is home to the rarest of books. With only a few copies in circulation, such books tend to cost much more than other books. This is because buyers are willing to purchase them at higher prices since they may not find them elsewhere.

Another reason that might drive up the prices of some books is when the demand is higher than the number of copies available. Sellers hike up the prices in a bid to obtain more money for publishing more books. 

Can I Return Books Bought on AbeBooks?

You can return a book you bought from AbeBooks. The key priority of the service is to ensure its buyers are satisfied with their purchases. Therefore, you can always contact the seller directly to express dissatisfaction with books and discuss how to return them.

That’s not all. You are guaranteed a full reimbursement within 30 days of showing dissatisfaction or in the event that your shipped book doesn’t arrive. 

How Much Does Shipping Books on AbeBooks Cost?

AbeBooks doesn’t ship any book listed in its catalog—shipping is left to the bookseller. It’s the seller’s responsibility to set the shipping rates and speeds and determine the most suitable method of shipping orders for their buyers. 

The shipping charges are always pre-calculated and displayed below the book price. Some sellers offer free shipping, and you’ll pay only for cross-border taxes and duties. You can always track your order from the “My Orders” tab on your account. 

If you are wondering whether AbeBooks ships via USPS, it does. They have partnered with USPS and charge a flat rate of $3.99 for every shipment done. 

You can expect your orders to find their way to you within 2 business days, but it may take longer in some instances. Luckily, AbeBooks provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee on their products. 


The legitimacy of a store is a significant factor to consider when purchasing anything online. After operating for over two decades, AbeBooks has stood the test of time to prove itself a reliable online bookstore for conveniently connecting booksellers and buyers. You have no reason to hesitate to buy or sell on AbeBooks. 

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