As of 28th March 2019 we will no longer be selling via AbeBooks.
There are two main reasons behind this decision. The first reason relates the level of technical support provided.
I reported a problem to Customer Support back in March 2016 whereby books were being incorrectly allocated to additional catalog names – names which had already been defined in previous inventory uploads but had not been allocated to the inventory items in question.
For example, I had a catalog for non-fiction books which relate to the types of genre fiction in which we specialise and which was named ‘SF, Fantasy & Horror Related’. By chance I happened to notice that a book from that catalog was additionally being shown in our Fantasy catalog and our Horror catalog. To an experienced programmer, the root cause was obvious – a coding error when parsing the uploaded inventory data. It is a classic case of looking for separators such as commas within a data field without first checking the precise length of the original data field being parsed (i.e. the catalog name in this case).
It should be a simple matter to fix the program code and retrofit the database, but no, they wouldn’t do it as there would soon be a significant upgrade to their system. New meaning of the word “soon” because, in October 2018, the problem still had NOT been resolved. I contacted them again and was told that “Our technicians have explained that this issue has not been resolved to date as it awaits the next scheduled major system update. I have been told that this is scheduled to take place in the first quarter 2019”.
So I contacted them yet again on 27th March 2019 just 4 days before the end of the first quarter and was told by the support person that “I have asked our technicians for details regarding the system update”. At that moment, my trust failed completely. If a frontline customer support person is unaware of the date of a “major system update”, it clearly isn’t going to happen. There were also other examples of poor quality support during our time as customers.
I was particularly annoyed by this because from the potential buyer’s point of view, this looks to be an error made by the seller.
The second reason is that we (UK-based sellers) are being lied to regarding the need to provide government-issued identification in order that a third-party company can process incoming customer payments on behalf of sellers.
The following statement is made by AbeBooks in their payments processing limits section under seller account management in respect of the need to provide photo ids:
“To satisfy the regulations for processing payments on your behalf”
Just to put this in context, the limit to which they refer is the princely sum of $2,500.
At the time of writing, here in the UK there are no legally binding regulations for this level of financial transactions, especially not ones designated in US dollars! Even if there were such regulations, I would still not provide photo ids to a business such as Abebooks which is not regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. In my opinion, this is a data grab by Amazon and I want nothing to do with it.