Gary Deane submitted This Macleans.ca Story on Abebooks of Victoria which bills itself as \"the world\'s largest marketplace for second-hand, rare and out-of-print books.\"
They say Abebooks has built itself into a world power by turning the Internet into a global book bazaar. Some one million customers have used Abebooks, annually spending $75 million to $100 million. Computers have yet to kill the printed word, but they\'ve profoundly changed how those words are sold.
There are things computers can\'t replicate: the purr of a bookstore cat, the heft of a volume, the thrill of an unexpected find, the whiff of mildew and age, as though the books themselves are breathing. John West isn\'t one to blame Abebooks for the disappearance of such shops. \"They\'re not a cause,\" he says, \"they\'re a symptom, I suppose, of the way people like to shop these days.\" The method of sale may change, he says, \"but books are here forever.\"