The Americana Exchange is an online company created in 2002 to serve collectors and businesses in the antiquarian and rare book fields. It offers a suite of both free and subscription services targeted to those who collect or sell rare, antiquarian, and other collectible books. These services include worldwide auction listing searches, a database of historical records from auctions, booksellers, and bibliographies, a matching service to help locate rare books, an online monthly magazine, and a cooperative bookselling service. While the site’s name reflects its earlier focus on Americana, its services now apply to all types of books with no specialization. The firm is headquartered in San Francisco, California, but its services are offered worldwide through the internet.
The site compiles listings of books and related material such as manuscripts and ephemera from over 100 worldwide auction houses, and posts them on the site. These listings can be found in two ways. One is through a search engine that allows users to enter a title, author, or keywords into a search box and search for any matches that are currently for sale at an auction. It is the only search that scans numerous book auctions at once and posts all matches together. The other is through a calendar which displays which houses have upcoming auctions on specific dates and lists the items being offered on that date. After the auction has taken place, the listings show the sales price for those items that were sold. This service is free.
AE Bibliographic DatabaseEdit
The AE Bibliographic Database contains of over 1.8 million records pertaining to books. Most of the records come from auctions, both recent and historical, and booksellers’ catalogues, and show the prices for which the books were sold or listed. Other records come from bibliographies such as those of Sabin and Evans. The size of the database increases every week as new auction results are added or other older sources are included. The database offers several specialized tools. One allows users to get a current estimate of the value of prices from older records by updating them for inflation. Another locates the most commonly used keywords in listings which match a particular search, both to help collectors determine which other terms to search, and to assist sellers in describing their material in ways more likely to be found by buyers. A third tool allows sellers to add listings from the database to their own selling records as footnotes. This service is available only to subscribers. Along with individual subscriptions, this service is sold to libraries and other institutions on an institution-wide basis.
Book Locating ServiceEdit
The site offers a book locating service called MatchMaker. This enables individuals looking for specific books, or any book based on descriptive terms, to conduct automated searches for them on a daily basis. Searches are conducted on major bookselling sites such as Abebooks, ZVAB, and ILAB, of book and ephemera auctions on eBay, and of listings from the 100+ auction houses followed by AE. Matches of new listings are provided on a daily basis so that buyers will not miss seeing a desired listing, which may expire within a few days of being posted. This service is available only to subscribers.
AE Monthly MagazineEdit
AE Monthly is a monthly online magazine targeted to book collectors and those in the book trade. It features articles on collecting and selling books; on news concerning the online listing sites, web searching sites, libraries, and similar topics; and general news and features related to books. The second section of AE Monthly contains reviews of recent bookselling catalogues. Searchable archives of past material are offered. Access to this section of the site is free.
Books For SaleEdit
AE has a searchable database of books offered for sale. Listings are provided by individual booksellers. Unlike many other book and product selling sites, AE does not sell the books, take part in the sales, or charge commissions. Listings provide direct contacts to the individual booksellers for those interested in making a purchase. Titles offered on this site are primarily old and out of print books rather than new books. Searching for listings of books for sale is free, but only subscribers may post their listings.