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Half.com boosts book selection

The eBay-owned fixed-price site signs a deal with Abebooks.com to allow Abebooks-affiliated dealers to offer their used, rare and collectible tomes.

Half.com is expanding its bookshelves.

The eBay-owned fixed-price marketplace has signed a deal with Abebooks.com, allowing Abebooks-affiliated dealers to offer their used, rare and collectible tomes on Half.com. The deal could bring thousands of sellers and millions of new listings to Half.com.

The deal is part of an effort by Half.com to expand its selection and the number of dealers in its system, said Chris Fralic, vice president of business development for the Plymouth Meeting, Penn.-based company. "We're very big in the world of books and so are they," Fralic said. "This is a good match as far as we're concerned."

The deal is a "natural fit" for Abebooks sellers, said Derek MacNeil, product marketing manager for Victoria, British Columbia-based Abebooks. "This is a huge initiative for us," MacNeil said. "This gives our dealers another major presence to sell their books on the Net."

In April, Half.com expanded its marketplace by branching out into computers, electronics, sporting goods, and trading cards. Previously, the site had focused primarily on media products such as books and CDs.

As part of the deal, which was signed last month, Abebooks sellers' books will begin appearing on Half.com around July 24 under Abebooks' name. Abebooks will transmit orders placed on Half.com to individual sellers on its system.

To sell on Half.com, Abebooks sellers must agree to ship orders within a certain time frame. Abebooks will not charge its sellers to offer their books on Half.com and instead will charge buyers a markup on books sold through the marketplace. Abebooks has been criticized for such markups in the past because they can increase the price of a book 30 percent or more.

About 8,300 sellers have listed 29 million books with Abebooks. The company charges sellers a monthly fee of $25 to $300 to list books through its system.

Abebooks sellers can already offer their books on Barnes&Noble.com and Australia's BibilOZ.com. The company has also allowed booksellers to sell through eBay's high-end site, formerly known as eBay Great Collections.