With AbeBooks you can use a variety of file formats and software to upload your books, including: Access, Excel and FileMaker Pro.
We recommend that you use our free inventory management software HomeBase.
However, if you have your own book list already or you wish to use your own inventory management system we can set this up for you. The data must be tab or tilde (~) delimited, and must be saved as a text file (file type = .txt).
There are 3 things that we require in order to convert your book data to our format:
- The data must be consistently arranged in a file. All book records must contain exactly the same number of fields, in exactly the same order; each field must be separated with the same type of delimiter. If you are using a database or spreadsheet package then this is quite easy to accomplish. Please also ensure that in numerical fields, such as Publisher Year, that only figures are entered.
- It is essential that each book record has a unique identifier. These can be numeric or alphanumeric, as long as they are unique. When you delete or sell a book, it is necessary to "retire" the associated ID number and use only new numbers for your new books. AbeBooks cannot guarantee the accuracy of a listing if a book number is re-used. A re-used book ID is any ID number that was previously assigned to a different book. Re-using book ID numbers may result in discrepancies. If you have more than one copy of a single listing you can include a quantity field in your book data to state how many copies of the title you have.
- You will need to remove the books when they are sold (through other venues). You can do this by sending a file containing only the books you want to remove, by using a link on our Members Menu, or by adding a status code or a quantity field to your database or spreadsheet. For example: you can indicate that you have a book for sale with the number 1, and then when the book has been sold you can update the quantity to 0.
We can transform your data just about any way to fit into our database, so please feel free to set up your database to suit your needs.
If you do not yet have an inventory management system, you may wish to use the AbeBooks Inventory Template that we have already set up for you.
For further information please contact us.
Book terms and attributes
If your book data has separate fields for attributes you may wish to review how our BSA parsing works.
If your data does not have separate fields, but only uses the description field, then AbeBooks searches this field of the book data you send to us. This is known as description parsing. We check for the specific attributes that can be searched for using the Advanced Search function.
For more information on description parsing please click here.
If you are not sure if parsing is switched on or off for your account please contact us.
Note: If you are using HomeBase to manage your inventory, you have the option of including attributes in the description field or by using the drop down menus. Please do not add attributes using both the description field and drop down menus. Adding information to both places may result in the attributes being displayed incorrectly. If you use the description field then we will switch on parsing for your account.