Completion Rate and Bookseller Rating Changes

In June 2014, we made some changes to the AbeBooks Completion Rate requirement and Bookseller Ratings.

Completion Rate:

In June 2014, the minimum Completion Rate requirement for AbeBooks sellers was raised from 85% to 90%.

Bookseller Rating

In addition, Bookseller Ratings and their equivalent completion rate ranges were updated as follows:

Bookseller Star Rating Previous Completion % Range Current Completion % Range
 5 Stars *****  95-100%  96 – 100%
 4 Stars ****  85 – 94%  90 – 95%
 3 Stars ***  70 – 84%  85 – 89%
 2 Stars **  60 – 69%  70 – 84%
 1 Star   *  0 – 59% 0 – 69%


Frequently Asked Questions:


Why have you made these changes?

We have implemented these changes because we believe AbeBooks buyers should have a reasonable expectation that they will receive the book they order on time and as described online. Sellers with high Completion standards better meet those expectations, and therefore see improved sales.

In addition, by adjusting Bookseller Ratings, sellers who meet our minimum Completion requirements will be more easily identifiable to buyers.

These changes also bring our standards into line with other major marketplaces and they are the first major changes to our Bookseller Ratings since they were introduced in 2007.


Why was I not informed of this change?

We communicated this change to all sellers via email in December 2013 and again in May 2014. In addition we have sent monthly emails to sellers impacted by the change, and have included this prominently every monthly issue of the Bookseller Digest since December.


Why have I lost a star?

In addition to increasing the minimum Completion Rate we adjusted the Seller Star Rating thresholds to better reflect our new increased standards. Sellers at the lower end of a particular Star Rating’s percentage range will therefore have lost a star under the new definitions.


How can I improve my Completion Rate and regain a Bookseller Rating star?

We recommend that you:

  • Keep inventory up to date, especially regarding the timely removal of sold books
  • Provide accurate, detailed book descriptions
  • Provide accurate ISBN data and verify that ISBN-matched information is correct
  • Provide your own images
  • Update shipping speeds to accurately reflect delivery times, and ship with tracking whenever possible, to reduce refund claims for ‘Item did not arrive’

For additional information see How Do I Improve My Completion Rate.


Can I still exclude orders from my Completion Rate?

Yes, you still have three exclusions per rolling 12 month period available to you.


I am below the 90% minimum, are you going to close my account now?

We never suspend or close an account without first contacting the seller. If your Completion Rate is below 90% we’ll be in contact  to let you know, and help you work toward improvement.


Will my star rating still default to 4 stars if I get 3 or fewer orders?

Yes, this will remain the same. Your displayed rating will default to 4 stars if you receive 3 or fewer orders in a 6 month rating period and any of those orders are rejected or returned Once you receive 4 or more orders, your star rating will reflect your actual completion rate for the orders received during the 6 month rating period.

If you complete all of your orders, your rating will display as 5 stars. The only exception to this would be if you have 0 sales over 6 months, in which case you would revert back to the 4 star default.


Are the types of order cancellations/returns that impact my rating still the same?

Yes, the following cancellations/returns continue to be excluded from a seller’s rating:

  • ‘Buyer does not want item’ returns
  • Partial refunds
  • Incomplete sales (seller-direct orders where you don’t receive payment)
  • Buyer cancels before shipping
  • Orders rejected due to buyer rejection of a request for extra charges


Why don’t you care about the negative impact this will have on smaller sellers / Why do you only implement changes that benefit megalisters?

We appreciate the challenges smaller sellers face, especially when selling on multiple marketplaces and often offline as well. However, we feel 90% is not an unreasonable completion standard for any seller, regardless of volume.

And don’t forget that the minimum Completion Rate for sellers with an inventory of over 1M listings was raised to 96%, effective January 2014 – so we actually hold high-volume listers to an even stricter standard.


Are you planning any other changes to the Bookseller Rating?

While no further changes are planned at this time, we are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience for both buyers and sellers. If any additional changes are decided upon, all sellers will be notified.
We also welcome any feedback you might have about possible improvements to any aspect of selling with AbeBooks.


What happens next?

If your Completion Rate is below 90% we will contact you to let you know, and help you work toward improvement.