Inventory management options for large volume sellers

AbeBooks supports a variety of inventory management options suitable for large volume sellers. These include:

  • File-based inventory management via File Transfer Protocol (FTPS)
  • Application Programming Interface (API) inventory management

Click here for order processing options

File Transfer Protocol (FTPS)

FTPS is a file-based inventory processing option suitable for sellers with small or large inventories. No specialized technical knowledge is required. Sellers can choose an inventory management program with FTPS connectivity or use FTPS-compatible FTP software like Filezilla, Cyberduck, or Transmit to send their own inventory files. Please note all FTPS connections require TLS 1.2 protocol support.

AbeBooks can process all standard inventory file types and allows the possibility for custom file format conversions.

Learn more about the required structure for inventory uploads and how to send files

Inventory Update Application Programming Interface (API)

The AbeBooks Inventory Update API allows booksellers to use custom inventory management applications that meet their particular business requirements. Inventory Update API is best-suited to sellers who plan to send frequent small updates.

AbeBooks has specified a standardized format for requesting updates to bookseller’s inventory from the Inventory Update server and knowledge of a scripting language and XML is essential.
Communication is done via the HTTPS/TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol. Client software to access the server and add, update or delete books can be built using a number of popular programming languages such as Java, C or Perl.

To begin using the Inventory Update API, you will need:

  1. A valid bookseller account with AbeBooks
  2. The Inventory Update API documentation, available for free from AbeBooks (download link below).
  3. Client software (written by Bookseller)

Download the Inventory Update API documentation (.pdf)

You will access the server using your Bookseller (vendor) Userid and unique API Key. This information must be included in each call to the server.

› Learn more about the unique API Key

The following is a list of keywords which will be picked up by our parsing process if they are in the correct field as outlined in the Inventory Update API documentation:

Download the Buyer Search Attributes keywords documentation (.pdf)

Comparison Guide

Connect via FTPS Connect via HTTPS with custom script
No scripting or XML required Knowledge of a scripting language and XML essential
Existing FTPS software can be used All implementations are custom
Inventory data sent in plain text documents Inventory data sent via XML requests
Easy to troubleshoot Often harder to troubleshoot
Requires minimal AbeBooks setup Does not require any AbeBooks setup
Possibility for custom data field structures Uses standard data field structure
Suitable for small updates or large (1M records or more) bulk updates Limited to 100 item updates per request at 1 request per second
Supports compressed (.zip) files Suited to small bursts of updates rather than bulk changes
Slower update time compared to API Updates are processed faster than with inventory files
FTPS supports inventory and image updates API supports image updates via URL only