Required Data Structure for Inventory Uploads

If you are creating your inventory files in a spreadsheet or database program, in order for your uploads to be successful, the structure of the file must remain consistent and the headings must not be modified.

**The format of your file must be communicated to AbeBooks prior to your first upload. You must also notify AbeBooks Customer Support in advance if you plan to change the format or layout of your inventory files. If notification is not provided, the AbeBooks system will not recognize the changes and file processing will fail.

If you already list your items with Amazon, you may export an inventory file from your Amazon account and upload it to AbeBooks:

Click here for instructions on downloading your file from Amazon

To optimize the way your inventory appears in the search results, certain fields require exact terms, which we have provided in the Notes section of the table below. These fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

We recommend that you refrain from using abbreviations, which are not generally understood by most buyers when searching for books.

The fields in red are mandatory. We also highly recommend that ISBNs are added to your inventory where possible. Any additional descriptive information should be added to the Description Field.

Note on Product Types: If you sell non-book items (art, comics, ephemera, magazines, maps, etc.) please always indicate the product type using the designated terms in the ‘producttype field’. Use the ‘author’ field to indicate the name of the artist (or composer, photographer, etc.).

The following requirements apply to all inventory files:

  • The delimiter must be tab.
  • The file must be saved as a text (.txt) file.
  • Each listing must have a unique numeric, alpha, or alphanumeric ID (listingid). Each listing ID cannot be re-used.
  • Each listing must include a Quantity field. Use a quantity of 1 or more to tell us the listing is available for sale; use 0 when the listing should be removed.

Field Names and Descriptions:

Field Header Maximum Characters Description Notes
listingid 40 Unique code for each item Important: this code should never be reused for a different item
title 750 Title (and sub-title)
author 750 Name of the Author, Artist, Composer etc. Recommended Format: Surname, First Name
illustrator 255 Name of the Illustrator Recommended Format: Surname, First Name
price 10 Price (numeric value) Enter the price in numeric format (without text or currency symbols). The minimum required price on AbeBooks is US $1.00 or the equivalent in other currencies. Any price below this minimum will be automatically updated by our system.
quantity Qty max.: 999 Number of available items Qty > = 1: available for sale

Qty = 0: unavailable (will be deleted from the site)

Important: an empty field will be interpreted as a field with the quantity of 1

producttype 30 Type of product This field allows you to assign a listing to one of eight available product type search refinements. Any item without a designated product type will be listed under the default product type of “book”. You can only assign each listing to a single product type and you must use one the following keywords to make sure the listing will show up under the corresponding search refinement:

Refinement on Search Result Page / Keywords to use:

Books: Book, Buch, Libro, Livre, Libro
Maps: Map, Karte, Mapa, Carte, Mappa
Manuscripts & Paper Collectibles: Manuscript, Manuskript, Manuscrito, Manuscrit, Manoscritto
Comics: Comic, Cómic, Bande dessinée, Fumetto
Magazines & Periodicals: Magazine/Periodical, Zeitschrift/Periodikum, Revista / Publicación, Magazine / Périodique, Rivista/periodico
Art, Prints & Posters: Fine Art Print, Druckgrafik, Grabado, Gravure, Opera d’arte stampata
Sheet Music: Sheet Music, Noten, Partitura, Partition de musique, Spartito
Photographs: Photo, Foto, Fotografía, Fotografia

description 4000 Description of the item Include any information that could not be entered into other fields. (i.e. condition notes, provenance, binding, etc.) Information must be related to the specific item being listed.
bindingtext* 30 Binding of the item

Use “No binding” for Non-Book items

Terms to use: Hardcover/Hardback
No binding
bookcondition* 30 Condition of the item Terms to use:
As New
Very Good
publishername 750 Name of publisher
placepublished 80 Place where the item was published
yearpublished 4 figures Year of publication or creation date This field should only contain the year in a 4 digit format (eg. 1989). Any other date format should be added to the description field.
isbn 13 10 or 13 digit ISBN, without spaces or hyphens


350 Name of the catalog which the item belongs to. Each listing may be associated with up to 3 catalogs and each catalog should be entered in its own unique field. The catalogs are visible on the AbeBooks bookseller Storefront and are mandatory for a listing to be considered for Collections.
abecategory 100 This category is deprecated
keywords 2000 Keywords to help buyers to find the item Try to use words that are not already included in any of the other fields but which buyers may be using to search for the item.
jacketcondition* 30 Condition of the dustjacket. (relevant for Books only, leave empty for items without Jacket) Terms to use:
As New
Very Good
No Jacket
editiontext* 50 First edition, second edition, etc. Terms to use:
First Edition
2nd Edition
3rd Edition
4th Edition
5th or later printing
printingtext* 20 Printing of the item Terms to use:
1st printing
2nd printing
3rd printing
4th printing
5th or later printing
signedtext* 50 Signed book, inscription… Terms to use:
signed by author or artist
signed by authors or artist
signed and inscribed by author or artist
inscribed by author or artist
signed by illustrator
inscribed by illustrator
volume 50 The volume of the book, if applicable
size The size of the book
imgurl 2000 Image URL URLs from Amazon, eBay, or other sites where you are unlikely to hold the image copyright are not permitted and will be blocked upon upload.

You may wish to use a Spreadsheet template that we have already set up for you:

Download Template.xls

Note: If you decide to use the above template to catalogue your items, please remember that before you upload to us, the file must be saved in a tab delimited text (.txt) format.  Follow these instructions to convert a spreadsheet within Excel:

  1. Open the Excel sheet
  2. Select [File]
  3. Select [Save as]
  4. From the [Save as type] menu select “Text (Tab delimited)(*.txt)”

Follow these instructions to use the template within Google Sheets:

Importing the template into Google Sheets:

  1. Open Google Sheets
  2. Select ‘File’ – ‘Import’
  3. Select ‘Upload’
  4. Press “Select a file from your device”
  5. Navigate to and select the file “Abebooks-template_EN.xmls”
  6. Press ‘Open’
  7. Leave ‘Import Location’ as ‘Create new spreadsheet’ and press ‘Import data’
  8. Press Open Now

Exporting inventory file from Google Sheets:

  1. Select ‘File’ – ‘Download’
  2. Choose ‘comma separated values (.csv)’

For information on how to send your files to us please review the below help page.

Sending Your First Inventory File