Richard Weatherford is a bookseller who loves old books and new technology. After teaching college for a number of years, Dick turned to selling antiquarian books via specialized catalogs from his home near Seattle. He soon realized that computer databases had a lot to offer the antiquarian book business. In 1982, he wrote a business plan for a company that would build an online database for antiquarian booksellers. He called the company Interloc because it would serve as an interlocutor to help sellers to locate hard-to-find books. Unfortunately startup capital was harder to find than a signed JD Salinger, in part because personal computers were still scarce, expensive, and difficult to connect. In 1991, Dick was hired by Faxon, a book and magazine subscription service firm, to salvage BookQuest, an early online database for antiquarian booksellers. BookQuest failed, but it taught Dick a lot and it revived the idea of Interloc. Because computer use was growing exponentially, the idea seemed timely and Dick was able to raise nearly $50,000, mainly from booksellers who respected his thinking and vision. Interloc went live in 1993, prior to the widespread use of the world-wide web. Today, Alibris is a vibrant marketplace operating in the three fastest-growing areas of the worldwide media business: online sales, textbook rentals, and used/out-of-print books, music, and movies. Alibris helps independent sellers find buyers through marketplace solutions and partnerships with scores of leading global media retailers, including Chapters/Indigo (Canada), and Waterstone's (UK).
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