February 23, 2010, 12:00 AM

Alibris buys a software developer that specializes in online marketplaces

Alibris, which operates Alibris.com, an online marketplace for new and used books, CDs and DVDs, is buying Monsoon, which provides desktop software that allows sellers to list and sell on a variety of marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay and Alibris.

Alibris Inc. is buying Monsoon Inc., which provides desktop software that allows sellers to list and sell on a variety of marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay and Alibris.

Alibris operates Alibris.com, an online marketplace for 12,000 sellers of new and used books, CDs and DVDs, and provides the technology that allows Barnes and Noble and others to provide online marketplaces where other booksellers can offer products for sale.

Alibris Holding Inc., parent company of Alibris Inc., will buy Monsoon using a combination of cash and stock. Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.

When the deal closes in March, Alibris and Monsoon will continue to operate as separate businesses under their existing names. “We plan to fertilize ideas across the two companies, but we will each maintain our independence,” says Brian Elliott, president and CEO of Alibris Holdings, parent company of Alibris, No. 116 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “We want to maintain Monsoon’s uniqueness.”

Leveraging tools and services from both Alibris and Monsoon will broaden sellers’ reach and improve their sales potential, says Elliott. However, Alibris customers will not automatically become customers of Monsoon, he says. “To be a Monsoon seller you will have to be a customer of Monsoon,” he says.

The move may be a harbinger of future moves, he says. “Alibris is increasingly focused on the services space,” he explains. “You can expect we’ll continue to invest in the space and build out our tools and reach for sellers.”

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