Alibris, the online marketplace for used and hard-to-find books, has filed a registration statement with the Securities & Exchange Commission as one step in its plan for an initial public offering.

Although the filing does not discuss how much the company hopes to raise through the offering, it provides plenty of details about the company, which was founded in 1998. One of the most impressive numbers is Alibris's growth rate; since its first full year in operation, in 1999, sales have jumped from $4.9 million to $45.4 million in 2003, and in 2003 alone, sales rose 46%.

The company has also cut its operating losses each of the past three years from a high of $30 million in 2000 to $4.9 million in 2003. The improved bottom line was achieved largely through staff cuts; the company now has 49 full-time employees. In 2004, the filing says, Alibris plans a modest expansion, fueled in part by $4.8 million in proceeds raised through sale of preferred stock.

Despite cutting its losses, Alibris said it expects to continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future as it builds its infrastructure and increases spending on marketing and sales. Through 2003, the company had an accumulated deficit of $77 million.