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Okay, I understand that there isn't a wide market for bonds like there are for stocks.
Some bonds are exchange-traded.

That's kinda crazy,
In order to have an exchange, you need to have a certain level of volume and demand. A whole lot of people who buy bonds hold to maturity, so there is no need for an exchange. Also, stocks are exciting--you can look at the stock and say "Since I've held it it's gone up 10x in value". Bonds don't have the same appeal to one's greed.

but then the variations in types of bonds and special features etc would make it harder to operate the market openly

I'd argue that one bond is more similar to another than one stock is to another, at least in terms of their performance. Unless the company is in trouble, most bonds in a market perform similarly. Not so with stocks.
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