Code of Ethics

The Independent Online Booksellers Association is an international trade association founded in 1999 for the purpose of ensuring the preservation of traditional bookselling values in the face of rapid developments in the world of online bookselling. While various laws will govern how members operate their businesses, members shall take further responsibility for fostering mutual trust and respect between booksellers and customers by providing reliable services and conducting themselves with fairness and integrity, as detailed in the following Code of Ethics:

  1. Members will provide full business contact information.

  2. Terms and conditions of sale, including return policies, shall be clearly stated when offering any items for sale. These terms and conditions may be modified by mutual consent between member and customer.

  3. Members will be familiar with the correct usage of the generally accepted terms of the book trade and will apply them accurately in the conduct of their business.

  4. Members will provide a thorough and accurate description of all items offered for sale, noting appropriate bibliographic details, all significant defects, and all restorations or sophistications.

  5. Members agree to a policy of guaranteed customer satisfaction. Items may be returned within a reasonable period of time, and a full refund will be issued upon safe receipt of the item. The member will cover return shipping costs if there was an error in the listing. Items lost or damaged during shipping from the member to the customer are the responsibility of the member.

  6. Members will make every effort to keep their listings current. Items that have been sold should be removed as quickly as possible.

  7. Members will respond to customer and book trade enquiries in a timely and courteous manner.

  8. Members will make reasonable efforts to ascertain the authenticity of any material offered for sale. Unless other terms are clearly agreed upon by both parties, members will unconditionally guarantee representations of authenticity of all items offered for sale.

  9. Members will not knowingly purchase or sell stolen material, and will cooperate with authorities and institutions on the recovery of stolen material.

  10. Members will not knowingly violate copyright laws.

  11. Members offering appraisal services shall abide by all applicable laws, and will adhere to the recognized standards governing appraisals. They shall not misrepresent their credentials, and they shall inform all parties of any potential conflict of interest in writing.

  12. Members entering into a consignment agreement shall make all provisions of that agreement clear to the consignor in advance and in writing.

Unresolved disputes involving any member of IOBA should be reported to the IOBA Ethics Committee by sending an email to ethicsinfo@ioba.org, and members shall abide by the decisions of the Committee regarding the settlement of such disputes. Violation of this Code of Ethics may be grounds for censure, suspension, or expulsion. By joining IOBA, members agree to fully adhere to this Code of Ethics.

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