Join IOBA

Interested in joining the Independent
Online Booksellers Association?

Before filling out the application form, please take a few moments to read about our guidelines.

IOBA is an inclusive organization, and membership is not limited to sellers of rare or antiquarian books. However, we do require our members to display professionalism—both in book descriptions and in interactions with customers and other booksellers. We look for sellers who provide accurate descriptions of their books, with all defects noted. We also look for sellers who provide the best possible service to their customers—from packaging to prompt shipping to easy returns.

There are only a few absolute requirements, as follows:

  1. You must have a minimum of one year prior bookselling experience.
  2. You must be an owner/partner/member of an online bookselling business that is not a publicly traded corporation.
  3. You must have and provide a valid resale license or business registration number if one is required to conduct business in your locality.
  4. You must agree to conduct business in accordance with the IOBA Code of Ethics.

Beyond these points, the Membership Committee bases its decision on the totality of the application, including looking at an applicant’s listings and feedback (if any) online.

The following factors are positives:

  • Descriptions that provide appropriately detailed bibliographic information (edition, page numbers, presence of illustrations, appendices, etc), describe any faults, and grade condition accordingly.
  • Images available for some or all books
  • Having your own website and/or making your listings available on multiple venues.
  • Good feedback, or anything else that customers and fellow professional booksellers would find reassuring and admirable about your business.
  • Letters of recommendation from bookseller colleagues.

The following factors are negatives:

  • Boilerplate language
  • Missing bibliographic or condition information
  • Grading that does not match the flaws described
  • Unprofessional pricing (extreme overpricing or use of automated re-pricing software)
  • Customer-unfriendly policies.

We recognize that entry-level booksellers may need a little help to take the next steps toward professional status. If the Membership Committee feels you are not ready for membership but could be with some guidance, we may offer you the opportunity to participate in our Mentorship Program. This offers newer sellers a chance to work with an experienced member of IOBA toward the goal of successful re-application.

The Independent Online Booksellers Association membership year begins January 1st, and dues are prorated quarterly according to the date of admission (January-March $60, April-June $45, July -September $30, October – December $15). Lapsed members who wish to rejoin pay the full amount. Annual dues are billed and should be paid during the month of December, prior to the start of the new membership year.

Professional Membership (Membership dues of $60.00 per year)

  • Benefits: May use “IOBA Professional Member” name and logo
  • Subscription to the IOBA members-only Discuss and Tradebooks email lists
  • Listing in the IOBA member directory, with a link to the member’s website
  • Eligible to list books at IOBA
  • Eligible to apply for IOBA-sponsored scholarships
  • Exclusive IOBA member rates on website design, business insurance, ABPC subscription
  • May vote in IOBA official elections and chair or serve on IOBA Committees
  • May hold elected office

Please contact IOBA’s Membership Committee for more information.

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