IOBA was founded in 1999 by a group of concerned online booksellers. When the internet began to take on a life of its own around this time, and several pioneer used/out-of-print/antiquarian book search services opened their electronic doors for business, the booksellers who were really their partners in this new venture were thrilled with the results, as were our customers. Even at this early date, however, it became obvious that we needed to reconcile the wonderful efficiency and relative anonymity of online selling with the importance of maintaining traditional values. Forming a trade association gave us an opportunity to address the key issues of establishing trust between bookseller and book buyer, helping to train future generations of new booksellers, advocating for our members, and acting as a clearinghouse for information.
Each of the words in IOBA was carefully chosen (except for “Bookseller” which is kind of obvious). Booksellers are generally an “Independent” lot to begin with (organizing them has been likened to herding cats), and IOBA itself will always be a completely independent entity in every sense of the word. “Online” may seem obvious too, but this is what really brings us together. Many online booksellers do not have open shops of their own, and had no formal organizational meeting place in which to discuss common concerns. “Association” is the key word, in terms of the following altruistic and tangible benefits of membership.
When you join IOBA, you are strengthening the ranks of a true trade association that will stand up for traditional bookselling standards and for your professional livelihood. Annual dues are kept very inexpensive so that all concerned and capable booksellers can afford to join. It is very easy to get involved in many of the committees and projects. We have a nice discussion list, and members are quick to help one another. IOBA has a volunteer board of directors, a mandatory Code of Ethics, we publish an online journal, and we provide other helpful resources, including a database where members can list their books for very reasonable fees while maintaining complete control of their businesses. Customers know that IOBA booksellers are professional and trustworthy, and they know that satisfaction is guaranteed.
IOBA’s reason for existence is best expressed through its Mission Statement. As we grow stronger, you grow stronger. Please consider joining the growing ranks of the Independent Online Booksellers Association. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have in contemplation of such action, as well as anything more general in nature, so please feel free to contact us.
IOBA is committed to inclusive and accurate cataloguing and display, and encourages its members to educate themselves on best practices for handling culturally sensitive material.
You can learn more about our organization and view some of the resources it provides by browsing through the main navigation menu.