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The IOBA Standard is the journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association and covers the book world, with a special focus on the online used, out-of-print, and collectible bookselling markets.


Alan Deffenderfer of ABD Booksellers

My interests in reading have changed over the years. When I was in middle school, my parents bought a set of encyclopedias. I used to stay up after bedtime in my upstairs room and read articles on places, events and things around the world that fascinated my young mind. In high school, I was on the debate team and I became absorbed in reading newspapers and new magazines to keep abreast of the latest political and cultural issues. I graduated with six As and one D; I barely passed college preparatory English! My interests developed and changed in college where I majored in both Religious Studies and English and minored in Political Science. At the time, I took every class in poetry and biblical studies that the University of Missouri, Columbia offered. I was fascinated with the way poems and stories functioned. I became interested in hermeneutics, the study of the interpretation of stories and narratives. These interests, both academic and personal, continued through graduate school and still inspire me to this day.

Alan Deffenderfer

While in graduate school I managed the college bookstore. At first we sold only new books, but eventually we started to carry both new and used books at our location. These experiences during my graduate school years deeply influenced my decision to go into business for myself. I come from a long line of self-employed family members. Parents, siblings and cousins all have their own businesses and while I was training to be a university professor, I was always intrigued by the possibility of owning my own business. When my wife had the opportunity to move across the country for a new job, I decided to go into business for myself. While I do teach at the local college, my online bookstore is the primary hat I wear. I have recently added FileMaker development, primarily supporting other booksellers, to my business model. In addition to selling books (and teaching), I am also a certified FileMaker Pro 9 developer. I expect to release a book cataloging solution in the Fall of 2008.

My book business, ABD Booksellers, specializes in new and used theological and philosophical books. While I carry some software for theological studies and books of a general nature, the majority of my stock is geared toward professionals and interested laypeople in the fields of religious, biblical and theological studies. I carry over 100,000 titles from hundreds of university, academic, church and religious publishers that range in content from biblical studies, theology and world religions to the mind-body problem, atheism, and the problem of evil. There is an ecumenical and academic spirit behind my bookstore that sets it apart from almost all other religious bookstores that I’ve encountered. Drop in and I think you’ll agree.

Alan Deffenderfer operates ABD Booksellers out of Havre de Grace, MD and can be contacted at




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