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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.


Free Trial Offer from the Americana Exchange


The online library is a searchable database of the best-known Americana bibliographies as well as some not as well known resources. Among the best known are Sabin, Evans, and Church. Not as well known are Bradford and Pilling. Then there are other types of resources, like the catalogs of Thomas Streeter’s collection, the Maggs Brothers catalogs from the 1920’s, and many volumes from the Depression era American Imprints Inventory. And, the AE will continue to add new references to the database at the rate of approximately one every two weeks.

The AE has taken a different approach to building its database than is typical. All bibliographic references are broken into fields, such as author, title, printing date, printing location and up to 16 more, before being entered by hand. The result is a database that can be searched by any of these fields or combination of fields, providing a highly-targeted result. This is in contrast to the scanned facsimile database which can only perform a keyword search of the entire listing, often resulting in too many off target responses, such as you get with an internet search.

The AE Database immediately gives the smaller bookseller, or any bookseller without Americana bibliographies or with an incomplete set, the tools needed to fully understand and describe his or her titles. It can save a bookseller who does not specialize in Americana from letting an obscure but valuable piece slip away for a fraction of its worth. However, it is equally useful for the bookseller with a complete set of resources, and particularly for the person responsible for writing catalog or online descriptions. What is now a long search through dozens of volumes takes only seconds, as the database scans all resources for results and comes back with a response in about 2-4 seconds. The cataloger’s job is then made even easier because descriptions can be simply cut and pasted into a catalog page, rather than rewritten by hand.

The second subscription service offered by the Americana Exchange is its auction notices. The AE’s bibliographers examine book auctions worldwide, searching for listings within the field of Americana. They then break these listings down to categories within Americana, roughly 75 in all, and post the lots based on this categorization. What this does is allow the bookseller with an interest in Americana to quickly locate titles in the field coming up at forty plus auctions worldwide, and then find listings within a specialty. A dealer who specializes in Civil War material can find material of interest quickly and efficiently, without having to search through dozens of thick catalogs and lengthy website listings.

The AE services are priced to be available to everyone, even the bookseller for whom rare books or Americana are only a small part of their business. An annual subscription to the database is $59.75 a year, and to both the database and auction notices is just $74.50 annually. However, access to both of these services is free until December 15, 2002, by simply going to the site and signing up for a free membership. While the open trial period ends on November 25, IOBA members and IOBA newsletter readers can extend the free trial period by entering the code – ioba2002 – in the field marked “Promotion Code” when they sign up for free membership. Booksellers can fully test all of the features before deciding whether to subscribe. To try the AE services or learn more about them, go to

Mike Stillman



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