The mission of the ABAA is to promote ethical standards and professionalism in the antiquarian book trade, to encourage the collecting and preservation of rare and antiquarian books and related materials, to support educational programs and research into the study of rare books, and to facilitate collegial relations between booksellers, librarians, scholars, and collectors. Read more about the mission of the ABAA.
As the oldest association of professional antiquarian booksellers in America, we have a reputation to uphold and we require our members to follow the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct.
Membership in the ABAA cannot be obtained simply by paying a fee or signing an agreement. Before being considered for membership, booksellers must prove that they are established, knowledgeable, and of excellent reputation. Prospective members must be sponsored by current members, and undergo a rigorous screening process. The average ABAA member has been in the antiquarian book business more than twenty years.
Read more about the ABAA Guarantee, Code of Ethics & Code of Conduct.
The Antiquarian Booksellers' Benevolent Fund is a non-profit charity fund established by the ABAA in 1952 as the "Charles Grand Memorial Fund" to benefit any antiquarian bookseller in time of personal need.
The Woodburn Fund, which is overseen by the Trustees of the Benevolent Fund and the Executive Director of the ABAA, gives financial assistance for scholarly research and education relevant to the antiquarian book trade.
The NCBCC recognizes outstanding book collecting efforts by college and university students, the program aims to encourage young collectors to become accomplished bibliophiles. Read more.
If you are a professional antiquarian or rare bookseller, learn more about how membership in the ABAA can help you and your business.
Information about the process of becoming a member of the ABAA.
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The ABAA-Books listserv is an email forum where ABAA members offer books for sale to collectors, librarians and the general public, as well as list upcoming book fairs in which they are participating, sales or events at their stores, new catalogs, and other commercial messages. The list is open to anyone to read, but only ABAA members are allowed to post. The list is solely devoted to offers of books for sale, catalog announcements, and other purely commercial messages that might be of interest to collectors.
ILAB is an organization that encompasses twenty national associations representing antiquarian booksellers who sell books, manuscripts, prints, and maps in thirty countries around the world. Most associations publish a national directory listing members and their specialties, which is available from them on request. The League speaks for two thousand leading booksellers throughout the world. Its emblem stands for integrity and professionalism in the rare book trade worldwide.
The League was founded in Amsterdam at a meeting of major European booksellers in 1947, and incorporated the following year in Copenhagen. It was born in the new spirit of international cooperation, which transcended national differences left over from the war. A half-century later, its aims, objects, and ideals have been adopted around the world.
The objects formulated in 1947 are still valid. Put briefly, they are to uphold and improve professional standards in the trade, to promote honorable conduct in business, and to contribute in various ways to a broader appreciation of the history and the art of the book.
The League publishes and upholds a code of practice based on wide experience of all its national associations. The code is binding on all members. It is a mark of success of this code that disputes are rare.If disputes should arise, the League mediates, and its authority ensures that judgments are implemented.
A few years ago, Michael Ginsberg embarked upon an archival journey for the ABAA. Recognizing the absence of member histories in the ABAA annals, Michael began conducting video interviews of members at our three annual fairs. The interviews cover members' personal histories as well as their involvement in the rare book trade.
The ABAA extends many thanks to Michael, as well as Taylor Bowie, who has also conducted a number of interviews.