ABAA and You

”...And my profound thanks to the ABAA as an organization. Since I joined four years ago, my business has been transformed.”


Established in 1949, the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) is a trade association of over 450 members located throughout the United States. Our members are demonstrated professionals who specialize in fine and rare books, maps, documents, autographs, illuminated manuscripts, ephemera, and prints which span the economic spectrum. We are united in a passion for books and related material, and we have bound ourselves to a Code of Ethics which guides us in our dealings with each other and our customers.

Professional Credibility

ABAA membership conveys recognition throughout the rare book world. A member of the ABAA is a bookseller with proven knowledge, expertise, and ethical standards. As such, serious collectors and rare book librarians often prefer to do business with booksellers who display the ABAA logo. Membership facilitates and expedites transactions with sellers in distant parts of the country and encourages reciprocal trade discounts, which can be helpful in the competitive marketplace.


ABAA Community

The culture of the association is the ABAA’s most important asset. For this reason, the ABAA maintains several email listservs where members can assist one another with issues including business practices, customer references, bibliographic points, and other practicalities of the trade. It means that you are always connected to a group of knowledgeable and helpful colleagues. Members come from a wide variety of backgrounds - booksellers who have been in the trade since childhood, former librarians, collectors, those transitioning from successful careers - whose collective knowledge benefits our profession every day.

Bookselling Community

Not only are you a member of the ABAA community, but the international community of booksellers as well: joining automatically confers membership in the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). In addition, the ABAA has close ties to other rare book organizations. With the Library of Congress and Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), we sponsor the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest. We have enjoyed a long association with the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the American Library Association (ALA), jointly publishing a brochure - Your Old Books - to educate the general public. Together, we also hold an annual networking event designed to forge closer relationships with libraries and institutions. With the Bibliographic Society of America (BSA), we sponsor an annual lecture on bookish topics. Finally, through scholarships offered via the Association’s Elisabeth Woodburn Fund, the ABAA both supports and endorses the Colorado Antiquarian Booksellers’ Seminar (a.k.a. “bookseller bootcamp”), held each August in Colorado Springs.

Book Fairs

Each year the ABAA sponsors three book fairs: San Francisco or Los Angeles in February (alternating years), New York in April, and Boston in the Fall. These are often fully subscribed and are among the best-attended and most prestigious fairs in the country where you will be exposed to the best material on the market, displayed and sold by the lions of the industry. Many thousands of collectors, librarians and dealers enthusiastically anticipate and attend each year. Further, ABAA membership allows you to exhibit at the Booksellers’ Showcase held in conjunction with the annual RBMS conference every June. Finally, booksellers who have or wish to attract international customers can also take part in numerous ILAB fairs held throughout the world in cities such as London, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.


Members have access to a wide array of Internet based ABAA sponsored programs. Members have the opportunity to list their books for sale on the ABAA website, as well as have their inventory searched by the ILAB meta-search engine. In addition, the ABAA offers two listservs where members may post books for sale: one limited to the membership and one for the public at large. The ABAA also maintains two blogs. The New Antiquarian details trade-related news and events, while the Security Blog notes missing and stolen books. The Security Blog is fully integrated with Twitter so that any entry made to the blog is automatically sent to the ABAA’s Twitter followers. As another measure of security, the ABAA posts missing and stolen books to all members via a listserv. The ABAA subscribes to a number of useful online bibliographical resources including OCLC, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and American National Biography. The ABAA features new members in its quarterly e-newsletter; its subscriber list is 1200 and growing. At abaa.org your name is available to all who wish to locate an ABAA member in their immediate vicinity. Further, members can post their catalogues thereby significantly expanding their potential to market to new customers.

Membership Directory

The ABAA continues to print and distribute a membership directory in addition to its web-based database. With Subject Specialty and Geographical Indexes, the directory provides your business exposure to the thousands of individuals each year. The Directory is distributed to and by our 450+ members, as well as at our three bookfairs and other trade-related events.

Giving Back

The ABAA has created two separately funded charitable entities. The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Benevolent Fund assists any bookseller, ABAA member or not, who encounters serious health, financial, or other challenges. The Elisabeth Woodburn Fund seeks to support book-related educational activities with grants or scholarships for those starting out in the profession and individuals continuing their education in the trade.

With the rise of the Internet and the decrease in open bookshops, these have been rapidly changing times in the book world. The ABAA has been working for over 60 years to make a difference in the lives and businesses of individual booksellers, as well as in the book community at large. Join us for now and for the future.

If you would like a membership application or have any questions please contact the Executive Director at hq@abaa.org or 212.944.8291 or the Chairperson of the Membership Committee via abaa.org; they will be happy to help.