Application FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions about our application system. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact our office at (212) 944-8291 or

ABAA Membership Application Deadline: March 1, 2023 for the Spring Meeting of the Board of Governors

ABAA Membership

Q: What are the requirements for membership in the ABAA?

A: There are three types of ABAA members: Full, Associate, and Emeritus. The requirements for each type of membership can be found on the application page, but are also outlined below.

  • Full Member: The ABAA encourages applicants who are antiquarian or rare booksellers of good character, reputation, and credit rating who have been in business for four (4) continuous years and whose principal place of business is in the United States.

An applicant must have sponsorship of three current members of ABAA who will write letters in support of the applicant, and three persons to serve as references who may be members of the ABAA, ILAB, or other professions affiliated with the rare book trade (such as a special collections librarian). A biographical letter, a credit report, samples of catalogs or stock listings with full bibliographic descriptions are also necessary.

Sponsors must have been ABAA members in good standing for three (3) years. The Primary Sponsor must visit the applicant's premises personally within 60 days prior to the application.

The application must be received at least 60 days prior to a Board of Governors meeting (usually held in February, April, July, and November). Please note the application deadlines found at the top of this page. The applicant's name is circulated to the membership for comment, and there is usually an interview by one current local member. The list of applicants is also published on the Members only section of the ABAA web site and email listserv for public comment at the discretion of the membership committee. A 2/3 vote of the Board of Governors is required for ABAA membership.

There is a $100 non-refundable application fee. Dues are $750 per calendar year, as well as a regional chapter's dues where applicable. (Chapter dues range from an additional $15-$25.) Firms may have more than one Full Member, but each must be a part owner, whether or not the controlling owner. Each business entity can only have three (3) full members. Each member must submit their own application, as membership lies in the individual. Additional Full Members pay $250 annual dues. For businesses who would like to have more than one individual apply for Full Membership at the same time, please see our Joint Application.

All members of ABAA are listed on the ABAA web site and in the printed Directory as a benefit of their membership and are eligible to post catalogs and submit applications for book fairs. Read more about the benefits of membership here.

  • Associate Member: Employees of current ABAA members are eligible for Associate Membership in the ABAA. Applicants must be an individual of good character and reputation who has worked for or with a Full Member for two (2) continuous years. Applicants for Associate Membership must be sponsored by the Full Member who employees them, and the application must be accompanied by one other letter of recommendation from any other ABAA member in good standing. There is no limit to the number of Associate Members from any one business entity. Associate dues are $150 annually. Associate Members are listed in the annual ABAA Membership Directory and online at
  • Emeritus Member: Any member of the Association who has retired from active bookselling, and who has been a Full Member for not less than ten (10) consecutive years preceding the date of his/her application may apply for Emeritus Membership. A member has "retired from active bookselling" if that member no longer exhibits at book fairs, has ceased to display his/her books for sale online, and has ceased to engage in regular efforts to sell his/her books or to acquire books for resale. Emeritus members do not pay dues or vote on matters of the Association. Emeritus members are listed in the “Members Emeriti” section located after the Full Membership listings in the back of the annual ABAA Membership Directory.

Q: What is an antiquarian bookseller?

A: The ABAA's bylaws define an antiquarian bookseller as "any individual actively and continuously engaged in buying, pricing, and selling fine and antiquarian books and other printed materials and manuscripts."

Q: What are the benefits of membership?

A: There are many benefits to becoming a member of the ABAA. Click here to read about them.

Q: What are the benefits of Associate Membership?

A: The names of Associate Members are listed both in the annual Membership Directory and on the membership database on our website, Associate Members are able to be elected or appointed to national ABAA committees that are responsible for working on all the vital aspects of the Association, like Public Relations, Strategic Planning, Internet, and Security. Perhaps the most significant benefit of Associate Membership, however, is eligibility for Full Membership in the Association. An individual who has been an Associate Member of the Association for two (2) years or more is eligible to apply for Full Membership two (2) years after he or she becomes a principal (whether or not the controlling owner) in any antiquarian bookselling business. An individual who has been an Associate Member of the Association for four (4) years or more is eligible to apply for Full Membership one (1) year after he or she becomes a principal (whether or not the controlling owner) in any antiquarian bookselling business.


Application Process

Q: Is there a cost to apply?

A: Yes, there is a $100 application fee which you can submit via PayPal by clicking on the icon below. 

Q: What is the collection evaluation essay?

A: The collection evaluation essay should detail how you would go about assessing the condition and value of approximately 300 items in your area of specialty.

Q: How do I submit sponsor's letters?

A: You are not responsible for submitting sponsorship letters. As part of the application, you will be prompted to enter your sponsors' names and email addresses. After you complete the application and upload the required documents, click submit. Your application is now submitted and your sponsors will automatically be sent an email prompting them to submit sponsorship letters.

Q: How do I know when my sponsor(s) have submitted their letters?

A: Once you have submitted your application, you will be notified when all sponsorship letters have been received. If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to contact us (

Q: Back up: How do I get a sponsor in the first place?

A: Most booksellers get to know ABAA members by doing business with them, working with them in another capacity, or meeting them at book fairs or through other book/trade-related societies and organizations. However, if you are newer to the business or live in a geographically remote area, these may not be plausible options for you. The ABAA has established a Membership Adviser Program for booksellers who fall into this category. We will connect you with a seasoned ABAA member who is located in your area and/or specializes in the same field as you. The Membership Adviser will provide you with some more information about the Association and connect you with other ABAA dealers. If you would like to participate in this program, please contact us at and note 'Membership Adviser' in the subject of your email.

Q: If I start an application, do I have to submit it right away?

A: No! You are free to start an application at any time and check the "Save my progress and resume later" box at the top of the application page. You will be prompted to create a password and receive instructions and a unique link via email to resume your application at any time. The completed application may be submitted whenever you are ready. Just make sure to take note of the application deadlines listed at the top of this page and keep in mind that sponsors also need to submit their letters in order for the application to be complete. If you have concerns about timing, please contact us (

Q: When will I know if I was accepted into the Association?

A: Applications are voted on at our Board of Governors meetings, which take place four times a year and usually coincide with the ABAA Book Fairs (Boston, California, and New York). The fourth meeting takes place over the summer. You will be notified by our office within 24 hours of the meeting (whether you were or were not accepted).