A recent discussion on social media illustrates there are some misunderstandings about the cost and application process when a firm has more than one owner or shareholder. Though not all shareholders may want to become ABAA members, for those who do the application process is slightly abbreviated as some components are waived — after all, the viability of the business has already been established.

Dues for each additional full member are $250 per year. The benefits of being a full member include the ability to take an active role in the governance of the ABAA through voting rights as well as the ability to serve on the Board of Governors and Committees.

 

The following Q&A aims to answer the most common questions.

 

Second Primary Full Membership

What is a Second Primary Member?

A Second Primary Member is any additional full member in a firm. Membership lies in the individual rather than the firm. Cost of membership is one-third the price of the first full member.

 

What are the requirements for Second Primary Membership?

The ABAA welcomes and encourages applications from individuals who are antiquarian or rare booksellers of good character, reputation, and credit rating who have been in business for at least four continuous years and whose principal place of business is in the United States. Applicants must be owners or shareholders in the firm.

 

What is the application process?

Individuals can commence an application at apply.abaa.org. An applicant must be sponsored by three current members of the ABAA who write letters in support of the applicant, and have three additional persons serve as references — these may be members of the ABAA, ILAB or other professions affiliated with the rare book trade such as a special collections librarians. Applicants must also submit a biographical letter and an evaluation essay detailing how one would go about assessing the condition and value of approximately 300 items in the applicant's area of specialty. 

The credit report, samples of catalogs or stock listings with full bibliographic descriptions, and application fee are waived for applicants whose firms already have at least one full member in the ABAA. Additionally, the requirement of a site visit from the Primary Sponsor is also waived.

Sponsors must have been ABAA members in good standing for three years. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, but must be received at least 60 days prior to a Board of Governors meeting to be considered at that meeting; these meetings are usually held in February, April, July, and November.

The applicant's name is circulated to the membership and rare book community for comment, and vetted by the Membership Committee. The list of applicants is also published for public comment. A two-thirds vote of the Board of Governors is required for ABAA membership.

Cost: $250/year

 

Joint Applications for New Members

 

Who can make a Joint Membership Application to the ABAA?

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

 

What is the application process?

Business partners, spouses, domestic partners, etc. may apply for membership at the same time, with the following requirements. Applicants must have sponsorship of four current members of ABAA who will write letters in support of the applicant and three additional persons who will serve serve as references -- these three may be members of the ABAA, the ILAB, or other professions affiliated with the rare book trade such as a special collections librarian. 

Each applicant should have the same primary sponsor, and share one additional sponsor in common. The final two sponsors should be unique for each applicant.

A biographical letter for each applicant, a credit report, samples of catalogs or stock listings with full bibliographic descriptions are also necessary. There is a $100 application fee.

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

Applications are considered on a rolling basis, but must be received at least 60 days prior to a Board of Governors meeting to be considered at that meeting, usually held in February, April, July, and November. The applicant's name is circulated to the membership and rare book community for comment, and vetted by the Membership Committee. The list of applicants is also published for public comment. A two-third vote of the Board of Governors is required for ABAA membership.

 

Cost: $750 + $250/year and any applicable chapter dues (not more than $25 in total)

 

Please check the apply.abaa.org for deadlines or contact hq@abaa.org.

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