Independent Online Booksellers Association

The Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA) is a trade association of independent used and rare booksellers who sell online.


IOBA was founded in 1999 by a group of independent booksellers to address the opportunities and challenges of the emerging online book selling market. Its purpose is to promote internet bookselling and foster the interests of internet booksellers. On August 22, 2002, IOBA was incorporated in the state of Delaware as a non-profit organization.[1]


IOBA has over 300 members internationally.[2] Its members sell books through venues including brick and mortar stores, their own websites, book fairs, and online bookselling services, but all members have some or all of their stock available online.

To join, an applicant must have online bookselling experience, a minimum number of books listed, a business license as required by their place of residence, and book descriptions and condition statements presented in terms recognized by the bookselling profession.[3] In addition, the applicant must abide by IOBA's Code of Ethics,[4] which spells out professional standards and return policies.

Applicants who do not meet membership requirements may be eligible for the IOBA Mentorship Program, which matches a professional member with the applicant for one-on-one assistance in developing the applicant's business to meet IOBA standards.[5]


IOBA operates under a set of bylaws and is governed by a board of directors elected by the membership. The Board of Directors consists of a four-person Executive Committee and six At-Large Representatives. The Executive Committee is composed of the officers, who are each elected for a one-year term: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. The six At-Large Representatives each serve a three-year term with staggered election dates so that two are elected each year.

Standing committees further the work of IOBA: Membership, Bylaws, Finance, Internet Operations, and Public Relations. The Chairs of these committees are appointed by the President, and are ex-officio, non-voting board members.[6]


See[7] which states:

The Independent Online Booksellers Association promotes independent online bookselling by:

  • Maintaining high professional standards among the membership, backed up by a Code of Ethics.
  • Furthering bookseller professional development through the establishment of a Mentorship Program, the granting of scholarships, and the publication of an online journal the IOBA Standard.
  • Promoting trust between customers and booksellers by providing a safe online environment for the sale and purchase of books.
  • Fostering consumer awareness of online book buying.
  • Interacting with businesses, organizations, and governmental entities that affect online bookselling.
  • Providing programs and services that will help member booksellers to strengthen their businesses.

Professional standardsEdit

The IOBA provides resources to booksellers and the general public that promote professionalism and transparency in book descriptions and the selling process.[8] These include a Code of Ethics to which members are required to adhere, guidelines for book condition descriptions, definitions of book-related terms and abbreviations, and an annotated list of reference works useful to booksellers and book buyers.

Professional developmentEdit

IOBA supports professional education for booksellers, and offers an annual scholarship contest. The 2010 contest offered two full-tuition scholarships with a stipend for travel expenses.[9] One of these scholarships was reserved for the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS).[10] The other scholarship could be used at CABS, the Rare Book School (RBS), the California Rare Book School (CalRBS) or the London Rare Book School.

IOBA publishes an online magazine called The Standard,[11] with articles pertinent to the bookselling trade and to collectors. It is primarily written by the membership to share their experiences and expertise, but it is available to the general public.

Customer TrustEdit

IOBA reassures customers with a Book Buyer's Bill of Rights[12] that guarantees accurate descriptions, reasonable shipping costs, and a satisfaction guaranteed return policy.

Related organizationsEdit

IOBA monitors organizations that affect online bookselling and sends alerts to its own members, or writes letters on behalf of the IOBA membership. For example, in December 2009, IOBA issued a warning advisory to members about changing description standards on that could jeopardize a sellers and eBay accounts.[13] In early 2010, IOBA sent an official letter to authorities in the United Kingdom (including the UK's OFT), France, Germany and the European Union, protesting at Amazon "Price Parity Policy" labeling it "dangerously anti‐competitive".[14][15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Division of Corporations - Online Services: General Information Name Search". State of Delaware, Department of State, Division of Corporations. Archived from the original (requires entry of name: Independent Online Booksellers Association or File Number: 3560613) on January 6, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  2. ^ Publishers Weekly Staff (June 7, 2010). "IOBA Takes on Amazon in Europe". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved Jun 13, 2010.
  3. ^ "New Member Application (Professional Membership)". IOBA. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
  4. ^ "Code of Ethics". IOBA. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
  5. ^ "IOBA Mentorship Program". IOBA. Retrieved June 33, 2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ "Bylaws of the Independent Online Booksellers Association". IOBA. Retrieved June 23, 2010.
  7. ^ "Independent Online Booksellers Association - Mission Statement". IOBA. (c) 1999 to present. Retrieved June 19, 2010. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Gibson, Greg. "The Naval Chronicle". Bookman's Log. Bookman's Log. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
  9. ^ "Annual IOBA Scholarship Contest" (PDF). IOBA. 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Scholarships for the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar". Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar. (c)2010. Retrieved June 19, 2010. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ "The Standard". IOBA. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  12. ^ "Book Buyers Bill of Rights". IOBA. (c)1999-present. Retrieved June 19, 2010. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ "Breaking Bookselling News from". Archive for December 2009. Archived from the original on September 18, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2010. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ Jones, Phillip (March 6, 2010). "Online booksellers protest at Amazon 'price parity' move". Archived from the original on June 6, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  15. ^ Lieberman, Michael (June 2010). "Amazon's Next Price War?". reader blog. Retrieved June 2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  • Overmier, Judith A. and Taylor, Rhonda Harris "Managing the Mystery Collection: From Creation to Consumption". Routledge, 2006.
  • Tedford, Marie and Goudey, Pat "The Official Price Guide to Collecting Books, 6th Edition". House of Collectibles, 2008.
  • Mould, Michael E. "Online Bookselling: A Practical Guide with Detailed Explanations and Insightful Tips". Lulu, 2006.
  • Windwalker, Stephen "Buying Books Online: Finding Bargains and Saving Money at Booksense Stores, Amazon's Marketplace, and Other Online Sites". Harvard Perspectives Press, 2002.

External linksEdit