Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2016 Issue

IOBA - Promotes Professionalism and Customer Satisfaction in Online Bookselling

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IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association) has 341 members in 15 countries.

Ah yes, “professional standards,” in the world of online book selling, particularly of antiquarian books and paper, that term has many meanings. The bar can be set high - as with membership in the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America) which requires substantial experience, recommendations from fellow ABAA members, actual vetting and annual dues.



Or it can be set low…. so low as to be non-existent - witness the thousands of sellers who have no trade affiliation, no professional experience and would not know a first edition from a cheap reprint. These are booksellers who in some cases do not even actually have the book they’re offering, not to mention may have also lifted its description too. Low. Low. Low. “Caveat Emptor:” Let the buyer beware.



Somewhere between those two ends there is IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association). It is one of many groups that sellers can join to increase professionalism and help assure customer satisfaction. The IOBA logo is a good indication of a quality operation.



In January 2016 IOBA had 341 members in 15 countries. It offers substantial benefits for a modest fee of $75 a year. The qualifications for membership are reasonable and the IOBA logo after a seller’s name inspires a degree of customer confidence because it indicates that the seller has been reviewed by others working in the trade and meets certain basic professional standards.



They are according to the IOBA website:



  1. You must have a minimum of one year prior bookselling experience.

  2. You must be an owner/partner/member of an online bookselling business that is not a publicly traded corporation.

  3. You must have and provide a valid resale license or business registration number if one is required to conduct business in your locality.

  4. You must agree to conduct business in accordance with the IOBA Code of Ethics.

(See more at: www.ioba.org/pages/member-application/#sthash.Bm2BHVEV.dpuf)



Meet those standands and pay the $75 once a year and you’ll receive quite a few benefits that comes with the territory.



They include the IOBA “Discuss List “ where members educate each other on best practices and other items of interest to online booksellers. There is also an active Wants/For Sale venue for members to do business with each other which is commission free.



IOBA is an all-volunteer trade association and there are many opportunities to join an active committee and contribute if you wish,” said Phil Keener of Keener Books and Collectibles ("The books you want...from booksellers you can trust") in Wisconsin..



Other IOBA benefits, he said in a letter encouraging membership in the organization, include a number of educational opportunities and scholarships for members such as scholarships to the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS) (www.bookseminars.com), the Rare Books School (www.rarebookschool.org), or the York Antiquarian Booksellers Seminar (YABS) (www.yabseminar.com) in England.



Our organization is open to all professional online booksellers and is not restricted to antiquarian booksellers,” he added.



Joan White, on the membership committee for over ten years and most recently chairman, explained that the process to join  is quite simple.  Fill out the application on line: www.ioba.org/pages/member-application. It goes to the chair, the chair checks it out and shares the results with the committee and you’re in. Sometimes the applicants need a little coaching. White said there is a mentorship program for those who almost qualify but are not quite up to speed.



She pointed to the ability to write an accurate description of the merchandise, “including the flaws,” as the most frequent area where help is needed. In other cases, sellers may not have the necessary tax paperwork in place. White was clear, if you’re receiving income but not reporting it, this is probably not the place for you. For others the return policy is a sticky point: Those with AS IS - FINAL SALE and “no return” practices do not meet the guidelines.



But obviously, with more than 300 members, there are quite a few that do.



Asking other members for comments about IOBA produced an enthusiastic response. They liked the lists, the book school and the networking with others in the trade. “The IOBA lists, said one, “are good because you know that the people you’re dealing with are a lot like you.”



"I was attracted to IOBA as a newcomer to the trade,” said William Knox of the Penang Bookshelf - outgoing president. Located in “a part of the world where professional used booksellers' associations barely exist, IOBA offered me a home, “ he said. Knox is a specialist in books about Malaysia and also the rest of Asia.




IOBA, he wrote in an email, is, ”The broad church of booksellers from all over the world, both novices and experienced hands, promoting independence and ethical selling. It has, in a short time, grown to become the largest international bookselling organisation devoted exclusively to online bookselling. This has been achieved and will be continued largely by the volunteering efforts of our members. IOBA maintains its position because it is sufficiently flexible to incorporate ideas of newer booksellers with the authoritative experience of those who have been in the trade for decades.”



Charles Fedorowicz of the UK, who started selling books online in 2001, wrote “I have been a member of IOBA since 2009 and served on the Internet Committee and now I chair the Outreach Committee. “I joined IOBA shortly after I launched my website after having cut my teeth selling on eBay. I knew that I needed some endorsement to give my customers confidence in making their purchase from my website and one of the several ways of doing this was joining IOBA and being able to show their logo on all my web pages.



That is possibly over simplifying things but that is pretty much as it was. Having retired from full time employment in the IT industry I decided on selling books online to keep me busy. Starting in this way made it difficult to join many of the established bookselling organisations because they all asked for more experience and references, which I did not have at the time.



I did though qualify to join IOBA…. I am truly pleased that I did as I have learned a great deal more about bookselling both from the website and from the very active Discuss List and from my sponsorship on the YABS program. I now understand that IOBA has given me so much more than just the logo that I initially wanted.”



Chris Volk, a California online dealer and a past IOBA president, also observed that there’s quite a bit of overlap between IOBA and ABAA.



ABAA has stiffer membership requirements and it costs more. Some dealers join IOBA on the way to ABAA and quite a few in the ABAA see the benefits of a group that’s exclusively focused on the online portion of the trade and join IOBA too.



In case you’re wondering if the long slog to the high end is worth it, John F. Kuenzig, of Kuenzig Books, a science and engineering specialist in Massachusetts, commented via emailThe ABAA designation is certainly worth it if you want to sell to the best collectors. After becoming an ABAA dealer, we started selling things online that had been there for a long time. Now we get cold calls from collectors in our area. Worth it? Absolutely.”



As for other groups that encourage professionalism, Madlyn Bloom in Florida reminded RBH readers that there are many state organizations. She’s an officer of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and urges those in her area to visit their site: floridabooksellers.com



There does not seem to be a complete list of state organizations, but there are certainly active groups in Northern and Southern California and Texas to name a few. It was hard to find a complete list. The one list we found coming from the publishing side may not be current or all inclusive: www.ibpa-online.org/resources/bookseller-associations/

------------------------

 

IOBA Election results

After 10 years with the membership committee, most recently as chair, Joan White, co-owner of White Unicorn Books in Dallas, Texas, a science fiction and fantasy specialist, is the new 2016 IOBA president.

 

Here is the complete list of officers:

 

President : Joan White

Vice President : Heidi Congalton

Secretary : Doug Nelson

Treasurer : Sharon Eisenberg

Members at Large : Zhenya Dzhavgova, Charles Fedorowicz, Sharon Heimann, Rachel Jagareski, Betty Kilner and Andrea Tomberg.



Karin Bergsagel, who was the co-chair, will replace Joan as chair of the membership committee.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, <i>El Ingenioso Hildalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha . . . Nueva Edición,</i> first Ibarra edition, Madrid, 1780. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Prayer Book in Latin and French, France, 1530-40s. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin, France, mid-15th century. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b><br><i>Die Ernsthaffte Christenpflicht,</i> earliest known edition of the first complete Mennonite prayer book, 1708. $300 to $500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Georg Agricola, <i>De ortu & causis subterraneorum Lib V.,</i> first edition, Basel, 1546. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Frederick Ruysch, <i>Icon durae matris in concava [convexa] superficie visae,</i> with 2 mezzotints by Jan Ladmiral, first edition, Amsterdam, 1737. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, <i>Eine Neue Art von Strahlen,</i> Würzburg, 1895. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pietro Carrera, <i>Il Gioco de gli Scacchi,</i> first edition, Militello, 1617. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> William Lithgow, <i>The Totall Discourse, of the Rare Adventures</i> [etc.], London, 1632. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Michel de Nostradamus, <i>The True Prophecies or Prognostications,</i> first complete edition in English, London, 1672. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pseudo-Methodius, <i>De revelatione facta . . . beato Methodio,</i> Basel, 1504. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Hrabanus Maurus, <i>De laudibus sancte crucis opus,</i> Pforzheim, 1503. $1,000 to $2,000.
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Autographs & Memorabilia. February 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Autograph album featuring signatures by prominent actors, politicians, musicians and authors, including Rudolph Valentino. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> An extremely rare working radio script for Crazy People No 29, the first series of <i>The Goon Show.</i> £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Manuscript prayer book, in German. 8vo, 1755 £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Italian Manuscript on Geometry, with diagrams, 18th century. £500 to £700
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Thorburn (Archibald). Sparrowhawk, original watercolour & gouache, signed & dated lower right, 1917. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Burton (Sir Richard Francis). <i>Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah.</i> 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, 1855-56. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> [Mount (Richard) & Page (Thomas)]. <i>The English Pilot. Describing the Sea-Coasts…</i> 31 engraved maps, W. & J. Mount, T. Page, 1756 £4000 to £6000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> D’apres De Mannevillette (Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Denis). <i>Le Neptune Oriental.</i> Paris & Brest, [1775 – 1781]. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Loring (Josiah). Terrestrial Globe Containing all the Late Discoveries and Geographical Improvements. Boston, Gilman Joslin, 1846, £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Shelley (G. E., Capt.). <i>A Monograph of the Nectariniidae, or Family of Sun-birds,</i> FIRST EDITION, by the Author, 1876-80. £4,000 to £6,000
  • <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Albert Einstein A remarkable letter on God in English, one of his most eloquent and quoted, 1 p, July 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Benjamin Lincoln's commission as Major General in the Continental Army, February 19th, 1777. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Broadside. A Poem Upon the Bloody Engagement That Was Fought on Bunker's-Hill. 1775. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Early, full printing of the Star-Spangled Banner in The Yankee, October 7, 1814. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Paul Revere. Engraving, “The Boston Massacre Perpetrated on March 5, 1770," in <i>Massachusett's Calendar 1772.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Earliest known newspaper coverage of Babe Ruth, "a St Mary's schoolboy," Baltimore, April 4, 1914. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Franklin, Benjamin. <i>The Independent Whig.</i> First Magazine Published in America, Philadelphia: Keimer, 1723-4. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Smith, Joseph. <i>The Book of Mormon.</i> Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin for the Author, 1830. First printing. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Last Words of Joseph Smith. Autograph Letter Signed from a Mormon disciple, conveying a contemporary account of the Prophet's final words, Nauvoo, July 27, 1844. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> John Brown's Body. Autograph Letter Signed from the daughter of John Brown attempting to arrange the return of her father's body, North Elba, Essex Co, NY, November 29, 1859. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Powell Expedition. Autograph diary of Rhodes C. Allen kept during the Powell Expedition of 1868, June 29, 1868 - November 16, 1868. $20,000 to $40,000

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