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General Advice for the Public

Advice on:
 

  • Finding a specific type of book, if you wish to buy or sell
  • Finding an ABA member to help you
  • Bookbinders

The following general advice should enable anyone with access to the internet to find an answer to their questions.  If you or the person you are representing do not have access to the internet, then please write to us (ABA, 6 Bell Yard, London WC2A 2JR) and we will send you a list of our members, their addresses and their specialities, so that you can consult them for their expert advice.

The ABA is the world's oldest trade association in the field of rare books and manuscripts, etc., and one of the most strictly regulated bodies of its kind.  All our members are bound by our strict Code of Good Practice.


Finding a Specific Book

You may look up books by using the Book Search page on our website.  This searches all the books offered for sale by the 2,000 or so affiliates of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.  It will give you an idea of the prices that booksellers are asking for their books (although you would expect them to buy for significantly less, allowing for their overheads and profit).

Should you not find what you are looking for there, then you can expand your search by going to ViaLibri, which searches all the major databases of secondhand books for sale in the world.  Not all booksellers on that site are members of a reputable trade organisation, so it is very much a case of "caveat emptor". 

When you look your books up on the internet or contact a bookseller for advice, you will need to supply the title, author's name, date of publication and publisher's name.  (It's wise when doing an internet search to put in as few details as possible on the first search, and then to refine your search if a large number of books come up).  You should note that the condition of a book makes a huge difference to its selling price, and that the absence of the original dust-jacket (if there was one) reduces the price significantly, too.
 

Finding an ABA Member to Help You

We have many members and they specialise in many different types of book.  The right bookseller will be able to guide you in your choice of books, to help you buy or sell, or to advise you on valuing your books. You can see our members by going to the  ABA Members page on the website. This allows you to search for members by name, speciality, town, county, etc. Other ways of finding members are provided in the Featured Members and Links Library areas of the website. 
 

Bookbinders

ABA members who have binderies are George Bayntun in Bath, Peter Harrington and Sangorski & Sutcliffe, both in London, and Temple Rare Books of Oxford.

Other bookbinders can be found on the Society of Bookbinders website, where the Society puts the following caveat: "Please note that inclusion in this list does not constitute endorsement or recommendation of individuals or companies by the Society of Bookbinders.  Always check the quality of a binder's work before employing/commissioning him/her".