FAQ

1) What is the ABAC?
2) How can I find an ABAC bookseller in my area?
3) How do I know who to trust when buying or selling books?
4) I have a book and I’d like to know what it’s worth. Can you help?
5) I need to have an appraisal done for insurance or probate purposes. What do I do?
6) I have books I want to sell. How do I go about it?
7) What should I look for when buying books on the web?
8) Where can I go to find the finest, most interesting books on the web?
9) I’d like help building my book collection. Can you guide me?
10) What’s a book fair, and how do I find out if there’s one in my area?
11) Can you recommend a good read?
12) I’m a bookseller. How do I join the ABAC?
13) What can I do if I know of a bookseller behaving unethically?



1) The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Canada (ABAC) is Canada’s national association of professional booksellers. All our members have been in business for many years, and have developed a high level of expertise in our respective specialties. As members, we are also part of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB http://www.ilab.org/) and work to their rigorously high standards of quality, scholarship and ethics.

2) To find a nearby ABAC book dealer, use our Member Search feature; if there’s a member nearby, you’ll find him/her therein.

3) You can always trust an ABAC or ILAB book seller. We are committed to upholding the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct, and our organization stands behind that commitment.

4) In general, our members do not give off-the-cuff valuations, but if you call someone in your area she/he may be willing to help you out. So much of the value of a book depends on its edition and condition that you will probably have to take the book to her/him. Note that if this is a book you are considering selling, a book dealer who might be interested in purchasing it may be unwilling to offer a valuation as he/she will have a conflict of interest. Remember, though, that there are many books that have little or no commercial value, so do not be surprised to learn that your book is more valuable to you on a sentimental basis than it would be on the open market.

5) Many ABAC booksellers offer appraisal services. Use our Member Search feature to find the nearest member - if there are several nearby contact the one whose subject specialties most closely match the books you have. Be aware, though, that an extensive appraisal will probably incur a charge as they can be very time consuming.

6) ABAC booksellers are alway on the look out for good books. Find a bookseller through our Member Search feature - if there are several members nearby contact the one whose subject specialties most closely match the books you have. You can rest easy knowing all our members adhere to a strict code of ethics that includes fair and clear dealing with all customers, whether as buyers or sellers. Bear in mind, though, that not all books are of interest to all booksellers (we each have our specialties), and some have little or no commercial value, so if someone comes to view your collections and is only interested in part of it, ask for advice on what to do with the rest.

7) The first thing we’d recommend is looking for the initials ABAC (if the dealer is Canadian) and/or ILAB. These are guarantees that the bookseller is working to the highest standards in the trade. You can trust the accuracy of the physical descriptions, the scholarship behind the notes, and the fairness of the pricing. Beyond that you should look for descriptions that are sufficiently accurate and detailed, that use proper descriptive language (see the ILAB glossary of terms for more information http://www.ilab.org/eng/glossary.html), and that guarantee easy returns should the item not be as described.

8) For the most interesting selection of books for sale, start with our Book Search, Member Highlights and Member Catalogue pages, which will allow you to look through the stock of the ABAC booksellers. If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, visit the ILAB web site’s Book Search page http://www.ilab.org/search_form.php .

9) Yes, an ABAC bookseller may be able to help you build your collection, though not all our members offer such a service. Collection development is a very personal thing, and works best with a dealer with whom you have developed a rapport. Check the subject specialties of our members and see who seems to have similar taste; call him/her to discuss the possibility of establishing such a relationship, and see what develops.

10) A book fair is where a group of book dealers come together for a day or a weekend, set up booths of their books and sell to the public - think of it as where you can find a number of small bookshops all in one place, each filled with carefully selected stock for you to browse through and buy. The ABAC sponsors the Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair in October where we bring fifty or more of the world’s top dealers together - it is a wonderful place to find and purchase interesting and unusual books of all sorts, from rare and antiquarian to curious and collectible. We also also maintain a list of other Canadian fairs.

11) Any of our books are good books, but we’ll leave the recommendations to your local reference librarian!

12) If you’ve been a full-time bookseller for three or more years and work to the high professional and ethical standard of the Association, you are eligible to apply for membership in the ABAC. Line up four current members (at least two of whom have been members for two or more years) to sponsor you, then send your application, together with the four letters of sponsorship to the ABAC secretary. For more information and to receive an application, please contact the ABAC Secretary mail to: info@abac.org.

13) If he or she is an ABAC member, please contact the Association mail to: info@abac.org right away. We will be in touch as soon as possible and will work hard to make it right.

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