Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America
Code of Ethics
The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America was founded in 1949 to encourage and promote interest in and appreciation of antiquarian books and other printed materials, prints, and manuscripts; to establish and maintain professional and ethical standards; and to foster friendly relations among both the membership, and the bookselling community at large.
The Association recognizes that members are obligated to operator their businesses in accordance with local, state, and federal laws. Association members are expected to exercise common sense and courtesy in dealing with each other and with the general public.
Members must share in the responsibility of furthering mutual trust and respect between the trade and the public by conducting their businesses with fairness and integrity. The privilege of membership in the Association and the display of its logo carry with it the responsibility of maintaining and furthering the objectives of the Association. Toward this end the following ethical guidelines are provided:
1. An Association member shall be responsible for the understanding and use of the specialized terminology of the trade.
2. An Association member shall be responsible for the accurate description of all materials offered for sale. All significant defects, restorations, and sophistications should be clearly noted and made known to those to whom the material is offered or sold. Unless both parties agree otherwise, a full cash refund shall be made available to the purchaser of any misrepresented material.
3. (a) An Association member shall be responsible for passing to the buyer clear title to the material sold, and shall not knowingly purchase, hold, or attempt to resell stolen materials. An Association member shall make all reasonable efforts to ascertain that materials offered to him or her are the property of the seller.
(b) An Association member shall made every effort to prevent the theft or distribution of stolen antiquarian books and related materials. An Association member shall cooperate with law enforcement authorities and the Association’s Board of Governors in the effort to recover and return stolen materials, and apprehend and prosecute those responsible for the theft, including, but not limited to, providing the names of the persons involved.
(c) The ABAA endorses the principles embedded in national copyright laws and international copyright treaties. An Association member shall not knowingly violate these laws or treaties.
4. An Association member shall vouch for the authenticity of all materials offered for sale, and shall make every reasonable effort to establish their true nature. Should it be determined material offered as authentic is not authentic or is questionable, that material shall be returnable for a full cash refund , or other mutually agreeable arrangement. Material proven to be not authentic, or of disputed or undetermined nature, shall not be offered for sale unless all facts concerning it are disclosed in writing.
5. Terms and conditions of sale should be clearly and explicitly stated in all catalogues and in offers, and it should be made clear at the time of the offer whether or not material is offered subject to prior sale. An Association member should pay in full for all material purchased within 30 days from date of invoice =unless other arrangements are made. Terms of sale should be clearly defined between seller and buyer at the time of sale and payment should be made in accordance with these terms. However, these terms ate immutable and may be renegotiated by mutual consent.
6. Responsibility for damage in transit shall rest with the sender unless otherwise stipulated. Association members should see to the careful and appropriate handling, packing, and shipping of material in order to insure that it arrives in the same condition as when purchased. The cost of returning material incorrectly described shall be the responsibility of the seller.
7. An Association member should permit any other Association member in good standing to buy from his or her inventory any material offered for sale (i.e., priced), and to extend to the Association member a reciprocal trade discount.
8. An Association member should have all material offered for sale clearly marked with the selling price. Material not for sale or in the process of being catalogued should be appropriately segregated.
9. An Association member offering appraisal services shall be responsible of knowing current appraisal regulations as stipulated by the Internal Revenue Service. An Association member shall conduct such appraisals in strict compliance with these regulations.
10. An Association member should neither approach nor solicit customers in any other bookseller’s shop, book fair booth, or place of business without the introduction or consent of the proprietor.
It is essential for the reputation of the Association that complaints or disputes involving Association members be resolved in a manner befitting the objectives of the Association. Claims against Association members, or disputes among members, should be made in writing to the Chairperson of the Ethics Committee. Association members should abide by the decisions of the Board of Governors. Violations of any Association guideline may be grounds for censure, suspension or expulsion from the Association.