south southern african africa book dealers membership of sabda

SABDA Southern African Book Dealers Association

Antiquarian, out of print and collectible books from South & Southern African Book Dealers.

Do you want to apply for membership of SABDA? Read below.

Membership applications to SABDA follow a set procedure

  1. The applicant submits an original application in an approved form to the Secretary
  2. The application is distributed to the Committee members
  3. The Committee discuss the application and make recommendations regarding membership status
  4. The Committee submit details of the proposed new member to the existing membership for comment. If any member has any valid objection this is investigated. Valid objections may generally only concern matters of public knowledge and not hearsay.
  5. If there are no valid objections received from any of the members then the applicant is advised of his membership status
  6. Upon payment of the membership fee the member is entitled to the priviledges and responsibilities of membership

Applications are comprised of the following items

  • A fully completed application form
  • Two supporting testimonials from existing SABDA members
  • Sufficient images of the locale, premises and stock so that the committe can accurately visualise your operation

The application form comprises the following sections.

  • Contact information (name, address, telephone, email, etc)
  • Trading and storage locations
  • Trading history ( a review of when and how the business was started up to the present)
  • Trading entity details (see below for an explanation of this)
  • Stock held in terms of numbers, specialities, quality
  • Online presence, own web site and all other book sales sites listed on such as Biblio or Choosebooks
  • Specific requirements for online traders operating without a shopfront
  • Policies regarding book returns, loss or damage of goods in transit, provenance of goods purchased

Membership Grades

  1. Associate Member. This currently serves three functions. Firstly, an applicant deemed to have limited experience can be granted 'Associate Member' status for one or two years until it is judged that he may be granted full membership. Secondly, a member of staff of an existing entity may be accepted as an Associate Member if recommended by the owner. Thirdly, other parties allied but not fully involved in the antiquarian book trade may be granted Associate Membership. An Associate Member does not have voting rights except that they may vote for one committee member delegated to look after the interests of Associate Members.
  2. Full member. This status is granted to applicants of sufficient experience who meet all the requirements as set out and adjudged by the Committee.

Trading Entities

The basis of membership of SABDA is the trading entity. The trading entity may be a sole trader, a partnership, or a limited or cc company. A trading entity can have only one membership and hence one vote regardless of the number of branches it may control. One owner operating under a number of different names will only be entitled to seek one membership. Any change within the entity either in form, location, or ownership will mean that the membership of that entity will have to be reconsidered. Thus if a business is sold or transferred in any way then the new owners of the concern may have to be reassessed, and equally partners leaving and starting a new trading entity will have to reapply for any new trading entity that they intend to run. New trading entities may be required to establish trading bonafides before resuming full membership. Associate Members leaving established trading entities to start their own may also be required to establish trading bonafides before the new entity per se becomes a Member in it's own right. These decisions are at the discretion of the Committee.

What does SABDA look for in members?

The constitution requires that full Members should have a minimum sole trading experience of 3 years. Any one with less than this can only be granted Associate membership. SABDA is an organisation for the established trade, where members earn a full or substantial part of their living from their efforts in the open commercial market. Charity shops and paperback 'swop shops' will not be considered for membership. Membership potential is a function of experience in the general and specialised antiquarian book trade. Members are expected to abide by our Code of Ethics and other commonly accepted practices developed within the trade over the years. We do not ask that new members be instant experts on remote areas of specialisation, rather that a feel for the value of good books and fair practice of a sustainable business be evident. Members are expected to carry a preponderance of 'quality' stock at market-related prices. Members are expected to trade primarily in used and out of print stock. As we are not generally considered part of the new-book trade new stock held by members so trading is usually expected to relate to their specialities. Finally, membership is in effect granted by the applicant's peers within the trade and subject to the discretion of the Committee.

How To Apply

Applicants should download the application form from this site. (To be added shortly)

As much information should be given as possible to enable the commitee to reach a decision without having to ask repeatedly for additional input from the applicant. Since the Committe comprises members from various centres thoughout South Africa, the aim is to make a full package of information to enable those members to exercise reasonable judgement in the absence of personal knowledge of the applicant. The committee reserve the right to visit premises should they deem this necessary prior to making any decision on a membership application.
A completed application shall thereby indicate that the applicant subscribes to the Code of Ethics, Bylaws, and Constitution of the Association.


Applications comprising all the required information shall be forwarded as one package to the Secretary. The Secretary will assist in preparation of the application if required. This process may take some time, 2 to 3 months should be allowed.