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Become a Member

Early in the year, when a few of us got together to discuss the need for our country’s independent bookshops to come together and set up a united front, we were eager to get started immediately.

We set up conference calls, emailed drafts of objectives and rules, and designed logos, but our plans to meet up and formalise the structure of the organisation has gotten delayed, understandably, by the covid-19 pandemic.

As it turns out, the pandemic has shown us exactly why we need to come together and pool in our knowledge, our voices, and support each other. During the lockdown, with our beloved bookshops closed, we have had more time to understand the range of concerns that affect independent bookshops, what our common needs are and how we can help each other. We have been assessing our readiness to deal with the new normal, sharing book recommendations with each other to while away the time, and our best practices, so when we restart, it is with renewed vigour and most importantly, with friends.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the formal registration of IBAI has been delayed. Please note, if you would like to be a member of the organisation, we will at the date of formal registration, let you know about the structure, the rules, and the nominal joining fee.


Independent bookshops are invited to join the IBAI. Applicants can view the membership criteria here.

  • Your bookshop should be a physical, brick and mortar bookshop, in operation for at least one year. It should not be exclusively limited to mail-order, pop-ups or stalls, and internet-only sales, and should not be not what is considered a briefcase-bookshop, i.e. one that is set up for a short time, or in various venues.
  • If your bookshop is one that is operated by a publisher, or distributor, or by one or more of either, your bookshop should stock more than 60% of titles that do not have your imprint, or the imprints you distribute.
  • Your bookshop is not one that is operated by publishers, distributors, or is not what is considered a briefcase-bookshop, i.e. without a fixed physical space, or one that is set up for a short time, or in various venues.
  • Your bookshop is an independent business, i.e. it is self-sustaining. Any losses during a financial year are financed by borrowings, not by subsidies from a group company, if there is one.
  • Your bookshop should primarily sell general books, and should earn not less than 60% of its revenue from the sale of general trade books if other items such as stationery, or other books such as textbooks or educational books, are also sold, or if a cafe is operated. An undertaking stating this will be part of the requirement when applying.
  • The bookstore should not have more than 3 branches. If the bookshop has more than one branch, the membership if granted will be as one entity only.

*Bookshop = a brick and mortar establishment primarily engaged in the sale of books. (i.e. 60% of the revenue comes from trade book sales)

*Independent = one that is not part of a large group of businesses. It is self-sustaining and operates largely without external funding.

*The management of the bookshop may be a proprietorship, a LLP, a partnership or a Private Limited Company.

If you are an independent bookshop owner , and would like to join the IBAI please ensure you fulfil the membership criteria and fill up the form by clicking on the link below. We will then get in touch with you.

Membership Form