Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ provides basic information about who we are. If you have further questions, please contact us.
What is the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association?
The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, or NCIBA, is a trade organization dedicated to supporting, nurturing and promoting independent retail bookselling. With hundreds of member stores in just about every community in Northern California (from Arcata in the north to Monterey in the South), the NCIBA has been an experienced provider of services for over two decades.
What kind of bookstores are independent bookstores?
All kinds! Our diversity is our strength. Our membership includes general interest bookstores as well as specialty shops. Children’s, travel, mystery, science fiction, antiquarian, used and even museum bookstores belong to the NCIBA. Some stores are as small as 100 square feet, some as large as 33,000 square feet. What matters is not the size of the store or the volume of business, but our dedication to quality service, community involvement and most importantly—books.
“Independent” seems to be a defining characteristic of your organization. What’s the difference between an independent bookstore and a chain bookstore?
Independent bookstores are locally-owned businesses with integral ties to their communities. Unlike “big box" chain stores, which describe what they sell as “product," independent booksellers are just that—booksellers. They are knowledgeable and passionate about the books they sell and their stores have distinct personalities and serve as important community resources and gathering places.
What exactly does the NCIBA do?
Our job is is best summed up by our mission statement: “To promote the vitality, diversity and prosperity of independent bookselling as essential to the life of our communities and crucial to the dissemination of ideas in our society.”
To that end, the NCIBA produces an annual trade show for its membership and publishes an annual Holiday Book Catalog that distributes over 1 million copies through bookstores and newspaper inserts to book consumers throughout the state. We also put on Books By the Bay, a free one-day outdoor book fair held in San Francisco on the lawns of Yerba Buena Gardens in July.
The association also offers educational programming to its members and advocates on behalf of independents, both through the media and politically in Sacramento.
Can I join the NCIBA?
Membership is limited to those “in the trade.” Regular membership is open to any individual member of the retail bookselling community whose primary place of business is California. We also welcome associate members, who while not entitled to vote, are vital to our community and its dialogue and receive all other benefits of membership. Associate members may include prospective booksellers, publishers, sales reps, wholesalers, members of the media, librarians, authors or illustrators and sideline/service/supply vendors.
For more information about joining the NCIBA, please contact us.