About the NCIBA

The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association (NCIBA) is a trade organization dedicated to supporting, nurturing and promoting independent retail bookselling in California. With over 500 members, including nearly 300 booksellers, the NCIBA has been an experienced provider of services for over two decades.

Organized as a mutual benefit non-profit corporation, the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association is led by a 15-person Board of Directors that includes four officers and two associate representatives from the publishing community. Officers serve two-year terms, while Board members are elected for one to three years, with elections held each spring.

The NCIBA employs an Executive Director and an Administrator while maintaining offices in San Francisco, California. To find out more about the NCIBA, please refer to our FAQ page, the NCIBA Declaration of Independents, or any of the following links.

The NCIBA implements many projects and activities for the benefit of its members. We are a proactive organization. What follows is a brief description of some of what we do.

Who May Join

Membership is limited to those “in the trade.” Regular voting membership is open to any individual member of the retail bookselling community whose primary place of business is a storefront location in California. Each company is entitled to one voting member. Membership dues for each voting member are $100 per year, and runs April 1 through March 31 (we do not prorate).

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, authors, illustrators, publishers, sales reps, wholesalers, members of the media, librarians, and sideline/service/supply vendors. We also offer special member benefits for those working in children’s books or bookselling — email  to inquire. Dues for associate members are $50.

Both regular and associate members may choose to designate other persons within the organization to receive mailings from the NCIBA (newsletter, events announcements, etc...). These additional members may be added at any time, at $40 per person.

Membership entitles you to free admission to our Trade Show, free admission or reduced rates at educational programs, participation in member services programs including the NCIBA Forum, subscription to our newsletter “NCIBA News,” one free copy of the annual Rep Guide, one free copy of the Membership Directory, appropriate inclusion on our web site, promotional programs and events, and other benefits. It’s a great deal!

For more information about joining the NCIBA, please contact us.

What We Do

NCIBA Trade Show

The NCIBA Trade Show is a three-day annual event, currently held the first weekend of October (Friday-Sunday), which brings together over 1000 booksellers from Northern and Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona with publishers, authors and other members of the book community. Show activities include exhibits representing over 500 publishers and other book-related vendors, numerous education workshops, our annual membership meeting, author breakfasts, plus author readings and autographings. This event is not open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged. Show admission is free to all NCIBA members; bookstore members may also bring store employees at no cost.

Day-long educational programming for booksellers is offered by the NCIBA on Friday, which is also the set-up day for exhibitors. We also host a social gathering in the evening. Exhibit days are Saturday and Sunday, with publishers displaying new and backlist titles, taking orders, offering show specials, and meeting with customers new and old. For booksellers, there are also a full slate of educational workshops to choose from as well as a schedule of over 80 authors signing books over the course of both days. The Saturday breakfast features authors of adult books, while Sunday’s is devoted to children’s authors.

Holiday Catalog

Our “Holiday Showcase” features adult and children’s titles in a beautifully designed full color format. This holiday book catalog, with a print run of 1 million, is inserted in key media throughout the region and available to member bookstores in bulk quantities, with every store receiving a minimum of 100 free copies. The books appearing in the catalog represent titles of interest to customers of independent bookstores. As such, the “Holiday Catalog” has proved to be very popular with customers and an effective sales tool for our members.

Education Programs

The NCIBA produces an annual spring workshop—a daylong program which includes a variety of sessions dealing with topics of concern to our members. Additional workshops and seminars are also presented at our annual Fall Trade Show (as noted above).

Additionally, periodic regional gatherings feature a contingent of Board members who meet with booksellers in a specific region (Sacramento, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Modesto, etc...) in order to get feedback and discuss issues with members whose geography makes more direct access difficult.


Since 1999, the NCIBA has produced a weekly regional bestseller list that is distributed to bookstores and reprinted in several media outlets. Lucite display holders are available free of charge to bookstores wishing to post the 11" x 17" printed list each week. The NCIBA also produces posters touting the economic benefits of independent bookstores and shopping locally.

Member Publications

Our bi-monthly newsletter disseminates association news, reports on bookstore activities and updates NCIBA projects and events. The Northern California Rep Directory, a guide to area sales reps, is updated and distributed every February.