Code of Practice
The PBFA code applies to all members in whatever form they are trading; to ensure that all transactions are conducted to high professional standards. Whilst not attempting to dictate to members how they conduct their business, all members, whether exhibiting at the Association’s fairs or not, are expected to trade in an honourable and generally accepted manner. Malpractice is encompassed in the agreement, signed by all members on acceptance into the Association, that they will not “bring the trade or the Association into disrepute”.
Bookselling is largely a matter of trust - trust that the books are complete and in good condition and trust that the transaction will be promptly completed. Trust facilitates our business. To this end therefore we ask that members observe the following:-
Members should ensure that all their books are complete and if not that any fault is clearly stated in the book in question, and in any other related written or verbal description thereof.
Payment for books should be prompt. The tradition among booksellers has always been to pay by return of post, or at point of sale. A good tradition and one that PBFA members are encouraged to adopt. Prompt payment promotes good relations.
In catalogues, websites, quotations and offers for sale always describe books accurately and arrange the description in clear blocks e.g. Author, Title, Date, Contents, Binding, Condition - this is a commonly used sequence.
The terms Mint, Fine, VG, Good, Reading Copy, and Poor should be used. The only one of these whose definition is unarguable is Mint - without blemish as published. From there downwards the grades are increasingly subjective but a book which has corners bumped, inner hinge cracked and text annotated can never be, for example, VG. even “for its age”.
The more expensive the book the more important it is to check it with an authoritative bibliography. Such references should be available with the book.
Mistakes do happen and should a book be found by the purchaser to be defective or not as described, and the faults are drawn to the seller's attention within a reasonable time, then the seller should, if asked so to do, take back the book and refund the purchase price at no additional cost to the purchaser. It is courteous to contact the seller immediately with the information that the book is being returned and for what reason.