About the Directory

The Foreign Book Dealers Directories Subcommittee (FBDDS) of the ALCTS Acquisitions Section Publications Committee was established in 1990 to develop directories of book and serial vendors who provide materials from Asia, the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the countries that comprise the former Soviet Union. The work of the FBDDS updated the 1979 print publication Third World Booksellers: A Selected List of Bookdealers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Latin America was not included in the revised directory series because of the excellent directory already published by Seminar on the Acquisitions of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM).

At that time, before the existence of the World Wide Web, it was particularly difficult to locate information on vendors of materials in developing countries. The committee recognized that acquisitions and collection development librarians from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) institutions would be able to provide expert guidance in the selection of appropriate vendors in the designated foreign countries. Surveys used to compile the information for the revised directories were sent to all ARL libraries for completion between 1991 and 1995.

From this information, the FBDDS created three directories that were published, first in print format and later electronically on the American Library Association's Web site. The first directory was Book and Serial Vendors for Asia and the Pacific in 1996 edited by Thelma C. Diercks, followed by Book and Serial Vendors for Africa and the Middle East in 1997 edited by Karl E. Debus, and finally Book and Serial Vendors for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union in 1998 edited by Barbara Hall. In 2000 the master vendor lists for all three directories were updated to include phone, fax, URL, and e-mail address when this information was available. In 2002 the FBDDS conducted a new survey of ARL libraries, asking acquisitions librarians at ARL institutions to update the vendor lists to indicate which vendors they no longer used, add new vendors when appropriate, and correct information within the vendor records. This latest directory merges the revised information from all three directories into one integrated Web directory.

Why continue the Directory at all in the Google era? Many colleges and universities have devoted greater attention to international events, and are developing programs that support study abroad and outreach to other countries; these demand the purchase of materials from varying regions of the world to support developing curricula. FBDDS reasoned that even with the easier access to vendor and publisher information through the Web, there is still value in having a single site for librarians and their staff that lists of foreign vendors regularly used by research universities in the United States, to serve as one aid in gathering needed resources.

The work associated with creation and maintenance of the initial print directories and their online equivalents has been significant. If it were not for the vision of the initial members of the FBDDS, in particular Joseph Barker, the dedication of everyone involved with the project, and the assistance of staff within ALA, the directories would not exist. Listed below are the individuals who have contributed to the creation of this directory.

Foreign Book Dealers Directories Subcommittee


  • Janice Lynne Alstatt, 1990-1996
  • Joseph Barker, Chair, 1990-1993
  • Steven Carrico, 2000-2003; Chair, 2002-2003
  • Karl E. Debus-López, Editor, Book and Serial Vendors for Africa and the Middle East, 1995-present; Chair, 2000-2002
  • Thelma C. Diercks, Editor, Book and Serial Vendors for Asia and the Pacific, 1992-present; Chair, 1995-1997, 1999-2000
  • Starla G. Doescher, 1996-1997
  • Doina Farkas, 1990-1995, 1997-1998
  • Kay Granskog, 2001-present; Chair, 2003-present
  • Barbara Hall, Editor, Book and Serial Vendors for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, 1995-2003
  • Katsuko Hotelling, 1993-2003
  • Caroline A. Killens, 1993-1996
  • David L. Marshall, 1993-2005; Chair, 1997-1999
  • Helen R. Miller, 1990-1999
  • Judith F. Niles, 1994-1995
  • Miriam W. Palm, 2001-present; Online editor, 2001-present
  • Ellen Pletsch Hamilton, 1993-1995; Chair, 1993-1995
  • Sally W. Somers, 1990-1997
  • Tricia Vierra, 1990-1994
  • Scott B. Wicks, 2002-present