Skip to content



Founded in 1947, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) unites 22 national antiquarian booksellers' associations, representing bookselling businesses in 37 countries with over 1600 individual affiliates. Since its founding days, ILAB's aim has remained the same; to strive to uphold and improve professional standards in the trade, to promote honourable conduct in business, and to contribute in various ways to a broader appreciation of the history and art of the book.

All ILAB affiliated booksellers are required to adhere to ILAB’s detailed Code of Usages and Customs, protecting the buyer and seller by guaranteeing authenticity and professional handling of all material for sale.

Why did ILAB establish the Missing Books Register?

For well over 70 years, ILAB has taken its role as a leader in the security of antiquarian material very seriously. The Missing Books Register was established as a site where information can be exchanged between interested parties, in a desire to help each other. We see the Missing Books Register as playing a central role in the fight against crime as it affects booksellers, libraries, collectors and all concerned with safeguarding our cultural heritage.

The Missing Books Register is a complete redesign of ILAB's Stolen Books Database. For many years the Stolen Books Database enabled searches of stolen and missing books, manuscripts and other associated materials to be performed with the aim of aiding their recovery. As technology has improved ILAB realised that a new site was required to better serve the community of antiquarian booksellers, collectors, librarians, law enforcement agencies and all others concerned with the safety of antiquarian books, manuscripts, and associated materials.

Stolen Books Database to Missing Books Register

In 2021, the Stolen Books Database was updated and relaunched under the title Missing Books Register. The Missing Books Register is available free of charge to anyone wishing to register an item as stolen or missing. It is equally useful for those contemplating a purchase, allowing a quick check to be made to make sure that the item has not been listed as lost or stolen. Although this site is dynamic not all missing or stolen books are listed on the site. ILAB's aim is for the Missing Books Register to be as comprehensive as possible - and as time goes on to become the "gold standard". To help us help others we strongly encourage reports of any item that is missing or known to be stolen. Items may be added individually or can be added in quantity, all for no charge. Entries are checked for completeness and currency.

Other ILAB Security Activities

ILAB recognises its unique place in the world of antiquarian books and recognises the role our organisation and the booksellers who come under our umbrella can play to fight criminality. The Missing Books Register plays a leading role in our work but is by no means all we do. In addition we run an active worldwide security email network, liaise regularly with senior librarians and organise talks and symposiums. More about our activities and articles relating to security issues may be found by visiting the ILAB site. Videos of talks given at the symposium ILAB organised, Who Owned This? Libraries and Booksellers Consider Issues Surrounding Provenance, Theft and Forgery, held at the Grolier Club in New York in 2019, may be seen online.

To register or report an object, please follow this LINK.