ABA Board of Director Candidate Bios for 2022

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This year's Board of Director's candidates:

All biographies were written and submitted by the candidates.


Jenny CohenJenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen has co-owned Waucoma Bookstore with her husband, Muir, since 2008. Jenny and Muir purchased the bookstore from a family friend in Muir’s hometown of Hood River, Oregon. Operating a bookstore in a small tourist town, Jenny handles everything from events and buying to payroll and hiring.

Jenny has served on the ABA Booksellers Advisory Council. She is a current ABA board director, a former board member of Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA), a past PNBA Book Awards Committee member, and has developed numerous education sessions for the PNBA trade show. Jenny formed an Edelweiss users group for Pacific Northwest booksellers and publisher reps when Edelweiss was first released. She was also a beta tester for Edelweiss+.

“I am looking forward to bringing a diverse perspective to the ABA Board, not only as the daughter of an immigrant and a third generation Filipino-American, but also as the owner of a small, rural bookstore. I would like to continue ABA’s work with publishers in developing programs and improving terms for independent booksellers to create a profitable and sustainable business model, but I especially want to focus on what works for small bookstores that have little-to-no staff. ABA education has made me a better bookseller and I also want to continue to make ABA education accessible to all stores online, since many stores are not able to attend Winter Institute or Children’s Institute.”


Cynthia ComptonCynthia Compton

Cynthia Compton is the owner of 4 Kids Books & Toys in Zionsville, Indiana and the newly launched MacArthur Books, a brick-and-mortar general bookstore to open in April. She founded 4 Kids in 2003, and the store has since moved and expanded into its current location, offering a robust event schedule, school outreach, and large summer reading program. The store was honored with the Pannell Award in 2014, and has received numerous "best of" recognitions and community partnership awards. She has served on the board of the American Specialty Toy Retail Association, and as a member of both the nominating committee and Best Toys for Kids Awards for that organization. 

As an active volunteer in the bookselling industry, Cynthia has served as president of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, and on the ABA Booksellers Advisory Council, the ABC Advisory Committee, Nominating Committee, Technology Taskforce, and ABACUS Task Force. She was appointed to the ABA Board in the spring of 2021 to fill Brad Graham's board seat when he became president, and is now eligible for her first elected term on the board. She is a frequent contributor to the ShelfTalker blog in Publishers Weekly, and serves on several local and regional organization boards serving literacy, child welfare, and animal rescue.

”I was drawn to serve on the board as an advocate for children’s booksellers, my peers and mentors for the last two decades. As we emerge from the tumultuous and trying last few years, however, I realize that an even greater need for our association lies in building community among all of our members. The exhausting, isolating practice of running our businesses during the pandemic has in many ways increased the distance between our membership, our publishing partners, and ABA itself. Strengthening community through increased communication, clarity of purpose and action, and member engagement with the board is a critical task for the next few years. I want to serve our membership as we seek to bring all our community to the discussion of our mutual challenges.”


Jeff DeutschJeff Deutsch

Jeff Deutsch, the director of the Seminary Co-op and 57th Street Books, in Chicago, got his first bookstore job in 1994. Other than a two-year stint as a live-work artist at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Jeff has spent his entire career in bookstores. Previous assignments include the directorships of Stanford University Bookstore and the UC Berkeley’s Cal Student Store. He has been the director of the Seminary Co-op and 57th Street Books since 2014.

Jeff is committed to board service, and is a current member of the following boards:
• Princeton University Press
• Bookshop.org (Advisory)
• Independent Publishers Caucus (Advisory)
• New Press Board
• Restless Books (Advisory)

He previously served on the ABA’s Bookseller Advisory Committee, Governance Committee, and Education Committee, and the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association.

“I am tremendously inspired by the opportunities facing our industry, even if some of them are brought on by global rupture or systemic failures of our industry. I am speaking specifically of the opportunities to deliberately create an industry in the wake of the pandemic that addresses the twin — and related — failures of our industry to build an equitable and inclusive industry, one whose economic model provides remuneration commensurate with the skills required to forge a professional career as a bookseller (a term I use to include hourly staff, owners, and everyone in between). Alas, we are not even close! It is shameful.”

“But there are (mostly?) no villains. We are facing a dire moment in the industry that threatens publishers, authors, distributors, and bookstores — all. I believe that the only path forward is a collaborative one. And so, my hope, should I have the opportunity to serve, would be to leverage the creative and resourceful energy with which young (in tenure, not age) BIPOC and non-traditional booksellers, the Reimagining Bookstores movement, and the national movement to consider more conscientious spending and the need for public services and support for diverse businesses (articulated so well by our very own Danny Caine!) that are galvanizing the public discourse about what it means to be a bookseller in the 21st century.” 


Michael HerrmannMichael Herrmann 

Michael Herrmann is the owner of Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire. Michael bought Gibson’s in 1994, and has expanded the store twice, in 1998 and 2013. Over the years, he has been active at the ABA and regional level. He served on the advisory council for NEIBA, and later as NEIBA board member and treasurer. He has served on the advisory council for ABA and also on the Indies Introduce committee, and has been on several panels at Winter Institute.  Other board service has included the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, the NH Poet Laureate committee, the Sarah Josepha Hale Award, Intown Concord (a shop-local initiative), Concord Reads (a one-book program), the Concord Public Library Foundation, and the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce.

“There are so many issues and opportunities facing the ABA Board,” Michael says. “We’re in the middle of a lot of important conversations, about the dignity of work, financial sustainability (both for stores and for booksellers), growth for the independent channel, core values of the profession, DEI work, new business models, antitrust advocacy, book banning, the list goes on. The board also has important work ahead supporting ABA staff, as they roll out important improvements in IndieCommerce. It’s an exciting time to serve on the ABA Board, and I’ve been honored to be included.”


Raquel RoqueRaquel Roque

Hola! Raquel Roque comes from a tri-generational family of booksellers. As a young man, her Dad opened up an “American Bookstore” in Havana in the turbulent 1950s, and as an immigrant  founded a small bookshop, Downtown Book Center in Miami during the 1960s.

The whole family pitched in, and it has been non-stop for Raquel ever since in bookselling.

With a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, certification programs from the U.S. Small Business Administration and numerous ABA Bookselling Schools throughout the years, Raquel grew up working in the bookstore and evolved the business to wholesaling, distributing, publishing, writing and consulting. Her career highlights include being founder of Downtown Miami Partnership (a quasi governmental agency of retailers), being part of the PW Publishing Mission to Cuba, being a cofounder of Miami Book Fair, Winner of  the 2004 Latino Award: Best Latin Bookseller in the United States — and having her cookbooks still in print!  

But what she is most proud of is her professional collaboration with fellow bookseller and friend Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books. She loves working at Books & Books alongside the new generation.

Her vision of bookselling has evolved but never wavered from the fact that it has to be a profession. She says: “You gotta make a living at it!” Go with the flow, reinvent your bookselling skills at every turn, learn, learn, learn every day, and have fun!

In the twilight of her years, Raquel wants to pass on the passion of being an American Bookseller and reflects that her Dad would be so proud!  


About ABA

The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.


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