On Saturday, April 6, approximately 30 booksellers attended an ABA Booksellers Forum, in conjunction with the Southern California Booksellers Associations Spring Workshop, held at the U.S. Grant Hotel -- a Wyndham Historic Hotel in San Diego, California, from noon to 2:00 p.m.
Attending the meeting were Avin Mark Domnitz, association CEO; Oren Teicher, COO; ABA Board member Lilla Weinberger of Readers Books in Sonoma, California; and Len Vlahos, BookSense.com director.
The major topic of discussion at the San Diego forum was the future -- specifically, ABAs proposed new Strategic Plan. Prior to Saturdays meeting, booksellers had been sent a survey questionnaire, along with the invitation to the forum, asking them to rank the six proposed goals in the new plan in order of importance. The same survey was also handed out at the forum itself. According to Jennifer Bigelow, executive director for SCBA, forum attendees seemed appreciative that ABA was "asking for input as it plans its next few years."
Melony Vance, of Local Hero Books in Ojai, California, concurred. "It was nice to have them come out to California and be available in case anyone had any questions. They did a nice job laying out the [Strategic Plan]."
Also discussed at the forum was whether ABA would continue its advocacy role following the settlement of the suit against the chains. Domnitz stressed that ABA is strongly committed to its role as a booksellers advocate. Looking ahead, he said, a key part of that would be the ABA Book Buyers Handbook online, especially because it will give booksellers easy access to the most up-to-date terms of sale and publishers special offers.
Said Local Hero Books Vance, "People seemed happy about [the Book Buyers Handbook]. It gives you easier access to specials, and a publishers rep thought it was a good thing that their specials would be updated online regularly."
ABA also asked booksellers to help keep the association updated on whats occurring on booksellings "front lines," Vance continued. "When we hear of a discrepancy, we need to pass it on to them, in case [ABA] doesnt hear about it," she explained. "If we see anything unusual," ABA members should make sure the association is informed of it. Booksellers can send any such information to ABAs Kristen Gilligan at firstname.lastname@example.org.