The following letter from ABA President Ann Christophersen of Women and Children First in Chicago was sent to booksellers via e-mail on Wednesday, January 21.
Since announcing the proposed changes to the Book Sense 76 in my e-mail to member bookstores earlier this month, I, along with the ABA staff, have been listening to feedback and suggestions from members -- via e-mails, the Booksellers Advisory Council, bookseller forums, and other conversations with booksellers. The clear message is just how important the 76 is to their stores, and how much they value the breadth and uniqueness of the list. I am sorry we didn't say we would be seeking greater input before making an announcement about what we thought those changes should be. And I want to assure you that everyone associated with ABA realizes the key role that a distinctive and unique 76 list plays in the Book Sense program, and that the feedback on the proposed changes to the list has been welcome and appreciated.
The proposed changes were based on feedback we had received from booksellers and Book Sense Publishing Partners that a monthly list could be more focused and more timely and, in the end, be a better tool for selling titles. (And the decision regarding the 76 was also made in the context of not changing the Kids' 76 and in continuing to produce the seasonal lists -- Valentine's Day, Easter/Passover, and Halloween -- as well as the lists for Poetry, Audio, and Banned Books.)
We intend to keep on listening -- and, ultimately, to come up with a way to accommodate both those who are calling for shorter, more targeted lists and those who want to retain the longer versions. We recognize that maintaining the quality and diversity of the lists is critical, and we do believe that there is a way to do both.
And, if you have further comments and/or suggestions about this -- or any other ABA-related matter -- I hope you will always feel free to contact me.