Dear Carl ... In Thanks and Appreciation

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ABA President Ann Christophersen this week writes a special open letter of appreciation and gratitude to Carl Lennertz, who is moving to HarperCollins as vice president, marketing for the HarperCollins imprint.

Dear Carl,

Carl Lennertz

I know I am speaking for my many bookseller colleagues when I express my enormous appreciation and gratitude for all you've done for Book Sense these past four years. You have helped inspire, motivate, and organize us to work together to promote and advance good books to our customers. And, while we will sorely miss you and the intoxicating enthusiasm your many e-mails and exclamation marks have generated, we look ahead with confidence precisely because of what you have bequeathed to us: helping to launch and guide to maturity a program that will continue to positively characterize independent bookselling for a long time to come. For that, we will be forever in your debt.

We know that you originally came to ABA expecting to be here only for a year, and we have been delighted and rewarded to see that one year turn into four. We know that we'll continue to be able to work together when you begin your new role at HarperCollins. But as we say goodbye this week, we are filled with many memories of an extraordinarily powerful partnership. You've helped us reaffirm that independent bookselling remains a critically vital voice and that when we work together we can make a difference. You've helped us remind our customers of what it is that they treasure about our stores ... and how each one of us can be part of a national network without sacrificing our individual identity. You've led the way in reestablishing the notion in the minds of our colleagues in the publishing community that independent bookstores play an indispensable role in finding an audience for an array of titles. And, you've done all this with a wonderful sense of humor and a clear belief in our cause.

You've shared information with us about new titles, and have become a first-alert system, bringing to the attention of many bookstores titles we should be on the lookout for. And, probably most importantly, you have played a critical role in reestablishing the community of independent bookstores all across the country -- so that no matter how small (or big) we are, and no matter how esoteric (or general) our inventories are, we all recognize that we are part of something bigger than our individual stores.

While this is goodbye for now, I want you to put Friday evening, May 30th, on your calendar, because we can't think of a more appropriate place than ABA's annual Celebration of Bookselling at BEA for all of us to come together to express our heartfelt gratitude and to celebrate your contribution to Book Sense. See you there!

In the meantime -- good luck in your new position -- and keep those e-mails coming. From all of us -- until we get together in L.A. in late May -- thank you. You've made us better booksellers!