To My Independent Bookselling Buds,
Wowzer! I can’t believe this is my last letter to you as ABA president. The past seven years serving on the ABA Board has truly flown for me. So much has changed in our world and in the literary landscape over these years — ups and downs in the economy, new methods and forms in which to sell books, new opportunities, and, most of all, the gut realization that we are here to stay and not just surviving, but thriving.
Independent bookselling is the essential recipe ingredient that puts the right books in the right hands at the right times. We’ve always known this, but now the rest of our industry is keenly aware that what we do for books, authors, and readers is unmatched and has to be supported.
But before I say my final goodbye at the end of this letter, I have a few topics to talk to you about.
I want to congratulate all of you for your long, hard work in lobbying for Internet sales tax fairness. We have won half the fight!
In Illinois, we fought long and hard in partnership with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA). The day after the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act in the Senate, I was asked to join about 20 people on a call with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who had originally introduced the legislation. He thanked all of us for our hard work on this issue in Illinois, and we talked about what the next steps should be to get this through the House of Representatives.
I know my own House rep, Bill Foster, is on board, but I know there are others all over my state who need to hear from brick-and-mortar retailers like me. And I bet the same is true for you. We are getting so close! Please contact your House reps, invite them to your stores, and get your fellow indie businesses to join in the conversation. Let’s keep the momentum going.
BookExpo America is just about here, and I hope to see many of you in New York. One of the changes for ABA at BEA is the location of the Indie Bookseller Lounge. It will now be on the trade show floor at the front of row 2900, in space #2902. You can cruise the aisles and then stop in the lounge for refreshments, have books signed by some of BEA’s breakfast speakers and Celebration of Bookselling authors, talk with ABA staff about a multitude of topics, and hang out with your fellow colleagues.
Another cool activity in the lounge will be a meet-and-greet with many of the authors whose titles are featured in this fall’s debut authors promotion. This promotion has become such a hit with publishers and authors that ABA is rechristening it “Indies Introduce” to echo what we do best. Get books autographed by the authors we’ll be introducing to our customers this fall, and while you’re at it, I strongly encourage you to sign up for the promotion. It’s a brilliant list of debuts, selected by a group of our colleagues led by Betsy Burton and Becky Quiroga Curtis. There are 22 titles by some of the best new writers for children and adults to choose from while taking advantage of publisher specials.
One of the most rewarding parts of my term as president, and of my years on the Board, has been the chance to meet so many of you, to visit your stores and to see what exciting work you are doing both there and in your communities. I hope to visit more of you in the future, and if you are ever in the Chicago area, please stop by and see us at Anderson’s.
I am very proud of ABA’s commitment to children’s booksellers and its continued support of new and existing programming. The legacy of the Association of Booksellers for Children will continue to flourish and grow as a group within ABA.
I could not ask to be a part of a more dedicated group of like-minded, passionate colleagues and friends than my fellow ABA Board members. Thank you!!! You, the membership, are always at the front of their minds and with your support, ideas, and input, they will serve us all brilliantly. Our new president, Steve Bercu of BookPeople, Austin, Texas, and our new vice president, Betsy Burton of The King’s English, Salt Lake City, Utah, will be advocates for us all and officers extraordinaire!
And to the staff of ABA, and their leader, Oren Teicher: Thank you! We have to be the most fortunate trade association of any kind in this country to have a staff that is so hard working, dedicated, and invested in our success and future.
And to all of you: Thank you for your continued support. I have been honored to be a part of this Board and to be a representative for our noble profession.
My best to you all,