A Letter From ABA CEO Oren Teicher

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ABA logoDear Booksellers,

As we await the final days before the boy wizard returns to the frontlist, we at ABA want to send our best summer wishes. I hope that over the concluding weeks of summer your stores are busy — and that you also have an opportunity for some rest and relaxation before the annual fall regional trade shows and the upcoming holiday season.

Before all that, however, I want to give you an update on improvements to a core ABA member service — our ABA Book Buyer’s Handbook (BBH). As you know, the BBH provides key ordering and related information from a wide range of publishers and other vendors — the actionable, essential information that answers booksellers’ questions and fuels orders. Member stores continue to tell us that it is one of the most important services ABA offers.

Several years ago, we launched an online version of the BBH, but, given the important role it plays in stores’ operations, ABA recently committed significant resources to improving and updating the underlying technology of the BBH. The relaunched Handbook is now available for member stores on BookWeb.org, and, while the interface is very similar (if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!), one key change is that users can now use their BookWeb.org passwords to access the BBH on BookWeb.org.

However, we at ABA fully understand that the updated BBH is only as good as the information it contains. With that in mind, we have also added staff to expand our outreach to publishers in order to make sure we maintain the most accurate and current data as possible.

But as the key users of the BBH, we need your help in ensuring that the information in the Handbook is as timely and accurate as possible. 

So, we have two important requests. First, when you see incorrect data in the BBH — especially for such categories as returns — would you let us know ASAP? You can e-mail your update to Alison Larkin, ABA’s book data assistant, and we will work as quickly as possible to correct any errors.

Second, in your communications with publishers, wholesalers, and distributors — especially in your conversations and communications with your sales reps — would you emphasize how important the BBH is to your store’s operations and success? Please, do encourage them to be engaged and proactive in urging that their company maintain its BBH data, so that it is up to date and complete. Believe me, hearing from you will be a strong encouragement for publishers and wholesalers to make sure that the proper personnel in their companies are checking relevant information in the BBH and setting up the necessary in-house systems to review and update their data on an ongoing basis. Please, urge them to reach out to ABA’s Alison Larkin at handbook@bookweb.org.

With your help, I know the BBH will continue to be an effective and valued tool — and many thanks in advance for your outreach!

My colleagues and I are very much looking forward to seeing you at the upcoming fall regional trade shows. Please do come by the ABA booth to say hi and catch up.

Again, all best wishes for the closing weeks of summer!

Sincerely,

Oren J. Teicher
CEO, American Booksellers Association

P.S. In addition to the educational sessions that ABA will be offering at the fall trade shows, we are also presenting “Principles of Finance,” a new workshop for booksellers involved in bookstore budgeting and overall financial forecasting. The six-hour program will be held on Saturday, October 15, in Baltimore, Maryland, and on Wednesday, October 26, in San Francisco, California, prior to the start of the New Atlantic and Northern California independent booksellers association trade shows, respectively. Here is more information, and I hope you will consider attending what I know will be very informative sessions.