New ABA Dues Structure to Benefit New Stores

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The American Booksellers Association recently announced the launch of a new dues structure set to go into effect on February 1, 2011. Under the changes, two new dues categories with reduced dues were also created – used bookstores and new stores. The new stores category includes both newly opened stores and new members. The announcement of the policy and dues structure changes was made in an August letter from ABA President Michael Tucker.

“ABA is simplifying the membership and dues process to encourage new stores to join the association and benefit from its long list of programs and initiatives, including actionable education, advocacy, and discounted services,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “We believe that during this time of substantial change, it’s even more critical to offer key resources for new and established community-based indie bookstores to launch and to grow their businesses.”

Along with reduced dues for certain categories, the entire dues renewal process – which had gone unchanged for a decade – has been made far less complex. There is now one standard dues year for all categories.

Among the key changes in the new dues structure:

  • There will be one standard dues year. All members will have the same dues year, running from February 1 to January 31.
  • The number of, and gross-sales break points for, all dues categories will change, and all stores with gross sales less than $250,000 will see their dues lowered.
  • There will be two new categories of membership – for used bookstores and for new stores/new members – each at a reduced dues level. New ABA members or former ABA members who have not been members for three years or more are eligible to join under the new stores/new members category.

Member bookstores will soon receive a personalized e-mail from their ABA member relationship manager (MRM), either Elizabeth Nichols or Kaitlin Pitcher (look up your member relations manager by region). The e-mail will detail exactly how the changes will affect the bookstore’s dues and note if stores require any credits or adjustments to dues paid. Any stores that are currently past due are encouraged to contact their MRM and bring their account up to date.

ABA President Michael Tucker’s letter to membership cataloged ABA’s ongoing efforts on behalf of members, including “creating strong educational programming and content” that helps stores compete in a changing digital marketplace and working closely with Google to make sure that the introduction of Google Editions on websites powered by IndieCommerce is “smooth and glitch-free.” Tucker reported that the ABA Board had approved a “substantial one-time investment in IndieCommerce” in order “to improve core functions and to add new functionality.” Other ABA initiatives include continual communication with publishers, as well as membership advocacy on the local, state, and federal level.