Nominations Open for The ABA Board

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Nominate a Bookseller (or yourself!) for the ABA Board. What does the ABA board do? The ABA Board sets policy for the association, monitors the performance of the CEO — who is responsible for formulating and executing a strategy to meet the goals of the organization — and futurecasts for industry trends to inform the membership and ABA’s work. Directors on the ABA Board make a significant time commitment, meeting many times over the course of the year, virtually and/or in person.

Nominating takes just a few minutes via this three-question web form that asks

If you are nominating someone else:

  • In what capacity have you known and/or worked with this candidate?
  • What talents or experiences do you believe this person would bring to the ABA Board?
  • Does this nominee have at least three years of experience in bookselling? If known, please list this experience. (Approximate years and stores only.)

If you are nominating yourself:

  • In what capacity have you worked in the bookselling industry?
  • Do you have at least three years of experience in bookselling? If so, please list your experience. (Approximate years and stores only.)
  • What talent, background experience, or expertise would you bring to the ABA Board?

Continue reading for more information about the ABA Board of Directors election process.

The American Booksellers Association is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors made up of ABA bookstore owners or booksellers from member stores. The ABA Board defines the ends policies, or the broadly defined desired goals, for the association, monitors the performance of the CEO — who is responsible for interpreting the goals and formulating and executing the strategy to meet the goals of the organization — and futurecasts for industry trends to inform the membership and ABA’s work.

The Board of Directors consists of 13 Directors, including one President, a Co-Vice President/Secretary, and a Co-Vice President. The Board consists of a minimum of four directors who are BIPOC, a minimum of two of whom are Black.  

Each July, the Board of Directors President selects a five-member Nominating Committee of booksellers, as approved by the board, who will review the submitted nominees over the next several months and make their recommendation to the board. The board traditionally endorses the selection of candidates for the board as put forth by the Nominating Committee, and the nominees’ names are then put forth to the membership for a vote.

In September, the Nominating Committee begins accepting nominations for booksellers to join the Board of Directors. The number of positions open is determined by the number of board members completing their second three-year term (each board member is entitled to serve two three-year terms). The President, Co-Vice President/Secretary, and Co-Vice-President serve two-year terms and are selected in odd-numbered years.

Nominations (including self-nominations) for qualified candidates are collected through the middle of October via an online form that takes just minutes to fill out. Those who meet the eligibility criteria receive a link to fill out an extended background information form and provide recommendation letters. Eligible nominees that wish to go through the election process will be asked to provide two letters of recommendation from people they’ve worked with in the industry. Examples include, but are not limited to, employers, sales reps, colleagues at partnering organizations, or anyone else who can speak to the nominee’s strengths.  

The only requirements are:

  1. Candidates for the Board of Directors must be the owner or employee of an independent bookstore with a physical presence (brick & mortar storefronts, pop-up stores, mobile stores, and events-only) that is operated according to sound business principles per the bylaws.
  2. Board candidates must have at least three years of recent experience as an owner or employee of a member company.
  3. Candidates for President, Co-Vice President/Secretary, and Co-Vice President must be members of the Board of Directors; a candidate for President must be in their second term, unless there are no board members who fill that requirement, and the Co-Vice President/secretary and Co-Vice President should have served at least two years on their term of service. If no directors meet these requirements, a candidate must have served on the Board for at least one year immediately prior to the date of assuming office.

(Here’s more information about the board nomination process and what the Nominating Committee considers in evaluating nominated booksellers.)

The Nominating Committee deliberates through the Fall. An announcement of the slate of booksellers up for election to the Board comes at the end of January. In addition to this nomination process, qualified booksellers may petition the ABA bookstore membership to join the ballot by collecting the signatures of at least two percent of ABA bookstore members and mailing them to the Nominating Committee along with a completed nomination form. (An email should also be sent to ABA notifying them that the signatures have been mailed.) The petition must contain original signatures of a member store owner, as well as the store name, address, email, and telephone number, of bookstore members in at least five states, with representatives of no one state constituting more than 50 percent of the total number of petition signatures. Any bookseller member is invited to petition to join the ballot; petitions are due in mid-February.

Ballots are distributed in March and returned in April. The elected booksellers are announced in Bookselling This Week a few days after the ballot deadline to allow for certification and notification. The new Board members take office at the Town Hall and Annual Meeting in May.

See complete details about the election process in the ABA Governance Policy Manual on BookWeb.