A Report on the ABA Board’s 2012 Summer Meeting

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The American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors held its summer meeting from Friday, July 20, to Sunday, July 22, in Naperville, Illinois.

Over the course of the meeting, the Board:

  • Heard a report by ABA CEO Oren Teicher on his activities since the last Board meeting, in June, including:

    • A meeting in Tarrytown with senior executives of Reed Exhibitions to discuss plans for BookExpo America 2013 and issues of mutual interest;

    • Ongoing work regarding ABA’s actions in regard to the Department of Justice’s antitrust complaint involving publishers, e-book sales, and the agency model;

    • Meetings with the World Book Night (WBN) Board and with WBN CEO Carl Lennertz to plan for next year’s event, set for Tuesday, April 23, 2013;

    • Meetings -- together with ABA President Becky Anderson and Vice President Steve Bercu, and Senior Program Officer Joy Dallanegra-Sanger -- in New York City with a number of publishers to discuss ABA initiatives, including new ways to work with publishers;

    • Meetings that he and ABA Chief Financial Officer Eleanor Chang had with LIBRIS’ new insurance partner, Great American;

    • Participation in a think tank/discussion meeting sponsored by the National Association of College Stores that focussed on issues facing college stores and bricks-and-mortar retail;

    • A site visit just prior to the Board meeting to Kansas City, Missouri, the location of Winter Institute 8.

  • Heard a report from ABA President Becky Anderson on her activities on behalf of the association, including her upcoming participation on a panel at the Romance Writers of America; her work with Candlewick Press on the “Find Waldo Local” campaign; and her participation in a test of a new summer reading program designed to be used by indie booksellers.
  • Received a report from CEO Teicher on the recent BookExpo America, in which he reviewed attendance figures and the ABA experience, including feedback of the debut ABC Children’s Institute.
  • Received a financial report from CEO Teicher and ABA CFO Eleanor Chang, and met with William King, senior vice president of Merrill Lynch, and with Tim Heitman, managing director and the lead portfolio manager for Heitman's North American real estate securities strategies, to review Heitman's and Merrill Lynch’s forecast for the U.S. economy and to review the results for ABA’s investment portfolio.
  • Received a full report on ABA’s search for a new e-book partner.
  • Reviewed the 2012 compliance reports from ABA staff in regards to the association’s Ends Policies, and reviewed those policies. After an in-depth discussion, the Board approved changes to the Ends Policies. In addition to small edits for clarity, the Board updated Ends Policy B to read: “Member bookstores will be recognized as vital and valued partners to publishers, wholesalers, authors, and vendors and will constitute a vital portion of the U.S. book market.”
  • The Board also added a new Ends Statement to Ends Policy B: “Industry partners will respond favorably to advocacy regarding matters of concern to independent booksellers.”
  • Was briefed on plans for ABA participation in the regional bookseller association trade shows taking place in fall 2012.
  • Met in executive session with ABA’s general counsel, Deanne Ottaviano of Arent Fox, LLP, who was present via conference call.