A Report on the ABA Board’s January 2014 Meeting

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The American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors met from January 19–20, 2014, in Seattle, just prior to the ninth annual Winter Institute.

Over the course of the meeting, the Board:

  • Heard a report from ABA CEO Oren Teicher on his activities since the last full Board meeting in October 2013, including:

    • His presentation regarding the state of independent bookselling at the Book Manufacturers’ Institute annual meeting.
    • His meeting in San Francisco with the organizers of California Bookstore Day and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association to discuss ways in which ABA could assist with the upcoming event, scheduled for May 3, 2014.
    • His ongoing work as a member of the World Book Night Board and plans for the third WBN event, on April 23, 2014.
    • His trip in November to New Mexico both to attend the PubWest 2013 Conference, where he discussed how ABA could work more closely with smaller publishers, and to meet with member bookstores.
    • His attendance at Miami Book Fair International with ABA Senior Program Officer Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, where they were able to actively promote the new Indies First campaign to both consumers and scores of authors, in anticipation of its launch on Small Business Saturday.
    • ABA’s meeting in New York with Ingram Content Group to discuss issues of mutual concern.
    • His participation in the annual meeting of the LIBRIS Board of Directors in December 2013 with ABA Chief Financial Officer Eleanor Chang and Board Member Sarah Bagby of Wichita, Kansas’ Watermark Books and Café.
    • A number of meetings with key e-book startups.
    • The association’s ongoing work regarding the IndieCommerce transition to Drupal 7.
    • A meeting with the nine regional association executive directors on December 11 with Content Officer Dan Cullen and Senior Program Officer Dallanegra-Sanger.
    • ABA’s ongoing work in preparation for Winter Institute 9.
    • His trip to Raleigh, North Carolina, to work for several days during the holiday season at Quail Ridge Books & Music.
  • Heard a report from ABA President Steve Bercu of BookPeople in Austin, Texas, on his activities on behalf of the association, including:

    • His outreach to and discussions with bookstore members regarding association issues.
    • His ongoing bimonthly President’s Letter in Bookselling This Week.
  • In addition, Mr. Bercu informed the Board that he was naming Board Member Robert Sindelar of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington, as chair of the 2014–15 ABA Nominating Committee. The appointment was unanimously approved by the Board.
  • Received an update from Content Officer Cullen on plans for Winter Institute 9, which was set to begin on January 21, 2013.
  • Received an update from Senior Program Officer Dallanegra-Sanger on the first-ever standalone Children’s Institute, which is scheduled for April 6–7, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Reviewed with Senior Program Officer Dallanegra-Sanger a number of analytics regarding bookseller and author participation in the national Indies First promotion, as well as media and social media coverage of the event.
  • Discussed with association staff ways in which the Thanks for Shopping Indie program could be more responsive to bookstore needs.
  • Discussed ideas with staff for the education session to be presented at the upcoming ABA Spring Forums.
  • Received the report of the 2013–14 Nominating Committee, chaired by Board member Valerie Koehler of Blue Willow Bookshop. For three-year terms as Directors, beginning June 2014, the Board nominated John Evans of DIESEL, A Bookstore, with locations in Brentwood, Larkspur, Malibu, and Oakland, California; Jamie Fiocco of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Matthew Norcross of McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Michigan. Evans and Norcross are coming to the end of their first three-year terms as directors and both are eligible for a second three-year term. Ken White of San Francisco’s Books Inc. is coming to the end of his second two-year term on the Board and is not eligible to seek re-election.
  • Received and approved a report from ABA’s auditors, Marks Paneth & Shron, on the association’s 2013 Audited Financial Statement, for the year ending September 30, 2013. The Audited Consolidated Financial Statement provided an unqualified (“clean”) opinion of the association’s finances. (The final audited report and Form 990 will be available to members on BookWeb prior to the May 29, 2014, ABA Annual Membership Meeting.)
  • Received a report via conference call from William King, senior vice president of Merrill Lynch, on the performance of the association’s investment portfolio.
  • Received an update on IndieCommerce issues, including the transition to Drupal 7, and on the ABA/Kobo partnership and other digital issues from Member Technology Director Neil Strandberg.
  • Discussed plans for the upcoming Spring Booksellers Forums and for BookExpo America.
  • Reviewed a briefing report from ABA Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan on federal legislation that has been introduced to raise the minimum wage.
  • Met with Ellie Berger, President of Trade Publishing Division, Scholastic Corporation, and Alan Smagler, Vice President of Trade Sales, Scholastic Corporation, to discuss matters of mutual interest.
  • Met with Bill McCoy, Executive Director, International Digital Publishing Forum, to discuss issues related to digital content and the opportunities for independent bookstores in the midst of rapidly changing technology.
  • Met with Peter Berkery, Executive Director, Association of American University Presses (AAUP), and Garrett P. Kiely, Director, University of Chicago Press, and a member of the AAUP Board, to discuss how independent bookstores might more effectively work with university presses.
  • Met with Jonathan Nowell, President, Nielsen Book, who briefed the Board on Nielsen’s latest data regarding global book sales, consumer confidence, and industry trends — information that would be part of the Winter Institute session “Data Watchers Report.”