A Report on the ABA Board’s Summer 2013 Meeting

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors held its summer meeting from Wednesday, July 17, to Friday, July 19, in Petoskey, Michigan.

Prior to convening the meeting, the Board met with an outside consultant who facilitated a session on matters related to not-for-profit governance, and the Board used this opportunity to review ABA’s governance practices.

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 May 2013, including:

    • Meeting at ABA’s headquarters in White Plains, New York, with the National Association of College Stores to discuss issues of mutual interest;
    • Participating in the planning for next year’s World Book Night event;
    • Attending The Elliott Bay Book Company’s 40th anniversary celebrations on June 30;
    • Working with ABA staff in developing specialty institute programming;
    • Planning with ABA staff the association’s participation in the upcoming fall trade shows, including an education session on how the Affordable Care Act will affect small businesses, to be developed and presented with the Small Business Majority;
    • Working with ABA staff on formulating the association’s Ends Policy compliance reports for the ABA Board;
    • Recent travel, which included, at the invitation of the Australian Booksellers Association and Booksellers New Zealand, attending and speaking at their respective association trade shows.
  • Heard a report from ABA President Steve Bercu, of BookPeople in Austin, Texas, on his activities on behalf of the association, including his first bimonthly letter to the membership, which was published in Bookselling This Week this month, and his preparations to chair his first Board meeting as ABA president.
  • Heard a report from Mr. Bercu and ABA Board member Valerie Koehler, of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Texas, on the Booksellers Advisory Council (BAC) meeting that was held at the conclusion of BookExpo America (BEA). Among the highlighted points were an update on the BAC’s discussions with Edelweiss’ Joe Foster; feedback provided by the BAC regarding programming at BEA; a discussion regarding possible new functionality for the IndieCommerce platform involving used books; feedback on the Indie Next List; and a discussion about a proposal for a national bookstore day.
  • Received a financial report from CEO Teicher and ABA CFO Eleanor Chang, and met with William King, senior vice president of Merrill Lynch, to review Merrill Lynch’s forecast of the economic climate as well as the results for ABA’s investment portfolio.
  • Met with representatives from Ingram Content Group to discuss matters of mutual interest.
  • Received an update on IndieCommerce.com and other digital issues from ABA Director of Member Technology Neil Strandberg and voted to approve capital investments for IndieCommerce and to allocate funds to facilitate the adoption of IndieCommerce by ABA bookstore members not currently using the service.
  • Reviewed the 2013 compliance reports from ABA staff in regards to the association’s Ends Policies and reviewed those policies. After discussion, the Board approved changes to clarify the articulation of the policies. The Board updated Ends Policy D to read:

    D. Member bookstores will be heard on advocacy issues pertinent to the bookselling trade.

    • Member stores will be represented within groups of appropriate allies dealing with issues of literacy, culture, and the development of new readers.
    • Member stores will be heard on legal and regulatory issues, including First Amendment, free expression, fair trade practices, and related issues.
  • Discussed the plans for California Bookstore Day being developed by the Northern and Southern California independent booksellers associations and agreed to provide help and support as the project develops.
  • Heard a report from ABA Senior Program Officer Joy Dallanegra-Sanger on the association’s ongoing multi-publisher promotions, including enhancements to the Indies Introduce … Debut Authors initiative.
  • Accepted the report of the association’s Governance Review Committee, which was chaired by Jill Miner, of Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord, Michigan, and expressed its thanks to Ms. Miner and the committee for their work. The full report will be posted on BookWeb.org in the coming weeks.
  • Received an update from ABA Content Officer Dan Cullen and Ms. Dallanegra-Sanger on ABA programming to be presented at the upcoming fall trade shows, upcoming specialty institutes, and Winter Institute 2014.

Under new business, ABA Vice President Betsy Burton of The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, reported on a proposed initiative for authors to encourage fellow writers to position the buy button from local, independent bookstores as the first option on their websites, which ABA will further explore.