A Report on the ABA Board's Winter Meeting

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The American Booksellers Association's Board of Directors and senior staff held meetings from Sunday through Tuesday, January 31 - February 2, 2010, just prior to the Fifth Annual Winter Institute, at the Doubletree hotel in San Jose, California.

Among its activities during the two and a half days of meetings, the Board:


  • Heard reports from ABA President Michael Tucker of Books Inc. in San Francisco and ABA CEO Oren Teicher on their activities on behalf of the association since the last Board meeting, in October;
  • Received the report of the Nominating Committee, chaired by Board member Ken White of the SFSU Bookstore in San Francisco. For three-year terms as Directors, beginning June 2010, the Board nominated Sarah Bagby of Watermark Books in Wichita, Kansas; Steve Bercu of BookPeople in Austin, Texas; and Tom Campbell of The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, North Carolina. Bercu and Campbell currently serve on the ABA Board and are both eligible for an additional three-year term;
  • Selected Michael Tucker of Books Inc. in San Francisco and Becky Anderson of Anderson's Bookshops to serve a second one-year term as ABA President and Vice President/Secretary, respectively. Their names and those of Director candidates will appear on the Board ballot, which will be sent to ABA members by the end of March, 60 days prior to the Annual Membership Meeting, to be held on Wednesday, May 26, at BookExpo America (see related story);
  • Received a report from Michael L. McNee of Marks Paneth & Shron LLP on ABA's 2009 Audited Consolidated Financial Statement, which provided an unqualified ("clean") opinion of the association's finances. (The report, unanimously accepted by the Board, is available to members on BookWeb.org);
  • Heard a report from the Investment Advisor Review Committee (composed of ABA President Tucker and Board members Bercu and Campbell), which interviewed four possible investment firms, and approved the committee's recommendation to reappoint William King of Merrill Lynch as the association's investment advisor. In line with recommendations made at its October 2009 meeting, the Board will also be conducting periodic reviews of the association's auditor and general counsel;
  • Approved a six-month budget covering the second half of the fiscal year (April - September 2010), which reflects major changes in personnel and organizational structure, implemented in January 2010 (a six-month "as is" budget for the first half of the fiscal year was approved by Board in October and is in effect until April). The new budget projects a combined net income of approximately $89,000 for the next six months, and a possible combined net income of approximately $300,000 for the year, due to the organizational changes and the improved investment climate;
  • Heard a report on the Winter Institute, which clearly indicated that it has become a national event: registrants included close to 500 indie booksellers from 230 ABA member stores representing every region of the country, in addition to Canadian and other international attendees;
  • Received a report from ABA COO Len Vlahos on the digital landscape, including IndieCommerce, e-books, e-readers, and Google;
  • Discussed issues surrounding access to capital for independent booksellers and agreed to continue looking into the issue;
  • Began a discussion of new membership models and ways to best grow ABA's current membership;
  • Reviewed plans for a series of Spring Bookseller Forums, which begins on March 12 in Orlando, Florida, in conjunction with the National Association of College Stores' Campus Market Expo (see related story);
  • Received a preliminary report on activities planned for BookExpo America 2010 in New York City and agreed that, in light of the new mid-week schedule for the trade show, ABA's Annual Membership Meeting would be held on Wednesday, May 26, at 4:00 p.m. at the Javits Convention Center, and ABA's Town Hall Meeting would be held at 3:00 p.m., just prior to the Membership Meeting;
  • Heard a report from William King of Merrill Lynch on the association's investment portfolio, which reflected the improved investment climate, and met with Anthony Eichler, fund manager for NWQ, a large cap fund in ABA's portfolio. On the recommendation of Mr. King, approved the replacement of one of ABA's existing fund managers with Neuberger Berman, LLC;
  • Met with Hachette Book Group Chairman and CEO David Young to discuss issues of concern to the industry.