A Report on the April 2014 ABA Board of Directors Meeting

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The American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors met from April 4 – 6, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas, just prior to ABA’s first stand-alone ABC Children’s 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 January 2014, including:

    • Traveling with ABA colleagues to nine ABA Spring Forums, with two still scheduled to occur. At the forums, Teicher led discussions with members and presented the educational session “Conversations That Work.” He noted that ABA had met with approximately 230 member booksellers at the forums to date.
    • Attending a meeting of the World Book Night Board, in anticipation of the third WBN event, on April 23, 2014.
    • Continuing ongoing conversations with the Association of American University Presses to explore how ABA and AAUP might work more closely on issues of mutual interest to better serve the associations’ respective members.
    • Attending, at Kobo’s invitation and expense, a meeting of Kobo retail partners in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he met with Kobo’s new CEO, Takahito “Taka” Aiki. En route, he also met with Tim Godfray, chief executive of the Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
    • Meeting, together with ABA colleagues, with Joe Regal, co-founder and CEO of Zola Books, and others on the Zola team to discuss how ABA and Zola might work together for the benefit of independent booksellers.
    • Meeting with George W. Slowik, Jr., president and CEO of Publishers Weekly, and others on the PW editorial and business side to update them on recent developments in independent bookselling and to discuss issues of mutual interest.
    • Conducting regular, ongoing meetings and discussions with members of Advocates for Independent Business, whose members now include the Society of American Florists and the North American Retail Hardware Association.
    • Meeting, together with ABA colleagues, with the Winter Institute 2014 sponsors for both an event debrief and a discussion about Winter Institute 2015, set for February 8 – 11, 2015, at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina.
    • Meeting with Steve Rosato, BookExpo America show manager, and with Lance Fensterman, ReedPOP global senior vice president, about the upcoming BEA and ReedPoP events.
    • Attending the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers, together with Senior Program Officer Joy Dallanegra-Sanger and Meetings and Planning Officer Jill Perlstein.
    • Talking with a number of members in their bookstores during his travels, including BookBar in Denver, Colarado; The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis, Tennessee; Green Bean Books in Portland, Oregon; Half Price Books in Dallas, Texas; Hicklebee’s in San Jose, California; Linden Tree Children’s Books in Los Altos, California; Loganberry Books in Cleveland, Ohio; Mysterious Galaxy Books in Redondo Beach, California; Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, New York; Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, Iowa; Rakestraw Books in Danville, California; The Reading Bug in San Carlos, California; Towne Center Books in Pleasanton, California; and Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
    • Attending the most recent meeting of the IndieCommerce Task Force.
  • With Board approval, ABA President Steve Bercu appointed Tegan Tigani of Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle, Washington, as a new member of the ABA Booksellers Advisory Council. (Three additional booksellers, from regional trade association nominations, are also joining the BAC: Suzanne Droppert of Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, Washington [PNBA]; Kelly Estep of Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville, Kentucky [GLIBA]; and Jackie Inman of Bethany Beach Books in Bethany Beach, Delaware [NAIBA].)
  • Reviewed with ABA’s auditors, Marks Paneth & Shron, via conference call, the association’s draft Form 990. (The final audited report and tax form 990 will be available to members on BookWeb prior to the May 29, 2014, ABA Annual Membership Meeting.)
  • Met with William King, senior vice president of Merrill Lynch, who reviewed the performance of the association’s investment portfolio.
  • Received a briefing from ABA Content Officer Dan Cullen regarding bookseller-attendee evaluations of Winter Institute 2014 and reviewed with staff the ongoing planning for Winter Institute 2015.
  • Heard an update on the first stand-alone Children’s Institute, which was set to begin on April 6 in San Antonio, from ABA Senior Program Officer Dallanegra-Sanger.
  • Discussed ABA’s ongoing relationship with the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and voted to designate ABA’s financial support of ABFFE to date as a contribution to capital expenses.
  • Reviewed ABA membership statistics and trends with ABA Membership and Marketing Officer Meg Smith.
  • Received a briefing on IndieCommerce’s migration from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 from Member Technology Director Neil Strandberg, who also updated the Board on other tech-related issues.
  • Heard from CEO Teicher, Senior Program Officer Dallanegra-Sanger, and Content Officer Cullen about ABA programming for the upcoming BookExpo America.
  • Met with Barbara Moffitt, Baker & Taylor senior vice president of retail sales, and Margaret Lane, Baker & Taylor vice president of retail sales, to discuss issues of mutual concern.
  • Met with Gianna La Morte, University of Texas Press sales manager, to discuss ways in which independent bookstores and university presses might work together more effectively.