A Report on the July 2015 ABA Board Meeting

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The American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors held its summer meeting from Monday, July 20, to Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Denver, Colorado.

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 2015, including:

    • His opening comments, in which he acknowledged the many accomplishments of his predecessor as ABA CEO, Avin Mark Domnitz, who died in June, especially his work regarding the education and professional development of independent booksellers. Teicher noted that, more than anyone else, throughout his career as a bookseller and as ABA’s CEO, Domnitz’ many contributions were pivotal in fostering the renaissance in indie bookselling that we are seeing today;
    • Meeting with Lance Fensterman, group vice president, Reed Exhibitions, and Steven Rosato, event director, BookExpo America, to discuss BookExpo America, and Reed’s plans regarding BookCon;
    • Meeting, together with ABA senior staff, with Reed Exhibitions to discuss ongoing plans for next year’s BookExpo America, set for May 11–May 13, 2016, in Chicago;
    • Working with staff on formulating ABA’s Ends Policy compliance reports for presentation to the Board;
    • Attended the June meeting of the European & International Booksellers Federation (EIBF);
    • Worked with Authors United and the Authors Guild in regard to the recent letters from Authors United and ABA that urged the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the business practices of Amazon.com;
    • Conducted, with ABA colleagues, site visits related to future ABA events;
    • Visited member stores during his travel since the May 2015 Board meeting;
    • Planning with staff for the association’s participation in the fall regional trade shows and on programming for Wi11;
    • Directing the reorganization of ABA’s technology department following the departure of Neil Strandberg, which became effective August 1.
  • Heard a report from ABA President Betsy Burton of The King’s English in Salt Lake City, Utah, on her activities on behalf of the association, including:

    • Attending the Booksellers Advisory Council (BAC) meeting that was held at the conclusion of BEA 2015;
    • Communicating with member bookstores concerning ABA’s letter to the Department of Justice regarding Amazon, an advocacy step that, she said, members strongly supported;
    • With Board approval, ABA President Burton made the following nominations to the ABA Nominating Committee:

  • Reviewed the 2015 compliance reports from staff in regards to ABA’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 A; Ends Policy B, including B(1) and B(2); Ends Policy C(1) and C(2); and Ends Policy E, which included creating an addition to that, E(1) and E(2). (To read the updated Ends Policies, click here. Learn more about these changes in ABA President Betsy Burton’s President’s Letter in Bookselling This Week.)
  • Approved a motion, during its discussion related to ABA governance, to put before the membership for approval a change to the ABA Bylaws that would increase the number of Board members from 10 to 11. (ABA President Betsy Burton explains more about the Board’s thinking regarding this change in her President’s Letter in this week’s Bookselling This Week.)
  • Received a briefing from both CEO Teicher and, via conference call, IndieCommerce Manager Geetha Nathan on a number of tech-related issues, including IndieCommerce operations and development goals following the completion of the migration from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.
  • Heard a report from ABA CFO Robyn DesHotel, who reviewed the association’s finances and investment portfolio.
  • Heard an update from both Board Member Sarah Bagby of Wichita, Kansas’ Watermark Books & Caféa LIBRIS Board member — and CEO Teicher on ABA’s LIBRIS insurance program.
  • Heard a report from ABA Senior Strategy Officer Dan Cullen and Senior Program Officer Joy Dallanegra-Sanger on the ongoing planning for ABA’s participation in the fall regional trade shows and for Winter Institute 2016.
  • Heard a report from Senior Program Officer Dallanegra-Sanger concerning association initiatives regarding promoting backlist, and discussed ways in which ABA could more effectively work with authors.