A Report on the October 2012 ABA Board Meeting

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The American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors met from Sunday, October 21 –Tuesday, October 23, in Long Beach, California.

Over the course of the meeting, the Board:

  • Heard a report from ABA CEO Oren Teicher on his activities, and association activities in general, since the last full Board meeting in June, including:

    • The association’s work in formulating the budget for the 2012 - 2013 fiscal year.
    • The continued growth in unit sales over 2011 for ABA member stores reporting to BookScan, a trend that is anticipated to continue through the end of the year.
    • New stores joining the IndieCommerce network and online sales continuing to grow across the network.
    • ABA’s participation in the fall regional trade shows, which included an update on the ABA/Kobo eBook program and a session on how booksellers can work with a variety of community partners to promote literacy. Teicher noted that ABA was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with a large number of members, including, at all the shows, newly established bookstores. In addition, ABA was grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with the Boards of the regional associations at the shows.
    • The rollout of the ABA/Kobo eBook program, including details about shipping logistics, development of educational and marketing materials, and member communication.
    • His participation in the Frankfurt Book Fair and in meetings with the European and International Booksellers Federation, held during the fair.
  • Heard a report from ABA President Becky Anderson of Anderson’s Bookshops in Naperville, Illinois, on her activities on behalf of the association, including:

    • Conversations with Collins Booksellers of Australia about issues of mutual interest;
    • Participation in the first Events Specialty Institute and the debut Heartland Fall Forum in Minneapolis;
    • Her attendance, with ABA’s CEO, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where she had the opportunity to meet a number of international colleagues;
    • A meeting with representatives of Kobo at her bookstore.
  • Unanimously approved a budget with a projected total revenue of approximately $5,250,000 against projected expenses of $5,630,000. (This does not include ABA’s insurance company, LIBRIS.) As a result, the budget anticipates utilizing approximately $384,000 from ABA’s endowment for programming on behalf of association members.
  • Received an update from President Anderson on the newly constituted President’s Council, a group of former ABA Board members who would be meeting at the upcoming Winter Institute in Kansas City with the goal of providing insight and feedback on appropriate issues to the ABA president.
  • Met via Skype with Kobo CEO Michael Serbins to discuss issues related to the rollout of the new ABA/Kobo eBook program.
  • Received a report from ABA Technology Director Matt Supko and ABA Director of Member Technology Neil Strandberg on the IndieCommerce program, including matters concerning the integration of Kobo-related features into the system, as well as data that showed, as of October 2012, an overall 57 percent increase in gross annual sales to date.
  • Met in executive session with ABA’s general counsel, Deanne Ottaviano of Arent Fox, LLP, and conducted the annual performance review of the association’s CEO.
  • Received a report on ABA’s first multi-publisher promotion, “Thanks for Shopping Indie,” from BSI Senior Program Officer Joy Dallanegra-Sanger.
  • Received a report from CEO Teicher, ABA Content Officer Dan Cullen, and Senior Program Officer Dallanegra-Sanger on the year’s three association specialty institutes: the  IndieCommerce Institute, the Events Specialty Institute, and the ABC Children’s Institute.
  • Heard a report from Content Officer Cullen on the upcoming Winter Institute in Kansas City, which noted that, once again, the institute was expected to reach capacity attendance, very probably in November.
  • Received a report from CEO Teicher on planning underway for BookExpo America 2013 (BEA), including a series of meetings to discuss ways to enhance the show experience for ABA member bookstores.
  • Received a financial report from William King, senior vice president of Merrill Lynch, and, via conference call, from Erik Britt, a senior portfolio specialist with Lord Abbett’s Private Wealth Group, to review Lord Abbett’s and Merrill Lynch’s forecast for the U.S. economy and to review the results for ABA’s investment portfolio.
  • Heard a report from Content Officer Cullen on preliminary results for  latest ABACUS Survey, which participating bookstores will receive in December.
  • Spoke via conference call with World Book Night U.S. Executive Director Carl Lennertz and received a report about the planning and recent developments for next year’s World Book Night.