Spotlight on Michael Tucker, Candidate for ABA President

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Michael Tucker

An ABA Board member since 2005 and vice president for the past year, Michael Tucker of San Francisco's Books Inc. is up for approval by membership to serve a one-year term as ABA president starting this June. Tucker is president/CEO and co-owner of Books Inc., which has 11 locations: eight under the Books Inc. name, in San Francisco, Alameda, Mountain View, Burlingame, and Palo Alto, California; Compass Books and Bzinc at the San Francisco International Airport; and Compass Books & Cafe in the Downtown Disney District® in Anaheim. Last year, the Palo Alto store moved from the Stanford Shopping Center, where it had been for 50-plus years, to the nearby Town & Country Village shopping center, which includes a mix of locally owned and national stores.

Books Inc. is a member of both the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association and the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association. The business is also an active member of the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Alliance. Each store is actively involved in its surrounding community, and the business has been honored for its contributions to local schools by San Francisco School Volunteers.

During his tenure on the ABA Board, Tucker said, much of the focus has been on increasing educational opportunities for ABA members and developing materials and statistics to fuel the Buy Local movement. "We've facilitated the move from Book Sense to IndieBound at a very timely point given this economy. The Board is also committed to keeping membership informed about digital books and e-commerce."

ABA's involvement in industry conversations about e-books is critical, Tucker said, to "ensure that the value of indies in the distribution channel is recognized by publishers and distributors. There's no reason why we can't bring ourselves to the table and be significant players," he added.

Part of what has allowed the Board to respond quickly to a rapidly changing industry is the association's recent shift from a Strategic Plan to one of Ends Policies, Tucker said. "It allowed us to be a little more flexible as everything becomes a moving target."

In response to the current recession, Tucker said, the best policy for booksellers is, as always, practicing good business fundamentals. "Independents need to remain nimble and flexible in response to major shifts in this industry and retail in general. In the last few months, it's become apparent that not only are we surviving -- many of us have grown our businesses in our local communities." The downturn, Tucker added, presents lots of opportunities for booksellers to emphasize the value of shopping locally as well as their own unique contributions.

As ABA president, Tucker wants to continue the atmosphere of open communication with membership. "I would like to continue the accessibility and transparency of the Board," he said. "That's been a hallmark and the expressed objective of the Board, and what I have seen since I've come on.

"It's a very exciting time to be coming into the position of ABA president. There have probably been easier times, but I'm looking forward to working with Oren [Teicher, who will become ABA's new CEO this June]. I've been the beneficiary of working with Avin [Mark Domnitz, ABA's current CEO] for a number of years. I think I'm up to the task. I'll be working with a phenomenal group of people." --Karen Schechner