ABA 101: Bookseller Committees

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ABA 101 is a new series aimed at introducing booksellers to the basics of the American Booksellers Association’s operations.

In alphabetical order, here is a list of some of the committee and task force names ABA members might come across in our communications as well as how to join these bookseller committees.

ABACUS Task Force

The ABACUS Task Force is composed of booksellers whose stores are participants in the annual survey of bookstore financials. The task force provides ABA with the essential input and feedback necessary to continue making ABACUS relevant and useful for bookstores’ business planning, operations, and strategic analysis. The time commitment is generally one 90-minute meeting a year, plus the time necessary to prepare for the meeting.

If interested in being a possible Task Force participant, email Dan@bookweb.org.

ABC Advisory Council

The ABC Advisory Council is a seven-member council made up of diverse stores (in size, region, location, as well as diversity of people). They serve to offer feedback on ABC and ABA children’s bookselling programming and events by sharing their experiences and the needs of their business. They are also a sounding board for concerns, issues, and initiatives happening in children’s bookselling and their communities and help respond to needs as they emerge. Their feedback serves as recommendations for the ABA Board of Directors (as detailed on page 29 of Governance Policy Manual; the page number refers to the pagination of the document itself and not the PDF). The average time commitment is three years.

Email Joy@bookweb.org and Gen@bookweb.org for consideration.

Board of Directors

The American Booksellers Association is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors, which serves to inform the ABA CEO, who then informs the ABA staff, of the needs of the membership.

The Board of Directors consists of 11 directors, one president, and either one or two directors serving as vice president/secretary. (As voted by the membership in 2020, of the 13 bookseller members of the Board of Directors, a minimum of four must be BIPOC, of which a minimum of two must be Black.)

The number of positions open during a given election cycle is determined by the number of board members completing their second three-year term (each board member is entitled to serve two three-year terms). The president and vice president/secretary serve two-year terms and are selected in odd-numbered years.

View a detailed timeline of the nomination process here.

Booksellers Advisory Council (BAC)

The Booksellers Advisory Council is designed to provide the board with a broad cross-section of views from within the community of independent booksellers. Members provide feedback about ABA programs and services, serve as a sounding board for issues facing the bookselling community, and participate in the association’s ongoing planning process, among other duties. The current council is composed of approximately 30 members, each of whom will serve an average two-year term.

Email Joy@bookweb.org for more information.

Committee on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEIC)

DEIC members provide feedback about ABA programs and services as they are being developed, as needed; offer suggestions to help ABA improve programs and services to better serve diverse communities; help identify and respond to emerging threats and opportunities related to antiracism, equity, representation, inclusion, and access in the industry; and bring concerns of booksellers and bookstore owners to the ABA staff and board and assist ABA with its commitment to antiracism, inclusion, representation, access, and diversity.

Booksellers serve a two-year term. The DEIC time commitment includes: 60 minutes a week on average; a 90-minute Zoom meeting from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET the first Monday of every month; occasional emails asking for feedback; occasional assistance hosting ABA’s BIPOC Coffee Breaks on Zoom; involvement in ABA’s Winter Institute and Children’s Institute (working the DEIC booth and/or participating in a panel); generally serving as a resource, contact, and ABA liaison in support of diverse communities within ABA; and meeting in-person once a year, in conjunction with a designated ABA event.

For more information about the committee, contact ABA committee members CEO Allison Hill, CFO PK Sindwani, or Senior Education Manager Lisa Winn.

Education Task Force

The Education Task Force (ETF) is composed of booksellers and ABA staff, and is tasked with reviewing and discussing proposed concepts and content for future ABA education. The time commitment is generally one full-day meeting per year, plus the time necessary to prepare for the meeting, with additional conversations when asked for feedback on education development.

If interested in being a possible Education Task Force participant, email Lisa@bookweb.org.

Genre Task Force

In the fall of 2020, in response to bookseller requests for greater inclusion of and spotlight on genres and genre readers in our programming and campaigns, ABA formed a few genre-specific — or in the case of Comics/Graphic Works, format-specific — mini task forces of approximately five booksellers each for initial input on updating BISAC codes for specialty bestseller lists and the 2020 Holiday Gift Guide that focused on genre titles. Further meetings may occur sporadically for input on new initiatives; the average time commitment is no more than a few one-hour calls per year.

Email Jessica@bookweb.org if interested in joining.

IndieCommerce Advisory Council (IAC)

The IAC is a 15-member council made up of IndieCommerce users from stores across a range of demographics, including small stores, big stores, single- and multiple-location stores, and stores from all regions. This council meets four times a year to discuss current challenges and the future direction of IndieCommerce. Each meeting is 60-90 minutes, using video and audio conferencing. The average time commitment is two to three years.

Email Phil@bookweb.org and Geetha@bookweb.org if interested in joining.

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