To ensure that booksellers have a simple and convenient way to get information about the opportunities available to them as part of their membership, the American Booksellers Association has created a new Member Relations Department.
Two member relations managers will serve as the main contacts for all bookstore and provisional members. "Elizabeth Nichols and Kaitlin Pitcher are eager to help," said Membership and Marketing Officer Meg Zelickson Smith.
Nichols (800-637-0037 ext. 6614, firstname.lastname@example.org) is the liaison for stores in areas covered by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLIBA), Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), Midwest Booksellers Association (MBA), Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association (MPIBA), and Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA).
Nichols came to ABA from Columbia University, where she worked in donor relations. "I want booksellers to know that I really mean it when I say they can call me any time," she said. "They've made a great choice by joining ABA, and I'll do whatever I can to help them get the most out of their membership."
Pitcher (800-637-0037 ext. 6666, email@example.com) is the liaison for all provisional members, as well as stores in areas covered by the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA), New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA), Northern California Independent Booksellers Association (NCIBA), and Southern California Independent Booksellers Association (SCIBA).
Pitcher's approach to her job is shaped by the years she spent as a bookseller in both independent and chain stores. "I first learned about ABA when I worked at Putnam Book Center," she said, "so I understand what members are looking for from their association. I enjoy talking to booksellers one-on-one and making sure ABA is meeting their needs."
Smith explained that Nichols and Pitcher "will be reaching out to stores at renewal time, of course, but not only then." They have already begun speaking to booksellers to find out exactly what their needs are, so that future communication can be more relevant and useful to individual members.
"We heard from members that they weren't sure which ABA staff members they should speak to about different issues," Smith added, "and while booksellers are welcome to contact any staff members, this new member relations structure gives them an easy way to get an answer to any question. Even if Kaitlin and Elizabeth don't have the answer immediately, they'll find it."
Pitcher and Nichols will also be reaching out to their stores periodically, to help make booksellers aware of upcoming deadlines, special opportunities, and the variety of resources ABA has available to members.
Member Relations Manager Scott Nafz (800-637-0037 ext. 6654, firstname.lastname@example.org) will continue to handle IndieCommerce customer service for all stores using ABA's e-commerce platform.
Membership Project Manager Patti Neske (800-637-0037 ext. 6653, email@example.com) will be the point of contact for all associate and auxiliary members. She will also oversee ABA's business affiliate relationships. --Sarah Rettger