Bookseller Task Forces Provide Valuable Feedback

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The American Booksellers Association recently convened Bookseller Task Forces to gather member bookstore input and suggestions for ABA initiatives and programming. The four Task Forces – Digital, Education, Local First, and ABACUS – met with ABA staff and offered feedback on everything from the bricks-and-mortar IndieBound marketing materials, to possible enhancements to IndieCommerce (ABA’s e-commerce program), to ways to improve the ABACUS financial survey.

“The association is only as strong as the feedback provided by its members,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “Our Task Force meetings are an invaluable resource for ensuring that ABA’s initiatives and programming are on target and serving the membership in the most effective way possible. We are extremely grateful to all of the booksellers who shared their time and talents to participate in these meetings.”

Digital Task Force

The Digital Task force met for a full day on April 2 at the headquarters of Books Inc. in San Francisco to discuss how to help and advise staff and the ABA Board on the direction for future digital initiatives, IndieCommerce development, print-on-demand strategies, and more. Representatives from Google participated in part of the meeting to update the Digital Task force on Google eBooks ™.

Participating Digital Task Force members were:

  • Casey Coonerty, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Christin Evans, The Booksmith, San Francisco, CA
  • Clark Kepler and Jean Forstner, Kepler’s Books & Music, Menlo Park, CA
  • Jeff Mayersohn, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
  • Pete Mulvihill, Green Apple Bookstore, San Francisco, CA
  • Matt Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI (Incoming ABA Board Member)
  • Bill Petrocelli, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
  • Emily Powell and Darin Sennett, Powell’s Bookstore, Portland, OR
  • Neil Strandberg, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
  • Michael Tucker (ABA President) and Margie Scott Tucker, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

ABA staff at the meeting were:

  • Oren Teicher, ABA CEO
  • Len Vlahos, ABA COO
  • Matt Supko, ABA Technology Director
Education Task Force

The Education Task Force meeting was held at Google’s headquarters in New York City on April 5, immediately following ABA’s Booksellers Forum in the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association region. Task Force participants provided feedback on educational programming and events and discussed potential new topics for upcoming programs. The task force also offered suggestions regarding key areas of interest and helped evaluate the logistics and potential of alternate education delivery methods.

Participating Education Task Force members were:

  • John Hugo, Hugo Bookstores, Andover, MA
  • Mark LaFramboise, Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C.
  • Jack McKeown, Books & Books Westhampton Beach, Westhampton Beach, NY
  • Sarah McNally, McNally Jackson Books, New York City
  • Christine Onorati, WORD, Brooklyn, NY
  • Beth Puffer, Bank Street Books, New York City (ABA Board Member)
  • Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn
  • Jonathon Welch, Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, NY
  • Jonah Zimiles, Words, Maplewood, NJ

ABA staff members present were:

  • Oren Teicher, ABA CEO
  • Len Vlahos, ABA COO
  • Dan Cullen, ABA Content Officer
  • Lisa Winn, ABA Education Manager
ABACUS Task Force

The ABACUS Task Force met via conference call on April 28 to discuss how to improve both the ABACUS survey and the respondent reports in order to provide maximum value to bookseller participants.

Participating booksellers were:

  • Nicole Magistro, Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, CO
  • Clark Mason, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
  • Peter Schertz, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO
  • Bob Sommer, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
  • Amy Thomas, Pegasus Books, Berkeley, CA

Representing ABA staff on the conference call were:

  • Len Vlahos, ABA COO
  • Dan Cullen, ABA Content Officer
  • Martha Love, OnCampus Research information analyst, NACS
Local First Task Force

At the Local First Task Force, which took place on April 30 in Rosemont, Illinois, ABA CEO Oren Teicher and Membership and Marketing Officer Meg Smith provided an overview of January’s AIR National Leadership Summit. Booksellers discussed with them possible areas of development for IndieBound and, ideas for launching and expanding Local First and cross-promotional campaigns among indie retailers, and more.

Participating booksellers were:

  • Becky Anderson, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL (Incoming ABA President)
  • Linda Barrett Knopp, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC
  • Steve Bercu, BookPeople, Austin, TX (Incoming ABA Vice President)
  • Sue Boucher, Lake Forest Bookstore, Lake Forest, IL
  • Linda Bubon, Women and Children First, Chicago, IL
  • Cynthia Compton, 4 Kids Books & Toys, Indianapolis, IN
  • Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO
  • Peter Makin, Brilliant Books, Suttons Bay, MI
  • Chris Morrow, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

Participating ABA staff members were:

  • Oren Teicher, ABA CEO
  • Meg Smith, ABA Membership and Marketing Officer