A Letter to Booksellers From ABA’s President

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July 6, 2011

Dear Fellow Bookseller:

As my term as ABA’s president begins, I want to do my very best to share timely updates about our association with you, my fellow ABA member booksellers. This is the first of my updates, and there will be similar letters periodically in BTW from both me and ABA’s CEO, Oren Teicher.

The first thing I want to stress, and one that is so extremely important, is that the ABA Board and staff always welcome feedback on the association’s programs and initiatives. I hope you won’t ever hesitate to be in touch with me, other members of the ABA Board (you can find all the Board’s contact information here), or the appropriate staff (contact information for ABA staff is available here).

Together, the Board and staff are committed to the goal of being the very best trade association possible, and, while we cannot always do everything, we are always grateful for your suggestions, comments, and ideas. We want to hear from you! Communication, collegiality, and collaboration are key to who we are, what we do, and what we will be.

Under our governance model, the most important responsibility of the ABA Board of Directors is to set the Ends Policies for the association. Simply put, the Ends Policies express, in plain language, ABA’s priorities. Under these Ends Policies, we always take into consideration what difference these policies will make, whom they will assist, and at what cost to the organization. Under our model of governance, the Board sets the Ends, and the staff, working in partnership with the Board, implements programs and services to meet those Ends. At our recent meeting, the Board made some minor changes to our Ends Policies, and there will be a full report on the Board meeting in Thursday’s Bookselling This Week. Speaking on behalf of my Board colleagues, we are very satisfied that the Ends Policies reflect what we want our association to achieve.

Because this really is the most important document ABA has, I am including the Ends Policies in full at the end of this letter. (The bullets listed under each Ends Policy are not in order of priority but are of equal value.)

As you’ll see under Ends Policy A, we added the new Ends Policy about children’s books adopted last year as a result of the merger between ABC and ABA. And, because we are strongly committed to developing new ways of doing business with the rest of the industry, we strengthened the language under Ends Policy B. Following on Oren’s remarks in his report to the membership at ABA’s Annual Meeting in New York during BookExpo America, we are already aggressively working with our publishing colleagues in devising new and innovative programs and business models to help our members. I am confident that real progress on this front will be made in the coming months.

In addition to reviewing the End Policies, the Board continues to be heavily focused on devising strategies that address all the technological changes we are living through. To achieve this, we rely on input from our Booksellers Advisory Council and our Digital Task Force.

I’m beginning my term as your president with excitement and optimism, but also with a firm belief that progress on the important challenges before us depends on your participation and input. As I indicated above, ABA always welcomes input, and, as your Board president, I especially want to hear from you!

Wishing you a wonderful summer that combines sales and handselling with some time for relaxation, and fun, too! Make it a true summer!

All the best,
Becky Anderson
ABA President
Anderson’s Bookshops
123 W. Jefferson Ave.
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 355-2665
(630) 355-3470 (Fax)
[email protected]

(Revised and approved by ABA Board of Directors, June 2011)

ABA member bookstores will be professionally operated and profitable, and income derived from regular member’s fees will be equal to, or less than those of comparable trade associations.

A. Members will have business skills to be professionally operated and profitable.

* Members will attend multilevel informational and educational programs presented around the country.
* Members will have multiple networking opportunities that foster a constructive exchange of ideas.
* Members will have access to financial and/or consulting services, and access to relevant operating financial models to use as tools in the operation of their businesses.
* Members will have access to programs specifically aimed at growing and expanding the reach of children’s books to a wide audience of both consumers and booksellers, including such things as communication vehicles, appropriate awards, and educational programs.
* Members will have access to technology services and/or consulting on technological issues.
* Members will use multiple access vehicles, made available by technological advances, to educational and informational material.
* Members will be aware of and have access to new business models, systems, technologies, and services.

B. Member bookstores will be vital partners to publishers, wholesalers, authors, and vendors and will constitute a vital portion of the U.S. book market

* The general bookselling/book publishing community will be aware of matters of concern to independent booksellers.
* Members will have the opportunity to incubate and develop new business models between booksellers and their vendors.
* The wider bookselling and publishing communities will use and view the American Booksellers Association as a source of relevant and timely statistical, research, and marketing information.

C. Member bookstores will be the preferred marketplace for the public.

* The public will recognize the value of independent bookstores to their communities.
* Independent Bookstores will be part of a community of local independent businesses nationwide.

D. Member bookstores will be heard on legal and regulatory issues, including First Amendment, free expression, and fair trade practices.

* Member bookstores will be represented within groups of appropriate allies dealing with issues of literacy, culture, and the development of new readers.

E. Existing and potential professional independent booksellers will use programs that facilitate entry into the complex world of bookselling.