A Report on the May 2014 ABA Board Meeting

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The American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors met from May 26 – 27, 2014, in New York City, just prior to the start of BookExpo America.

Over the course of the two days, the Board worked on a range of issues.

During the meeting, the Board:

  • Heard a report from ABA CEO Oren Teicher on his activities since the last full Board meeting in April, including:

    • Attending the London Book Fair with ABA President Steve Bercu;
    • Continuing his service on the World Book Night Board of Directors;
    • Attending the 25th anniversary celebration for McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina;
    • Presenting educational programming at two ABA Spring Forums held in conjunction with the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and the New England Independent Booksellers Association, respectively, and — together with ABA colleagues — conducting meetings with bookstore members at the forums;
    • Joining ABA colleagues in conducting a meeting of the ABA Educational Task Force in the association’s offices in White Plains, New York;
    • Leading a site visit to the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, the site of the 2015 Winter Institute, scheduled for February 8 – 11;
    • Leading a post-event meeting of publisher sponsors of the recent Children’s Institute;
    • Traveling to Washington, D.C., for meetings with the Small Business Majority to discuss a number of policy issues and with congressional offices to advocate on behalf of sales tax fairness legislation;
    • Attending the 2014 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards ceremony, where ABFFE President Chris Finan was honored for his recent book, National Security and Free Speech: The Debate Since 9/11.
  • Received a report from ABA President Steve Bercu of BookPeople in Austin, Texas, on his activities on behalf of the association, including his participation at April’s London Book Fair on a panel with Sion Hamilton, retail operations director of Foyles in London, and Hiroshi Sogo, the managing director of AsianBasis Corporation, a subsidiary of the Japanese bookstore chain Books Kinokuniya, that focused on how their respective bookstores are adapting to the rapidly changing market.
  • Welcomed newly elected Board director Jamie Fiocco of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and re-elected Board members John Evans of DIESEL, A Bookstore, with locations in Brentwood, Larkspur, Malibu, and Oakland, California, and Matthew Norcross of McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Michigan.
  • Heard a report on a recent series of publisher visits that Mr. Bercu, ABA Vice President Betsy Burton of The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, Mr. Teicher, and Senior Program Officer Joy Dallanegra-Sanger had conducted to discuss issues of mutual interest.
  • Were briefed on the upcoming BookExpo America trade show and BookPOP consumer event by Steve Rosato, event director for BookExpo America, and Lance Fensterman, global vice president of ReedPOP.
  • Heard a report from Senior Program Officer Ms. Dallanegra-Sanger on the first Indies First Storytime Day, which occurred on May 17, and on April’s Children’s Institute, as well as an update on the Indies First initiative.
  • Received a briefing from ABA Content Officer Dan Cullen on the April 29 meeting of the ABA Educational Task Force, and an update from Mr. Cullen and Ms. Dallanegra-Sanger on the ongoing development of programming for the 2015 Winter Institute.
  • Met with William King, senior vice president of Merrill Lynch, and Kevin A. Joy, vice president, institutional sales, Heartland Advisors, who reviewed the performance of the association’s investment portfolio.
  • Heard an update on California Bookstore Day, which was held on May 3, from two Board members located in the state — John Evans of DIESEL, A Bookstore and Ken White of Books Inc. —  and discussed what role ABA might play in future similar events. 
  • Received a briefing on a number of tech-related issues from Member Technology Director Neil Strandberg, including the IndieCommerce’s migration from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.
  • Met with Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House; Madeline McIntosh, president and COO of Penguin Random House; and Ruth Liebmann, vice president, director, account marketing for Penguin Random House, for a working lunch.