by Terry Nathan
2008: The Year of Change
As the year is coming to an end, I find myself reflecting on all the wonderful things we have accomplished in 2008. I also find myself looking forward to an exciting, action-packed 2009.
In January, Florrie Binford Kichler, our fearless leader and president of IBPA, wrote about how in publishing, as in a game of football, you must first know where the goal line is (via a strategic plan), and then you need to have a business plan for crossing it. That was exactly what IBPA did in 2008, and I want to show you how that worked for us and ultimately for you, our valued members.
Along with changing our name to better reflect our mission and the services we provide for the independent publisher, we celebrated our 25th year in business. This milestone reflects the commitment IBPA (formerly PMA) has to the industry and especially the independent publisher.
We spent 2008 evaluating our programs, events, educational opportunities, and our future so that we can tell you now, at the end of 2008, what we have planned, and what you can expect from your organization.
Publishing University was especially on our minds as we witnessed so many changes in technology in the past year and saw change continuing to move faster than ever before. We plan to include the latest information from professional leaders and teachers at Publishing University in 2009 to reflect current changes.
We presented online Webinars each month to offer valuable information throughout the year. These seminars have been successful and we are looking forward to providing you with more of them in the coming year.
Podcasting is something we plan to use more on our Web site to pass information to you from our board of directors, staff, and members who are willing to share their stories so that you can benefit from their experiences.
Live Webcasts from Publishing University are on the list for 2009, and then we’ll make those available on demand for everyone to enjoy, right from our Web site to your desk.
Members Today and to Come
I’ve always been certain that one of the main benefits of belonging to an association is that you are not working alone. IBPA looks forward to speaking for our members as a group; the voice is louder that way, and people tend to listen harder when there are many voices behind the advocate.
We hired a marketing and publicity manager this year to create visibility, awareness, and understanding of our mission and to continue to make that personal connection with each member as often as possible. We want to support you in the media as much as we can, which is why we have been asking you to send us your “breaking news,” and we want to make sure that all new members are given an opportunity to introduce themselves to the publishing community, with our help, and stay connected to their peers.
Given the economy in recent months, and the changes in technology—print-on-demand publishing growing, big houses buying up little houses, e-books, Kindles, YouTube, social networking, books to film, and all the many other changes in how books are printed, sold, and distributed—the IBPA member demographics have changed.
As members come and go when they grow and change, we have evaluated our member profile as well. One of our goals for 2008 was to identify and recruit new members while retaining our current members. Our priorities for 2009 include keeping our programs fresh for our members; searching out those in the publishing industry who need our services and making certain they know what we do and how we can help them succeed; and keeping members involved in the organization in ways that will benefit them.
Beginning in February, we will be launching a first-time full-scale national membership drive. We plan to include our members in this project, which will be full of recognition, rewards, and networking. This will be a time of growth for the organization and for the members. You will be hearing about the campaign very soon.
There are many ways to partner with industry professionals, and we see more and more strategic partnerships coming our way and helping us better serve you as we create more visibility for the association and its members. Ours has been the leading association of independent publishers since 1984, and it is our desire to stay ahead of the curve and smooth the way for our members.
We are continually looking for ways to save you money and provide you with the programs you need to market and sell your books. Innovative programs in the works will provide you with more choices and give you many more opportunities to grow your business through IBPA.
As we work to provide more services for lower costs, of course we must continue to be financially solvent and fiscally responsible. IBPA is looking for ways to serve the publishing industry as a whole and at the same time create a revenue stream for the association that will let us offer members new programs, reduced costs, more education for less money, and an ongoing commitment to keep doing all those things.
At the beginning of this year, we promised to be accountable to you, to evaluate our mission, our programs, our goals, and our plans for the future. We have done this, and we look forward to a bright, exciting future for IBPA and its members.