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Director’s Desk: Shining a Spotlight on Professionalism

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PUBLISHED JUNE 2016

by Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association


Angela Bole

You’ll likely notice something special about this issue of IBPA Independent. In addition to the general content this magazine is prized for, throughout the next pages you’ll find a focus on awards with the goal of celebrating the different contests and winners raising our profile as a community of independent publishers.

Award recognition can be important to a publishing program. To win an award is to be recognized by your peers and the industry at large for doing excellent work in your chosen profession. In addition, a coveted award showcases your commitment to professionalism, standards, and ethics.

And, at IBPA, professionalism matters.

In a December 2013 Director’s Desk column for IBPA Independent titled, “A Code for Our Community”), I wrote:


“IBPA champions independent voices: well spoken, properly edited, cleanly formatted, intelligently distributed, and happily consumed. It doesn’t matter whether these voices bubble up from independent publishing houses per se, or directly from self-published authors. It doesn’t matter whether the goal is to get rich through a bestseller or to change the world though a personal manifesto. All content is publishable if someone cares enough to publish it.

That said, professionalism matters. IBPA has to believe, as a community of professionals, that the production of content of lasting financial and/or cultural value is just as important as securing open markets for this content. We must understand and adhere to copyright law so we can ensure that authors and other creators are properly compensated. We must be honest and fair in our dealings with readers and not mislead them with false promises or manipulated reviews . . .”


This strong belief in professionalism fuels IBPA’s approved Code of Ethics for our members. Many of you are familiar with this code, but for those of you who are new to our community, I thought I’d share it again in light of this issue’s focus on awards.

The truth is, of course, that not every deserving book is able to win an award. Still, every book can adhere to professional standards. With the help of IBPA, it’s easier today than ever before.


IBPA’s Code of Ethics
IBPA staff from left: Chief Operations Officer Terry Nathan, Member Benefits Liaison Joanne Kenny, Chief Executive Officer Angela Bole, and Project Coordinator/Member Benefits Specialist Mimi Le.

IBPA staff from left: Chief Operations Officer Terry Nathan, Member Benefits Liaison Joanne Kenny, Chief Executive Officer Angela Bole, and Project Coordinator/Member Benefits Specialist Mimi Le.

As part of the independent publishing community, we pledge …

  1. To uphold the highest standards of our industry, to create works of lasting financial and/or cultural value, and to pursue editorial, design, and production excellence.
  2. To respect the rights of authors and other creators and stakeholders, to observe all copyright laws and conventions, and to never knowingly publish plagiarized work.
  3. To reward authors and contributors for their work, to be honest in our financial dealings, to write contracts in understandable language, to resolve all disputes promptly and fairly, and to foster equal opportunity in our workplaces.
  4. To not mislead readers or buyers with false promises, inflated sales data, or manipulated reviews.
  5. To recycle and reuse and to follow green practices.

How Do You Engage?

How about you? How do you feel your company is connected to IBPA’s approved Code of Ethics for our members? Does your company have its own, separate code as well? Email me at angela@ibpa-online.org. I’d love to hear from you.


Just before Angela Bole became IBPA’s Chief Executive Officer, she was Deputy Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), which fosters conversation and consensus across all sectors of the book business. Before that, Angela served for two years as BISG’s Associate Director and two years as its Marketing and Communications Manager. Angela also serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of IDPF, the International Digital Publishing Forum.

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