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President’s Column:
More Power, More Press for Independent Publishers

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PMA’s most visible programs focus on education and co-op marketing in direct support of our member publishers. Most everyone knows about PMA University, held just prior to BEA. Many members regularly participate in one of the 10 major PMA Co-op Marketing programs that help them get the word out about their titles for far less than comparable alternatives.

But PMA also works behind the scenes to support independent publishers and to position independent publishing as a recognized force. Three recent meetings gained ground on these fronts.

ABA as Ally

At the suggestion of members of our affiliate groups, who gathered for a roundtable dinner discussion before BEA, we met with the executive staff of the American Booksellers Association to seek additional ways for independent booksellers and independent publishers to support each other. As a result, ABA will participate in a PMA-U panel and in the PMA Trade Distribution Program.

PMA members are invited to utilize the three major Book Sense programs: Advance Access/Book Sense 76, the bookseller’s White Box, and the BookSense.com Co-op Program. (An upcoming article will detail these opportunities.) We will aim to join the buying power of both organizations to decrease costs and increase the number of member benefits.

In addition, PMA has now been invited to participate in the ABA’s Booksellers Advisory Council to explore ideas about relationships with independent booksellers in the future.

New PW Policies and Projects

At the invitation of PW executives, we met in their New York offices to explore ways PW could better serve–and give increased visibility to–independent publishers. As a result, PW will be reviewing more titles from independent presses in the future, and the magazine will profile more notable independents.

PW

editors also said they will increase their coverage of regional publishing news and highlight the Ben Franklin Award winners. In fact, PW is planning to sponsor an award, Best PMA Member Book of the Year, to be presented by PW at the Awards ceremony.

Also as a result of our recent meeting, PW and PMA now intend to co-sponsor an issue-oriented daylong summit meeting focused on needs and trends in independent publishing.

Statistics That Tell Our Story

The findings of the new Rest of Us report, conducted for PMA by Tom Woll, were presented at a press conference in New York.

The numbers are so staggering that several veterans of the corporate publishing business have trouble believing what they are seeing. The new study–which updates the survey of America’s independent publishers that the Book Industry Study Group and PMA conducted five years ago–shows that while large publishing companies have barely held their own over the past five years, the 80,000-plus independent publishers in the U.S.A. have grown at a rate of 22 percent per year. Their combined revenue now amounts to approximately $30 billion per year.

The rest of the industry is beginning to notice and to listen more attentively. (You can review highlights of The Rest of Us in your copy of the September PMA Newsletter or at www.pma-online.org.)

For the Future

We will, of course, continue to create educational and marketing opportunities for our members, and we will also keep working hard behind the scenes to exercise greater clout and generate additional opportunities for independent publishers.

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