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The last board meeting of 2003 was packed with PMA initiatives on several fronts. Here is a summary of the highlights.

Partnerships. Jan Nathan and I held meetings with key people at Publishers Weekly and the American Booksellers Association. We are working with both groups on issues of common concern to our members.

Membership. The membership committee has prepared a flyer about PMA–for distribution through wholesalers, distributors, and bookstore chains–that invites startup publishers to join us. At the same time, we have undertaken a full review of current member benefits with the intention of expanding into several new areas, including sales data retrieval options and small business support programs. Florrie Kichler, Patria Press, is the chair for membership retention and recruitmen; Larry Bram, Teaching Strategies, is the chair for member benefits.

PMA-U and Ben F. We have a full roster of exciting courses and speakers for the upcoming PMA-U, and preparations are well under way for the gala Ben Franklin Awards evening. See the announcement on page 10, and contact the PMA office or visit www.pma-online.org for details on both events.

Midsized publishers programs. A committee of the board is reviewing all current educational offerings with an eye toward creating new programs for midsized publishers and their staffs. The first of these, a seminar focusing on the business side of publishing, will be held in April 2004. Sally Neher, Baker anAT ylor Books, and Marianne Bohr, National Book Network, are chairing this program.

Literacy. Our project Literacy for Life, designed to give away a million books each year to literacy groups, is moving forward. The board has authorized a test program, which begins this month, to iron out the operational details. By spring we hope the program will be ready for full-scale participation by all our members. To help cover shipping and management costs as this program expands, we have applied for several grants. Mike Vezo of WestCom Associates is the Literacy for Life chair.

 

Clarity. The board is working on several new statements designed to clear up misunderstandings about independent publishing. These short documents deal with the responsibilities and activities of a publisher, the various publishing business models, the qualities of a professionally published book, and the real role of print on demand. Pat Bell, Cat’s-paw Press, and Paul Coates, Black Classic Press, chair this project.

Updating our goals. In addition, we are working on an updated mission statement to guide PMA into the long-term future. I will leave you with a current draft of that statement:

Founded in 1983, Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) is the trade association representing the independent book publishing industry–73,000 publishers with annual sales approaching $30 billion.

PMA’s mission is to support a thriving independent book publishing community and to raise the standards of independent book publishing.

PMA provides professional development, serves as advocate for independent publishers in the industry, defines publishing standards, and offers a wide array of marketing programs and other member services.

PMA supports free speech, fair and honest business practices, and literacy for all.

PMA–helping independent publishers achieve and succeed.

Those are our goals in a nutshell.

Let us know how we can be most helpful to you as you continue to develop your publishing program.

–Don Tubesing, Tubesingda@aol.com

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