As I write this, we are on
the eve of the first meeting of the board elected this spring. In preparation
for setting goals and priorities for your organization, I reviewed board
meeting minutes for the past three years, paying particular attention to the
last 12 months.
Under the outstanding leadership
of President Kent Sturgis and Executive Director Jan Nathan, Director Terry
Nathan, Associate Director Lisa Krebs, and staff, the Independent Book
Publishers Association made amazing strides. If you are a new publisher who
decided to invest 109 hard-earned dollars to join PMA one year ago, here’s
specific information on what you got for your $9.08 a month (and on what you
got for low two figures if your membership is at a different level).
Several benefits were added to the
more than 20 that save our members thousands of dollars each year:
At Abebooks.com, two months’ free
subscription, a free customizable storefront offering access to millions of
book buyers that visit through four international Web sites, personal PMA
account management, and more.
At NCO Financial Systems,
discounted fees for accounts-receivable management and collection services.
At American Author Website
Services, discounts and a price guarantee for the life of your Web site on
American Author’s sites for publishers and authors.
At Ingram, the Wholesale
Acceptance Program; PMA members who need Ingram as their wholesaler have the
opportunity to submit their titles to a committee composed of representatives
from major chain bookstores, Ingram, and PMA. If a title is accepted, Ingram
will offer a wholesale relationship, including discounted services. Check the
PMA site for details.
Board member Rudy Shur was
responsible for searching out and vetting new benefits on your behalf.
Marketing and Direct-Mail
During the past year, your
Independent Book Publishers Association offered you the opportunity to participate
more than 30 Library Cooperative
more than 35 Cooperative Catalogue
12 trade show exhibits, including
BEA, ALA, and Frankfurt
ongoing Internet Bookfairs
including Remainders, Foreign Rights, and Author’s Road Show
the New York International Gift
Fair, the largest gift show in the country—an added benefit in 2006
Also during the past year, we
developed an ongoing program for sending surveys to participants to measure and
improve the effectiveness of our direct-mail programs.
University. Those of you who
attended this premier educational and networking event for independent
publishers had a unique opportunity to learn from the best in the
business—and at a discount for members.
PMA University in 2006 provided
more than 100 seminars on finance, marketing, publicity, editorial matters, and
more, as well as an outstanding and inspirational luncheon program—with
talks by Jan Nathan, board member Paul Coates of Black Classic Press, and
best-selling author Walter Moseley—and the annual Benjamin Franklin
Awards ceremony, celebrating the best in independent publishing. Board member
Rod Colvin conducted an overall review of the awards program, including a
survey of members to determine your thoughts about future directions for the
University Online. The plan to let
all members receive the benefits of Publishing University from the comfort of
their own offices took a giant leap from concept toward reality last year.
Frank Gromling on the PMA board spearheaded the effort to bring the University
to you, and Publishing University Online, PMA’s inaugural e-learning program,
is close to debut. Stay tuned for more details on this groundbreaking
Board members Sally Neher, Peter
Bannon, Marianne Bohr, and Elise Cannon began work on the second educational
and networking event specifically for our experienced and growing members.
Regional “Mini” Publishers
Partnering with New Mexico Book
Association and Book Publishers Northwest, both PMA Affiliates, the PMA board
taught day-long educational seminars in Santa Fe and Seattle.
Board member David Cole and PMA
Associate Director Lisa Krebs launched a publicity campaign that generated
coverage of PMA in The
New York Times, <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>ForeWord Magazine, <span
and Publishers Weekly,
among other publications. Thanks to PMA’s efforts, <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Publishers Weekly has begun a new column
entitled Indie News. Recognition of PMA in particular and of independent
publishers in general as a force in the industry is enhanced by every mention
in the mainstream press.
Industry Research and
PMA was a co-sponsor of the first
comprehensive report on used-book sales, which was published by the Book Industry
Study Group. For the first time ever, sales by small and midsize publishers
were included in figures presented in BISG’s annual <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Book Industry TRENDS report. And your
association, as a member of the Media Coalition (along with AAP, ABFFE, and
other industry groups), continued to defend our rights as publishers and
citizens to provide the widest possible range of opinion and entertainment as
guaranteed by the First Amendment
Widely recognized as a primary and
graduate course in publishing contained in 500 to 600 pages a year, the <span
led by Editor at Large Judith Appelbaum and Executive Director Jan Nathan,
continued to raise the bar for excellence. Last year saw the debut of the PMA
Hotline, an email communication designed to keep you informed of late-breaking
news between Independent
Board member Carlene Sippola
inaugurated the first-ever Affiliate leadership retreat, training session, and
networking event. Affiliate leaders from across the country gathered in March
to exchange views and ideas that could help them enhance their state and
regional associations. And the regional conferences mentioned above served to
further improve communication with our affiliates.
Special Interest Group
Our first Special Interest Group
(SIG) got started in 2005–2006. Designed for academic and educational
publishers and spearheaded by member Mary Ellen Lepionka, this SIG functions as
an affiliate defined in terms of publishing specialty rather than region. A SIG
group communicates primarily through an email list on issues of interest to its
segment of the industry. Now in their infancy, SIG groups have the potential to
open even more channels for bringing PMA members together to work on topics of
The mission of the not-for-profit
foundation created as a charitable arm of PMA is to “eradicate and prevent
illiteracy in adults and children in the United States.” Susan Nicoletti of
PMA, board members Paul Coates, Steve Carlson, Mike Vezo, past president Don
Tubesing, and President Kent Sturgis worked hard last year to get the pilot
program for book giveaways off the ground, and a Web site database is in
beta-testing at this moment.
Web Site Improvements
Board member Elise Cannon worked
with PMA staff to begin a complete overhaul and update of the organization’s
site. Goals include improving access and ease of navigation and increasing the
efficiency of back-office maintenance.
That’s not a complete list, just
the high points. And while all this was going on, your association continued to
be in good financial health as treasurer Mike Vezo and board member Bill
Russell kept a watchful eye on inflow and outgo.
What’s next? You can count on your
newly elected board not just to continue the momentum but to build on it. Watch
this column for details in the coming months.
So what does $9.08 a month buy?
one mass market paperback
two 12-packs of soda
three gallons of gas
an entry-level membership in PMA,
the Independent Book Publishers Association, with more than 4,000 members and a
23-year history of providing—daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly—the
education, support, and resources to help you “achieve and succeed” in the
Pretty good deal.
My virtual door is always open. I
encourage you to share your comments, thoughts, and ideas by emailing me at <span