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Director’s Desk: A Report on the August 2017 IBPA Board Meeting

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by Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association —

Angela Bole

It’s been a couple years, so in this month’s Director’s Desk, I thought I’d pull the curtain back on a recent IBPA Board of Directors meeting.

IBPA’s board is a 14-person leadership team—13 voting members, plus the chair—tasked with setting the association’s strategic direction and managing its cash reserves. IBPA’s board held its annual face-to-face meeting Aug. 17-18, 2017, in Redondo Beach, California. Over the course of the meeting, the board:

  • Received a refresher on the board’s roles and responsibilities, including:
    • setting strategic direction for the association,
    • ensuring and protecting the association’s resources, and
    • hiring and evaluating the CEO.
  • Reviewed and confirmed IBPA’s strategic objectives for fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018), including:
    • advocating for independent publishing within the broader publishing community,
    • developing and promoting best practices in independent book publishing,
    • evaluating and promoting services and benefits for IBPA members, and
    • growing and retaining a diverse and inclusive membership base.
  • Received an update on IBPA’s financials from IBPA Treasurer Ian Lamont (Publisher, i30 Media).
  • Discussed and accessed the viability of several key IBPA member benefit programs, including IBPA’s trade show programs and IBPA Independent magazine, in relation to the following three factors:
    • degree to which the program provides a strong member benefit,
    • degree to which the program bolsters IBPA’s name and reputation in the industry, and
    • degree to which the program generates revenue to help run the association.
  • Heard a report from IBPA Member Benefits Committee Chair Joshua Tallent (Director of Outreach & Education, Firebrand Technologies), including a proposal for three new member benefits and a discussion on how IBPA might approach the growing number of paid book review programs in relation to offering them as official IBPA member benefits. Historically, IBPA has not endorsed paid book review services. During this meeting, the board moved to allow the Member Benefits Committee the ability to consider paid book review programs as part of the overall member benefits recommendation process.
  • Heard a report from IBPA Advocacy Committee Chair Brooke Warner (Publisher, She Writes Press), including an update on Amazon’s policy allowing third parties to “win” the official Buy Button.
  • Brainstormed ideas for ensuring maximum engagement at IBPA Publishing University 2018, scheduled for April 6-7, 2018, in Austin, Texas.
  • Heard a report on the current state of IBPA membership, including strategies for recruiting new members and tactics to safeguard membership renewals.

At the next IBPA meeting, board members will continue their review of IBPA’s strategic objectives and current member benefit programs with the goal of fortifying IBPA’s spot as the No. 1 trade association for professional independent publishers.

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.

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