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Director’s Desk: Summary of IBPA’s Strategic Plan

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PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

by Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association —


Angela Bole

Here are IBPA’s 2020-2022 goals and strategies for leading and serving the independent publishing community.

During a meeting held in August 2020, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Board of Directors reviewed and reaffirmed the association’s Strategic Plan for the years 2020 through 2022. The plan, first developed in August 2019, outlines goals and strategies in support of IBPA’s mission to lead and serve the independent publishing community. Below is a summary of the 18-page plan.

As part of the August 2019 planning process, the board reviewed results from six years of IBPA member surveys (2014-2019) and honestly assessed the degree to which the association has stayed true to its stated mission, vision, and core values. The work’s overall purpose was to ensure IBPA is focused on opportunities that will help the association and its members thrive for years to come.

Below is a summary of the 18-page plan.


IBPA Strategic Goals & Initiatives: 2020-2022

IBPA achieves its mission and vision and adheres to its core values through a commitment to a set of defined goals (broadly defined desired outcomes) that guide the association in building upon its successful 30+ year history. In order to achieve these goals, the IBPA Board of Directors and staff created the following strategic goals and actionable initiatives.


Goal #1 – Serve current members.

Goal statement: IBPA membership is deemed valuable and beneficial to a broad range of organizations and individuals.

Strategic Initiatives:

  • 1.1. Provide benefits and services to promote members’ visibility within the book industry.
  • 1.2. Provide educational opportunities to promote members’ professional growth.
  • 1.3. Provide networking opportunities to promote members’ community building and peer-to-peer education.
  • 1.4. Provide continual feedback opportunities for members.
  • 1.5. Identify opportunities for members to become financially viable, long-term.

Goal #2 – Add new members.

Goal statement: IBPA membership is strengthened through outreach efforts, including outreach to those who are underrepresented within the association’s ranks and whose programs reflect diverse points of view.

Strategic Initiatives:

  • 2.1. Identify new markets for membership and develop plans for reaching them.
  • 2.1.1. Gather and use member feedback.
  • 2.1.2. Leverage existing IBPA community to recruit and retain members.
  • 2.1.3. Develop alternative entry points to full membership.

Goal #3 – Advocate for independent publishing.

Goal statement: IBPA speaks with a unified voice on issues of concern to independent publishers as a means of supporting and strengthening the vital profession of independent publishing.

Strategic Initiatives:

  • 3.1. Celebrate “indie allies,” i.e., those associations, book review outlets, awards programs, etc. that professionally support independent publishing.
  • 3.2. Establish IBPA as a respected thought leader in independent publishing.
  • 3.3. Proactively identify issues of concern to independent publishers and establish meaningful campaigns to address them.
  • 3.4. Quickly communicate the association’s concerns and the steps taken to address them with members and the publishing community at large.

Goal #4 – Eliminate bias and enhance diversity.

Goal statement: IBPA promotes equitable participation by all persons in the association and the profession of independent publishing.

Strategic Initiatives:

  • 4.1. Recruit and feature diverse populations in IBPA materials and programming.
  • 4.2. Liaise with diverse programs and populations to facilitate a connection to IBPA and the publishing industry at large.
  • 4.3. Establish a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force of the board to develop IBPA’s strategic approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Next Steps

IBPA has already begun bringing its current strategic goals and initiatives to fruition and looks forward to sharing additional ideas and programs over the next year and a half. As always, the IBPA staff and board of directors welcomes your thoughts and feedback. IBPA members are invited to read more at IBPA Goals and share their feedback with me directly at angela@ibpa-online.org.


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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