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by Florrie Binford Kichler

From the Boardroom

Your hard-working board of directors gathered near the headquarters of IBPA in California for the first board meeting of the IBPA 2008–2009 fiscal year and the third board meeting of calendar year 2008. Following is a brief summary of that August meeting.

New board members. Beginning two-year terms as directors of IBPA are Norman Goldfind, Basic Health Publications, Inc.; Mary Ellen Lepionka, Atlantic Path Publishing; Dave Marx, Passporter Books; and Steve Mettee, Quill Driver Books/Word Dancer Press.

Jan Nathan Award and Jan Nathan Scholarship. Work on these two initiatives honoring our late executive director, Jan Nathan, continues, with target announcement dates of specifics in early 2009 for the Jan Nathan Scholarship and mid-2009 for the Jan Nathan Award.

Independent advertising. A policy providing that book-award advertising in the Independent will be restricted to our own Benjamin Franklin Awards was moved, seconded, and passed.

Treasurer’s report. Treasurer Cevin Bryerman reported that IBPA is in healthy financial condition. Approval of the 2008–2009 budget was moved, seconded, and passed by the IBPA board of directors.

Education task force. A task force was appointed to evaluate and recommend the future direction of IBPA’s education programs, including Publishing University, Publishing University Online, and the Midsized Publisher Educational Initiative. This task force includes board members and member volunteers. The goal is twofold—to improve the quality of our educational programming, while delivering that programming cost-effectively to as many of our members as possible.

Trade distribution. The board recognizes that distribution is one of the top concerns of our members and continues to explore alternatives. In the interest of better serving our members, we are now sending a written response from the IBPA staff to each publisher who submits a title to distributor IPG through our Trade Distribution program and is not accepted. Responses suggest specific alternatives for delivering that title to the book trade and beyond.

Advocacy. Executive Director Terry Nathan continues to act on behalf of many of our members who request help in communicating with larger vendors about billing, order fulfillment, and processing; returns; and other issues. If ongoing problems can’t be resolved by phone, the board recommended that the next step toward resolution be a personal visit by Terry to discuss mutual concerns with the vendor.

Membership development. As I mentioned in my July President’s Report, one of the focus areas for the upcoming year will be membership growth so that we can expand the services IBPA can provide and increase the value members receive for their membership dollars. By the time you read this, a final plan created by the Membership Team will be in place—watch for more information in early 2009.

Benefits. Plans are under way to reevaluate and refresh current benefits while continuing to explore adding new ones. Part of this process will include redesigning the benefits portion of the Web site for greater clarity.

Marketing programs. The Marketing Program team, composed of both board and staff, has been tasked with turning the results of the recent Marketing Program evaluation into specific recommendations for revisions to current programs and creation of initiatives (see “You Spoke . . . We Listened . . . Now What?” in the October issue for details on marketing program plans). This will be the beginning of an ongoing effort to continually evaluate all our programs on a revolving schedule to ensure that we are providing the best value possible to our members.

Publishing University Online. Monthly Webinars are well attended and cost-effective, and they are now being scheduled for 2009. Ideas for future Webinars and speakers are welcomed and encouraged.

Affiliates. IBPA provides specific benefits and guidance to help our affiliate organizations grow and prosper. Much of that guidance is contained in the Affiliate Handbook, which provides training on how to start an affiliate group, information about applying for the yearly Publishing University scholarships, details about the yearly Affiliate Retreat where affiliate leaders can network and learn best practices from one another, and more. The Handbook is due for an update, which will be completed soon. In addition, plans are under way for the next Affiliate Retreat, to be held in spring 2009.

Regional University. By the time you read this, your board of directors will have teamed with IPNE (Independent Publishers of New England), an IBPA Affiliate, to present a Regional Publishing University, a one-day program of publishing education, in Manchester, NH, on November 8.

Looking ahead. My very best wishes to you for a wonderful holiday season and a happy and successful 2009. Your board of directors and IBPA staff appreciate your support and look forward to increasing the value of your membership through continual improvement and innovation in our programs and benefits.

My virtual door is always open. Please share your comments, thoughts, and ideas by emailing me at fkichler@patriapress.com.



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