You will notice that a new name appears in the “President’s Column” this month. Having been a member of PMA for the past 16 years and serving on the board for four years, I am now honored to accept this new responsibility as your President. Thanks goes to Linda Ligon who has served so well as our President the past two years and who leaves us with a strong organization and a most successful legacy. And, of course, thanks to Jan Nathan and her associates who have managed this organization and its growth from the very beginning.
PMA is now entering its 20th year–a milestone to celebrate. What began as an informal gathering of a few California publishers has now grown into a major force within the publishing industry with a membership of 3,600 thriving small and mid-sized independent publishers. Our members create in excess of 10,000 new books each year, and our association represents a segment of the industry that produces an estimated $15 billion in sales annually.
Current successful member-benefit programs include:
- The PMA Publishing University
–with 500 attendees at more than 60 high-impact courses a year
–with more than 40 annual awards, increasingly prominent in our industry
- The Coop Marketing Programs
–with shared conference exhibits; direct mailings to bookstores, libraries, and other buyers; and shared ad space in key industry trade journals
–our annual registry of our members
–this topflight monthly source of news and information relevant to our members
- The Trade Distribution Program
–the guidance and selection process that helps our new publishers gain access to trade booksellers
–a source of just about everything an independent publisher needs to know
- The PMA Publishing Program
–producing White Papers and survey information about the independent publishing industry, its opportunities and challenges
- The PMA Membership Services Package
–offering group rates and discounts on insurance, shipping, and printing, as well as distribution advice and dispute resolution services
- The PMA Affiliate Program
–uniting and supporting local and regional publishing associations across the country.
This is quite a list of ongoing accomplishments. It’s been quite a first 20 years! Your Board of Directors for the upcoming year accepts responsibility for ensuring that these programs continue to function successfully and serve you effectively.
But PMA is not only growing. We–like many of our members–are also growing up!
Your new board accepts the challenge of leading PMA as it continues to meet the ever-changing needs of our membership over the upcoming decade. At our next meeting, the board will determine priorities. At a minimum, our discussion will focus on the following emerging challenges:
- Experienced-Member Benefits
–Our long-term member publishers have grown and their needs are now more sophisticated. How can we design advanced staff training and strategic planning seminars that will better assist them with handling the challenges of their success and their growth?
–Every few months, the rules change. How can we best help our membership stay on top of all the new wrinkles that will certainly emerge?
–In the past few years, PMA has published several fine monographs. What shall we publish in the future? How might that publishing program be best organized and designed in response to future member needs?
–We have no need to act as if we were small and timid. In what ways, shall we continue to exert influence within our profession? What alliances should we craft with other key industry players for mutual benefit?
- Creative Charitable Service
–A mature organization also reaches out beyond its own narrow self-interest. What role should PMA and its members play in supporting literacy programs and other charitable causes related to the opportunities that publishing provides us?
–Anniversary rituals are always useful for reflection, and for just plain fun. Can any of our past Presidents form a band to play at next year’s Ben Franklins? (Nope, we don’t want any old dudes singing please!) What ideas will emerge? Let’s hear yours.
This is a sampling of the issues your board will address as stepping stones into the future, while at the same time giving continued attention to all the programs that have served our members so well during the past two decades.
We will welcome your thoughts and your guidance as we seek to serve you and PMA during its 20th year. I’ll be looking for them regularly in my e-mail box at email@example.com.