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President’s Post: What Has IBPA Done for You Lately? A Look Behind and Ahead

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by Florrie Binford Kichler, Executive Director, Independent Book Publishers Association —

Florrie Binford Kichler

Florrie Binford Kichler

Study the past, if you would divine the future.


The best way to predict the future is to create it.

—Peter Drucker

$129 or $10.75 a month for 12 months. $10.75 is less than the price of three skim milk lattes (no foam) but more than that of a McDonald’s Big Mac Extra Value Meal.

And over 12 months, it’s exactly the cost of a year’s membership in IBPA at the entry level. $129 isn’t a fortune, and it isn’t peanuts either. But no matter how you characterize it, our number-one goal at IBPA is to increase the value of your membership exponentially over what you pay for it. Which may be why so many publishers renew their memberships every year, and why more than 1,000 publishers have renewed again and again for at least 10 years.

Here are just some of the benefits $129 bought over the past year—which in IBPA’s fiscal calendar means July 1, 2011, to July 1, 2012—along with a look at what’s coming up for 2012–2013.

2011–2012 IBPA Highlights

The redesign of the Independent and Publishing University’s move to the West Coast for the first time in seven years were two of the higher-profile benefits IBPA brought to its members during the past 12 months. Much has already been written about both events (see President’s Post in the November 2011 and May 2012 issues), so suffice it to say that all of us at IBPA hope that you are pleased with our effort to continually improve the quality and accessibility of the publishing education you receive from your association.

And speaking of education, 2011–2012 saw 10 installments of IBPA’s Webinar program, Publishing University Online, featuring such timely topics as Building a Real Audience for Your Book Through Social Media; 27 Ways to Monetize Your Blog; Jump on the Ebook Bandwagon: Ebook Conversion and Distribution Basics; and many more. In addition, the entire library of more than 40 Publishing University Online Webinars is available to IBPA members for your listening and learning pleasure wherever and whenever it’s convenient.

Rounding out our online education program last year were two special events: a Webinar from Tantor Audio, Audiobooks: Leveraging the Growing Market, and the opportunity to learn from Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, in a teleconference, Ebook Publishing Best Practices: A Conversation with Mark Coker of Smashwords. Both events were free for IBPA members, and you can expect more such opportunities during the upcoming year.

Ask the Experts Online, IBPA’s program to give members the chance to request advice from the best and brightest minds in publishing, launched in the fall of 2011. Exclusive to IBPA members, it makes experts available in the areas of book marketing, publicity, e-book conversion, social media, copyright, subsidiary rights, and many more publishing topics. The experts answer your online questions, and the answers are posted in an archive for all members to access.

IBPA’s new Web site, which as I write is set to launch within the next few months, was conceived and created with two goals in mind—usability and functionality. Many more details about the site will be sent your way in the coming weeks and months, but for now I’m safe in saying that it will represent a quantum leap in terms of the ease with which you can access the information you need, participate in the many programs IBPA offers you, and communicate with each other and your association staff.

IBPA Web site

This detail from the Home page of the new IBPA Web site gives you a taste of its offerings.

2011–2012 saw the publication of the very first IBPA collection of Independent articles—The Publishers Toolkit. Launching a series that highlights selected pieces first published in the IBPA Independent, these volumes will expand IBPA’s educational outreach. All of them will be available to you at no charge as a benefit of your IBPA membership.

IBPA continued to advocate for the independent publishing community by participating on advisory councils and boards of the Book Industry Study Group, BEA, and World Book Night; by attending and speaking at industry events such as Digital Book World and Tools of Change (and getting discounts for members to those events); and by speaking out against infringements of free speech and on other legal issues that affect the well-being of independent publishers.

On a more local level, the IBPA staff advocates for members every time you call requesting assistance with resolving a dispute with a vendor. I’m happy to report that IBPA was able to help with resolution in most of the cases members called about last year.

With new benefits added in 2011–2012, IBPA now offers you more than 40 ways to save money—sometimes thousands of dollars—on goods and services. The new benefits include entrée to Ingram wholesale distribution that’s exclusive to IBPA members, participation in Ingram marketing programs at a reduced rate, discounts on participation in PW Select review service, price breaks on Lightning Source services, and more.

2012–2013 Highlights

This next year promises to be no less exciting than the one just past. Thanks to the leadership of your board of directors and the hard work of your IBPA staff, a peek at the upcoming year reveals:

  • The completely redesigned and improved IBPA Web site mentioned above
  • A new and innovative awards program
  • A groundbreaking cooperative marketing opportunity
  • Members helping members—the IBPA Mentoring initiative
  • …and much more.

Of course, all the projects I’ve just mentioned are in addition to the 40-plus money-saving benefits; 50-plus cooperative marketing programs, including all the major trade shows; 12 issues of the Independent; and an IBPA staff ready and willing to answer any questions you may have.

Your IBPA membership may cost more per month than a McDonald’s Big Mac Extra Value meal, but long after those crispy fries are a distant memory, your membership will remain, bringing you the marketing and educational support you need, the cost-effective goods and services you require, and the ever-increasing value you deserve.

Happy New Year—the best is yet to come.

Follow Florrie and IBPA on Twitter at twitter.com/ibpa, and on IBPA’s blog at ibpablog.wordpress.com. Join Independent Book Publishers Association–IBPA group on LinkedIn (linkedin.com).

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