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by Florrie Binford Kichler

From the Boardroom

To keep you informed of your association’s activities, this column will regularly report on board of directors meetings. The IBPA board meets three times a year in person for a day and a half, and once a year by teleconference.

Here’s a quick summary of discussions and decisions at our meetings during the first half of this year (February in New Orleans and May by phone), which also covered plans for activities in late May and June, including our 25th anniversary celebration at BEA, Publishing University, the Midsized Technology Forum, and the Benjamin Franklin Awards.

Office staff. The office has three new employees, Kirstin Tombar and April McDuffy as administrative staff and Teresa Fogarty, marketing/publicity manager.

The Independent. EBSCO Information Services is interested in handling electronic distribution of the Independent to libraries. To move forward, IBPA needs a written policy covering electronic rights to Independent articles. Our general counsel, Jonathan Kirsch, will draft the policy

Since an ad in the Independent can be construed as an implied endorsement by IBPA, we also need a policy on accepting and rejecting ads. The board agreed to consult with Jonathan Kirsch about this policy and our ad insertion form.

Advocacy. All issues arising in connection with the Media Coalition will be considered first by the Advocacy Committee. The Media Coalition supports First Amendment rights and deals with other publishing industry issues. IBPA participates in this group alongside the Association of American Publishers, the American Booksellers Association, and other major industry organizations.

Terry Nathan issued a statement to the press on behalf of IBPA, speaking out against the recent action by Amazon.com requiring print-on-demand clients to use its printing company exclusively or face removal of the Buy button from their title screen. The Advocacy Committee will continue to monitor this issue.

Officers’ and directors’ insurance. Terry Nathan is continuing to gather quotes for new coverage and will report back on results.

ABA. Along with Dominique Raccah of Sourcebooks, I met with the ABA board to discuss ways that independent publishers and booksellers can work together. The dialogue will continue.

Bowker. IBPA is exploring ways to partner with Bowker on member outreach and promotion.

Treasurers Report. IBPA has obtained new accounting services with Peter Craig and Hal Jaffe of Bay Sherman and Craig, who will be performing an annual review. Our bookkeeper’s most recent report, representing the first six months of the fiscal year, was distributed to the board.

New Orleans Public Library Foundation. Representatives of the NOPL reported on progress made since Hurricane Katrina and future plans to complete rebuilding. IBPA recently donated 5,000 books to the NOPL.

Business plan. A business plan was approved at the May board meeting and includes:

A vision statement: IBPA (formerly PMA) is the leading professional trade association for independent book publishers. We serve the needs, foster the growth, and advocate on behalf of emerging and established independent book publishers.

A mission statement explaining why we exist.

A list of short-term (18-month) objectives with information on what results we will measure.

A description of strategies we will use to build the association.

A list of plans for the immediate future.

A list of long-term (48-month) objectives with information on what results we will measure.

Membership development. A new committee has been created to focus on membership retention and recruitment. The goal will be to increase the number of members in order to increase the scope and quality of the services we can provide. The Membership Development Committee will create a membership marketing plan.

Jan Nathan Publishing Award. The award’s purposes are: to honor Jan Nathan’s memory and her contributions to independent book publishing; to recognize outstanding contributions to independent publishing by individuals and companies; and to increase the awareness of our association and attract new members.

A selection committee will identify nominees who clearly represent the principles and values most important to Jan, and the board committee will define specific parameters and criteria for the award.

The Jan Nathan Award will include $5,000 to be donated to a cause selected by the recipient.

Jan Nathan Scholarship. IBPA will establish the Jan Nathan Scholarship to continue Jan’s legacy by fostering professional small and independent publishing through education.

The award, which will take the form of a $4,000 grant to be used at an established publishing program, will be funded to the extent possible with money contributed to the Jan Nathan Memorial Fund.

Publishing University Online. One free online course and seven paid online courses were offered last year. As of February 2008, Publishing University Online had attracted 324 paid attendees, including 10 nonmembers. The average per seminar is about 45 people. Lisa Krebs is responsible for setting up programs for the rest of the year and will update the site when the information is available.

Benefits. Thanks largely to Rudy Shur and Lisa Krebs, new benefits are considered on an ongoing basis. Among the most recent new benefit offers are discounts on ForeWord Magazine subscriptions and advertising.

Print on demand. Publishers need education to clarify the benefits of this technology. The Independent will continue to run articles on the subject, including articles that feature members’ experiences.

Affiliates. The Affiliate Committee is creating a packet of information about what IBPA offers its affiliates and how IBPA and the affiliates can work together more effectively.

Goodbye to departing board members Carlene Sippola, David Cole, Rudy Shur, and Rod Colvin. Thanks to all for their hard work, dedication, and support of IBPA.

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



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