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President’s Report: Highlights from the IBPA Boardroom

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by Florrie Binford Kichler

Highlights from the IBPA Boardroom

Your volunteer board of directors traveled to Manchester, NH, in November for the quarterly IBPA board meeting, which included presenting a day of publishing education in partnership with the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE). Three months later, the third and final in-person board meeting of fiscal year 2008–2009 took place in California. Following are the highlights of those two meetings.

Regional University. Once a year, the IBPA board teams with an affiliate and takes a Publishing University on the road to a different region of the country. Sessions presented by board members at the IPNE day-long Publishing University included “Book Promotion in a Digital World” and “Tips for Tough Times: How to Keep Your Publishing Business Alive and Growing.”

Publishing University. Planning continues for the annual Publishing University to be held prior to BEA 2009 in New York, and by the time you read this, the University—featuring more than 60 sessions and 100 instructors—will be just weeks away. With its theme, “The Future of Publishing: How to Thrive in a Digital World,” this year’s event promises to once again be at the vanguard of publisher education. Recognizing the impact of the current economic downturn, every effort has been made to reduce attendee costs, including negotiating lower hotel room rates and giving attendees the opportunity to share a room to reduce expenses.

BEA. To ensure that this annual convention continues to be relevant, valuable, and educational for both exhibitors and attendees, BookExpo America has appointed a Conference Advisory Board and a Conference Steering Committee, consisting of a cross-section of publishing industry professionals. BEA management has invited IBPA to participate in both groups. Terry Nathan, as executive director of IBPA, is serving on the Steering Committee, and I have joined the Conference Advisory Board.

The Independent. Time and time again, our members cite our monthly publication as the number-one benefit of membership. You are holding in your hands a newly designed magazine that graphically conveys the power of your association while still maintaining the clarity of communication and content that has been its hallmark. Future plans for the Independent include increasing the value of the archives through a topical index.

Jan Nathan Award and Jan Nathan Scholarship. By the time you read this, we will have awarded the first Jan Nathan Scholarship to one of our members. Made possible by donations to the Jan Nathan Fund in honor of our long-time executive director, the Jan Nathan Scholarship funds full tuition and housing at the highly regarded Stanford Publishing Course for an IBPA publisher member.

As I write this in mid-March, the Jan Nathan Award Committee, led by former IBPA president Kent Sturgis, continues to work on specifics for the award that was created to honor our first executive director by recognizing outstanding contributions to independent publishing by individuals and companies. Watch for details to come.

Treasurer’s report. Thanks to a farsighted board and management, a reserve fund was created several years ago to ensure that your association would stay financially healthy through tough economic times. Your treasurer and executive director are continuing to keep a close eye on income and outgo—more important than ever, given the current recession.

Education task force. Created to examine IBPA educational programs and recommend future directions, the task force to date has held in-person interviews at the Regional University in New Hampshire and has conducted an all-member online survey; at this writing, task force members are following up on the survey with phone interviews to ensure that our educational programming meets your needs.

Advocacy. In the last few months, your association has kept you informed of the latest regarding the Google Book Search settlement and the Consumer Product Safety Information Act, while continuing to act on your behalf when industry vendor issues arise.

Membership development. Our Publishing Coast to Coast membership outreach is in full swing with the goal of growing and strengthening our association in order to provide more programs, more education, more support, and more value to you, our members.

Benefits. Months of work by our staff have resulted in more than 30 new, revamped, and refreshed member benefits, saving our members thousands of dollars in goods and services.

Marketing programs. Existing marketing programs have been, and are continuing to be, refreshed to ensure that the most value is provided to our participants. A team of board members and staff is exploring potential new marketing programs, including electronic catalogs, additional distribution opportunities, andsocial media. Watch for exciting developments in these areas.

Publishing University Online. The successful monthly educational Webinar series is continuing, with ongoing evaluation to improve the online experience for attendees. I urge you to contact Lisa at the IBPA office to suggest topics and speakers, as we want this educational opportunity to be valuable to you.

Affiliates.The Affiliate Handbook, a primer on every aspect of affiliation with IBPA, including how to start and maintain a successful regional publisher group, has been updated for 2009 and distributed to all 25 affiliates.

In addition, this year’s Affiliate Retreat, our annual networking and educational event open to all IBPA affiliates, was held on April 2–3 in San Diego.

Each year, IBPA offers our affiliates the opportunity to nominate one of their members for a Publishing University scholarship. This year’s scholarship winners have been chosen and will be attending Publishing University in New York at the end of this month.

For 25 years, members of the IBPA board of directors have given generously of their time, and this 26th year the same is true. As my presidential term draws to a close, I want to thank each one of our directors and staff for the loyalty, dedication, enthusiasm, and support they have shown, and continue to show, to our association. You can rest assured that the future of IBPA, and your future as our valued member, is secure—and limitless.

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



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