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Member Benefits


Rudy Shur of Square One Publishers
has been busy as chair of the board’s member benefits committee, sifting
through the flood of “special offers” (some of them not so special) for PMA
members that come to the association.


Among other things, Rudy
negotiated a waiver of setup fees and a permanent discount on monthly service
fees from AmericanAuthor.com, which offers inexpensive, easy-to-use, templated
Web sites designed just for authors. Its site is worth a look. Another new
benefit is a special deep discount for advertising in the <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>Christian Science Monitor
Also in the works: special pricing for independent publishers from a vendor who
will assist with EDI (electronic data interchange).


Better Access to Ingram


At our February board meeting,
executive director Jan Nathan announced a breakthrough cooperative program with
Ingram for publishers who do not have a distributor and need a “vendor of
record” for wholesale sales into chain stores, independents, and libraries.
Look for details in the PMA Power Tools section of Member News.


Working with Amazon


After an upbeat meeting with a
delegation from Amazon in Seattle last November, the PMA board of directors was
optimistic that PMA could play an important role in brokering better
communications between Amazon and independent book publishers and in finding
solutions to mutual problems more quickly and effectively.


Today, directors are less
optimistic. Frankly, we’ve made little if any progress. Our first joint effort
was to be an “Ask Amazon” column for <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>PMA Independent
, which I rashly
predicted would “provide timely feedback on important issues.” Unfortunately,
the answer to our first question was unpublishable, a hybrid of corporate PR
and legal-speak. Apparently, answers to our questions have to be vetted through
the legal department, and that’s where the problem seems to lie.


Until Amazon can provide simple,
unambiguous answers to straightforward questions, we’re not going to get very
far. But we’re not going to give up either, so stay tuned.


Trade Distribution Program


At its recent winter meeting, the
Trade Distribution Committee accepted 38 of 160 titles submitted. Over the
years, this program has provided national distribution through Independent
Publishers Group for hundreds of titles that otherwise would not have had it,
and the program has been a commercial success as well. Half the titles in the
IPG’s Small Press Selection catalog are active backlist books that still
generate annual sales of $2.5 million in the aggregate.


New York Gift Fair


PMA’s cooperative marketing at the
nation’s premier gift show was a success. Jan Nathan reports that inspirational
and health and wellness titles were among the strongest sellers; that PMA’s
booth was in an excellent high-traffic location; and that show sponsors seemed
eager to see more from book publishers. It’s a sure bet PMA will exhibit at the
gift fair again next year.




Carlene Sippola of Whole Person
Associates, who chairs our Affiliates Committee, organized an outstanding
affiliates’ retreat the first weekend in March in Redondo Beach, CA. Eight of
PMA’s 29 affiliate organizations were represented at this first-ever event.


Attendees, most of them
volunteers, shared their experiences and brainstormed possible solutions to a
variety of problems that confront organizations run mostly by volunteers. See
“Avoiding Burnout, and Other Aids to Growth,” for details. Everyone went away
with new ideas and fresh enthusiasm. No doubt the affiliates’ retreat will
become a regular event.


Regional Conferences


PMA’s February publishing
conference in Santa Fe was a huge hit. The event was organized by the New
Mexico Book Association with programming assistance from PMA, whose board was
meeting in Santa Fe during the same weekend. A similar event—this one a
joint venture between PMA and our St. Louis affiliate—is planned for


Web-based Training


Those of you unable to attend
Publishing University in Washington, DC, in May should be aware of a new PMA
program to be announced soon that will offer Web-based training and networking.
The program will be called the PMA Publishing University Online. Organized by
director Frank Gromling of Ocean Publishing, the first round of Web-based
training is expected to be available by fall, initially covering five to ten
popular topics.


I welcome your comments and ideas
for PMA. Contact me at gksturgis@earthlink.net.



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