At its most recent meeting, the PMA board focused on several significant milestones and dealt with a host of issues that relate to current challenges facing our association and our members. The details of two days of discussions won’t fit into this column, but here are some highlights.
The State of Our Association
All is well and humming nicely at the home office. During the past three months the PMA staff has navigated the transfer of the PMA Web site and Internet system to a new server. A new financial software system has also been installed, which will facilitate management of various lists and reporting of increasingly complex financial data. The bottom-line financial pictures for the first two quarters of this fiscal year have been a bit better than projected, and, at this halfway point, PMA is well positioned to accomplish all our work-plan goals for the year.
The State of Our Industry
Our industry remains in a state of flux, with various big players continually shifting strategies to shore up their leadership positions and their profits. If it’s not a book chain going big-time into publishing, then it’s a wholesaler demanding an inordinately large discount, or an Internet retailer focusing more on reselling used books. As you well know, these changes often present additional challenges to our ranks of independent publishers. PMA has continued to represent our members’ interests to other players in our industry, and we have also continued to lobby for a level playing field in several ways–by negotiating quietly behaligthe scenes, by making public statements when necessary, and by educating our members about their choices and their rights through the PMA Newsletter and other channels.
The Growth of Our Membership
PMA, the professional association for independent publishers, is serving more and more members with visibility, advocacy, education, business discounts and insurance programs, and marketing support. We began the year with 3,712 publisher members. That figure is now 3,843 and rapidly growing toward 4,000. (Hey, have you invited any of your nonmember publisher friends to join PMA lately? Why not let them in on the benefits of membership as well?) Each of our individual members represents a full-fledged entrepreneurial business venture, and most of these are profitable and steadily expanding publishing companies.
The Message in Our Name–PMA, Publishers Marketing Association
Because of our continued growth and our ever-broadening mission, the board has started to explore the question of whether our name still adequately reflects the full scope of our association and our membership support activities.
Marketing is only part of what we do these days. Are we ready for another name that would better reflect our total support of independent publishers across the country? When you tell your friends that you are a PMA member, do they immediately understand, or do you have to explain the nature of the organization and its purpose?
We would appreciate your comments on this question. Should our name become more descriptive of our broad mission and the industry that we represent? Should it include words like “Independent Publishers”? “Book Publishers”? “National (or American) Association”? No, we are not going to make any big moves about the name right away. But it’s time to start thinking of ways that it can better reflect the current status and comprehensive role of our association.
I look forward to your feedback. Please give us your best thoughts. Thanks.