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The State of the Association in 2000

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style=”mso-tab-count: 1″>  As I complete my second and final year of my Presidency of PMA, I
thought it would be an appropriate moment to consider the state of the
association and the progress made over the last two years.

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It? been an honor to serve this association. I don? think I can
stress sufficiently the importance within the publishing industry and
indeed for the culture as a whole that I believe PMA now occupies. With
over 3,400 members, it is without question the largest book publishing
trade association in the world. With the extraordinary series of mergers
and takeovers that have occurred in recent years?hich have put most of
this country? leading publishers in the hands of multinational
corporations whose main enterprise is <I
style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal”>not book publishing?he need for a
strong independent sector to maintain the integrity and breadth of
publishing in this country is of ever more

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Partly through the efforts of independent publishers and the
excellence of the books they produce, and partly through the efforts of
organizations such as PMA, the independents have fought for and kept their
place in bookstores both independent and chain, and the traditional
channels of getting our sort of books to the public are still very much
open to us. A look at other industries will show that this is not always
the case, and maintaining strong relationships with the wholesalers and
retailers who dominate the bookselling market has been and must remain an
essential part of what PMA does in the future?t cannot be taken for
granted. But at the same time, PMA members have been among the pioneers of
finding new and different ways of selling and publishing books, through
catalogs, special sales, and of course, through the Internet which has
revolutionized the possibilities for very many small publishers. What has
become clear especially in recent months is that the book as we know it is
far from dead or even endangered?hile we find better ways of producing
and selling them through electronic means, the actual physical artifact of
the book remains the favored way for most people around the world to read,
and there seems very little sign of that changing. Indeed, the Internet
seems to be providing as much of a boon to publishing as have other,
earlier perceived threats to the existence of the book?he movies, radio,
TV, video games, the personal computer?ll of which ended up spawning more
books about them. Certainly throughout my 20 years in publishing every new
technology seems to produce in its wake some means for book publishers to
be smarter and quicker than ever before. Now Print-on-Demand technology
appears to offer, far from the death of the book, everlasting

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So the independent sector is not only more necessary than ever
before, it is more thriving. One of the major achievements of the past two
years has been to force the industry as a whole to begin to count the
sales of small and independent publishers outside New York City within the
overall statistics of the industry. To the shock?nd consternation?f some
of the custodians of the establishment, the independent sector appears
effectively to double the size of the book publishing industry in this
country, and the needs and requirements of these publishers can not and
will not be ignored. As well as working at this national level, PMA?
voice is now heard and respected in every national association dealing
with the industry and with books.

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For our members, we have made substantial strides in improving
member services, adding numerous member benefits that more than pay for
annual membership, and by the time you read this, we will have launched a
significantly upgraded Web site. Marketing programs have all been
reviewed, and the next year will see improvements in the quality of these
mailings as well as in the newsletter. Perhaps most significantly, a
dispute resolution service is in place which offers a very low-cost and
effective way of dealing with many issues that arise in the life of any
publishing company that formerly could have only been resolved through
lawsuit. We have introduced scholarships to PMA University, which itself
has grown and strengthened enormously, and have provided the opportunity
for affiliate groups to receive funding from PMA to help them grow to
their next level. Every program offered by PMA is better subscribed than
at any time before in its history.

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Credit for all of this belongs to many people, and I would like to
take the opportunity to thank every member of the PMA Boards of Directors
that I have served with, as well as the many members who have contributed
ideas, suggestions, and their time to enhancing and strengthening the work
of the association. It goes without saying that the most credit belongs to
the staff of Jan Nathan Associates who work tirelessly and with genuine
passion for the goals of the association to make PMA what it is today?nd
most of all, of course, to Jan Nathan herself, one of the most important
personalities in the industry today and one of the most remarkable people
I have had the privilege of working with and learning

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Much of the last months of my time as President have been absorbed
with working on a strategic planning direction for the next years of PMA,
and I? grateful to the board members and many association members who
have contributed their thoughts. I believe that PMA is at a significant
watershed in its life and that as independent publishing grows ever more
significant and important, that we have set up the association to grow
with it and serve it ever more effectively.

This article is from thePMA Newsletterfor June, 2000, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.


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