Report from the President


jim-hartIt’s time for the Mid-Term report.

Seven months ago the current board and officers took office, filled with enthusiasm, energy, and big ideas. How have we done so far?

If this were a college course, our grade would probably be incomplete. Things have not gone as smoothly or as quickly as we planned, but progress has been made and continues.

Summers are historically the slow season in our business. Sales drop off, booksellers plan and take vacations, buying trips, etc. This summer the normal slowdown was exacerbated by a simultaneous slowdown in the general economy. IOBA’s board, like many of our members, were involved in many planned summer activities. Things slowed to a crawl around here also.

Summer is over! (I know, the calendar says there are three weeks left, but I have five grown children and seven grandchildren. For almost thirty years I’ve marked the seasons by listening to school bells.) It is time to get on with business.

Several lingering IOBA projects need resolution. The ABE powered search engine was to have been activated by now. Our board member handling this, Len Lanfranco, has had a few health problems that have slowed him down some this summer, and this has slowed our completion of the search engine project. I am hopeful that we will be able to move forward with this project within days.

The web site overhaul has run way past its estimated completion date. This is my responsibility. Shortly after I undertook this I had personal and business emergencies arise that required dedicated attention. I have continued to work on the site project, but have not made as much progress as I had planned.

While the other issues have not been completely resolved, I have been able to adjust my schedule and will be devoting significant time to complete this undertaking. While the new features have not been implemented, we have updated the members sections of the site, and your business data should be correct.

We have also had several open or interim committee chairs on our board. I have requested board approval of nominees for two of these positions and plan to nominate one more new member within the next week. As soon as the board acts on my request we will make a public announcement of the new board members.

There are still many items I would like to see accomplished before this year is over. I have proposed a set of revisions to our Bylaws Committee. If the committee acts on these they will be presented to the board for further action. I will post a separate note to the members list within the next few days with more details on these proposals and the reasoning behind them.

You have seen the notices on the member’s list regarding the seminar being organized by Bob Erwin and hosted by Vic Zoschak. Our hope is to make this the first of a series of training seminars. We have also begun exploring making these seminars the basis for a series of on-line courses on bookselling. If you have the opportunity to attend this first seminar, please do so. It promises to be rewarding and fun.

This note is running long, and I’m two days past the date I promised Shirley I would turn it in, so I’ll wrap up now.

More than ever, I believe IOBA is needed in this market. Our members are not a homogenous group. We are different in age, experience, business plans, and goals. Often we voice our disagreements publicly. Still, if I order a book from you, or Pat Ahearn, or Julie Fauble, or Alyce Cresap, or Rae Benedetto, or Michael Slosberg, or any of the other members of IOBA, I have confidence that my order will be handled professionally, that the books will be just as they were described, and that if a mistake was made on the order, any one of these booksellers will efficiently and politely take the actions need to correct the problem.

Let’s let the rest of the book buying public know about us.

Until next time, I wish you only the best.

Jim (Hart)

The Standard: The Journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association

Check out the Independent Online Booksellers Association Website