Less than three weeks after assuming the position of Editor, I am pleased to present the first issue of The Standard for 2013, and to rededicate it as the voice of IOBA. This is meant in a dual sense: as our “house organ,” The Standard serves to represent our organization’s values, goals and concerns; but more than that, it should also provide an outlet for individual IOBA members to share their experience and knowledge with both colleagues and interested readers.
Part of what made it possible to bring this issue together in such a short time was a significant change to our editorial structure and management. At the instigation of IOBA’s new President, Chris Volk, the Board of Directors has decided to transfer some of the technical/production responsibilities to the newly-created domain of a Managing Editor. Joyce Godsey, an experienced bookseller and the proprietor of Sicpress.com (well known to many as a premier source for book repair supplies), has been engaged as our Managing Editor, and we’re very glad to have her on board.
Although I didn’t approach the assembling of this issue with any particular theme in mind, in looking over the contributions it seems that we have one anyway. There is a common thread that unites all the articles, one to which I think almost any IOBA member can relate: the sense of discovery, which is one of the constants of the bookselling experience. The longer pieces, by Greg Gibson and Chris Volk, relate their personal journeys: Greg’s somewhat quixotic passage from unpublished poet (with intermittent employment history) to experienced specialist bookseller, and Chris’s diversionary adventure as she unleashed her “inner collector” in pursuit of the books of a favorite author. Standing in contrast to Chris’s tale of her Internet-scouring quest, Tim Doyle’s tightly-focused account of how he solved a small biblio-mystery provides a perfect example of the kind of thing that can so easily fascinate or even obsess us….and that any one of us might find at any time, inside the cover of the very next book we handle. Finally, William Knox’s tale of establishing his thriving book business in Penang, Malaysia, provides a particularly interesting example of the diverse (and sometimes peculiar) ways that we have all come to bookselling.
For the time being I find myself planted in the Editor’s chair, but I don’t regard it as either a throne or a bully pulpit. I see myself rather as sitting at a very large table, with enough room for as many others as care to join me. It is, as I said above, both the organization’s voice and your voice as individuals — although truly, the two are inseparable. The IOBA is its members. Together, let’s make The Standard everything it can be and should be.