My name is Joan White. My husband, DeWayne (De), and I own White Unicorn Books. We have been IOBA members since 2002. We both have a strong commitment to IOBA and to the standards of IOBA. We have enjoyed the benefits of being a member and being active in the IOBA for many years.
First, my reaction to becoming IOBA President. I was surprised, delighted and terrified! Surprised, because I had never run for an IOBA office. Delighted, because I have ambitious goals in mind for this association I love. Terrified, because there’s a lot of work ahead.
In the time since the end of the election the support I have received is awesome. The Officers, MALs, Committee Chairs and fellow members have put themselves forward and we are on our way to accomplishing some of our goals.
We have a good foundation to work from, and we will continue the efforts started by the previous administration. One of the items I have heard loud and clear is the Board and Committees need better communication with the membership on what is being proposed and accomplished.
The best news is that The Standard has returned!
Another project underway is the restructure of the various IOBA Committee pages on the IOBA web-site (http://www.ioba.org ). Each committee will have their own page, and can report on goals and accomplishments. Hopefully, this will get other members excited about the changes and improvements and they will volunteer to help.
There is a new IOBA committee comin’ to town – so new it is in the process of choosing a name. This will be a ‘meet and greet’ committee, but also a ‘help and assist’ committee. The plan is, just to mention a few things, to welcome new members and ‘show them around’, helping with setting up passwords, navigating around the IOBA web-site, IOBA Discuss, IOBA Tradebooks, applying for a scholarship, and listing their books on the IOBA website. But the committee is not just to assist new members; we plan for it to be a resource for existing members wanting to know more about their benefits and how they can contribute to IOBA.
Under the leadership of our Vice President, Heidi Congalton, we plan a campaign to encourage more applicants to apply for the IOBA scholarships to CABS, YABS and the Rare Book School seminars. Members can truly learn how to better themselves as booksellers and increase profits for their business. There is available an immense wealth of knowledge – just sitting there waiting for you. These scholarships are available to any current IOBA member in good standing, excluding members of the Scholarship Committee and current Officers.
Abe is interested in promoting the listings of books offered by members of IOBA, and would like more IOBAns to list there. They will be creating a special landing page that will search IOBA sellers only, a page that will occasionally be prominently featured on their website. To encourage more IOBA members to try AbeBooks, they will waive the monthly fees for 3 months for IOBA members who do not currently list there and have not for at least 6 months.
This should be a win/win/win situation – a win for IOBA in that it will increase sales for IOBA members who list on Abe and increase the visibility of IOBA overall, a win for AbeBooks since it will help them retain and recruit sellers who are committed to a Code of Ethics and to accurate descriptions, careful packing and good customer service, and a win for buyers will be able to buy in confidence from IOBA sellers.
We hope that this will only be the first step in working more closely with AbeBooks, to address the concerns our sellers have about the site and concerns that buyers might have.
And with the many international members that are joining the IOBA we must be aware of our worldwide membership needs. For example, the recent talks with ABEbooks.com described above could possibly be extended to include ABEbooks.uk, ABEbooks.au, etc. We could also pursue agreements with other venues such as Alibris, Antiqbooks and Biblio. An IOBA-specific landing page at the various venues should help drive business to IOBA members.
With the help of all our members we will endeavor to strengthen the commitment to traditional bookseller ethics and standards, while embracing and staying ahead of the various new technologies.
Joan White IOBA President White Unicorn Books Dallas, Texas