April 2 – April 9, 2009 Edition

Children’s Booksellers
Discuss Merger With ABA

NEW YORK, NY/Authorlink News/04/01/09-­The Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) is considering a merger with the American Booksellers Association (ABA), the same organization the Booksellers for Children broke away from in about 1984. One possibility the group is exploring would be to make the ABC a division or department of the ABA.

The ABC board of directors posted a letter to members on its website last week that it is considering the merger. The organization said it has little reserves or capital assets and a limited staff, relying heavily on income from publishers to fund critical programs such as educational workshops, and BEA programming and catalogs.

The letter stated that “. . .the publishing industry is facing a period of unprecedented change. Even the best and brightest among us are blind to what the future may hold in terms of shifting consumer patterns, technological innovation, and publisher priorities.”

The board said it wants to be proactive at looking toward the future, rather than reactive.

“We believe we have just about reached the limit of how far we can grow with the current staff and resources, and our lack of reserve means we have no margin for error, “ the letter said.”If we want to expand our programming, fully support our member during this challenging period. . .we may need a new approach.

“Because of the time required to adequately evaluate the idea and all the potential industry uncertainty ABC faces in the next year, as a Board we felt we should initiate a discussion with ABA in a timely manner. That way we could make some headway before industry changes became overwhelming,” the letter said.

The ABA board was presented with the merger idea at its Winter conference and responded enthusiastically to the invitation.

A joint task force will be formed to explore the possibilities, with representatives from both organizations reporting back to their respective boards.

Within the next month ABC will be surveying members about their thoughts and ideas about a possible ABC/ABA merger, as well as what parts of the ABC programming members find most valuable. Between now and BEA in May, the organization will gather members of the task force, and the staff of both organizations to research issues. After BEA, the task force will begin formal meetings with the goal of generating a report for both Boards before January 2010.