Beginning today, ABA members can access all the fully updated information in the ABA Book Buyers Handbook (BBH) in an online edition. In development for over a year, the online BBH provides access to approximately 5,600 publisher, wholesaler, and distributor listings in a fully interactive format, which can be searched by such criteria as company name, keyword, and ISBN prefix.
The BBH has long been a key service for ABA members, providing the essential information of vendor terms of sale necessary for operating a profitable bookstore. However, while the editorial work behind the BBH continues year-round, publishers listings can go out of date quite soon after the annual publication of the books hard-copy edition.
Now, however, ABAs Information Department will be working closely with publishers, wholesalers, and distributors throughout the year to obtain the most accurate and timely information possible, and it will be updating the BBH within days of confirming changes in terms and key contact information. Further, ABA will shortly be activating a feature that will enable the association to include in the BBH database information about publishers special terms and offerings throughout the year.
The online BBH offers such features as the quick display of all recently updated listings, an advanced search function, and the ability to browse company names and ISBN prefixes. The BBH will be available to members 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, companies included in the BBH will be able to access a special editing feature that will offer a secure means of reviewing their listings and providing changes to ABA.
ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz noted to BTW that "we believe that this is a crucially important improvement in member services. The Book Buyers Handbook online offers booksellers the most accurate and timely information possible regarding terms of sale, which is essential in this competitive marketplace." He added, "In addition, by providing, for the first time, updates on the most current information of publishers special offers, we can give booksellers access to buying options that, up to now, have never been widely available to independent booksellers."
Documents made public during the course of the lawsuit against the chains indicated the extent of special deals that had not been extended to independent booksellers, and following the settlement of the lawsuit ABA resolved to make sure that such information could be provided to independents. The online BBH also offers an easy-to-use option for booksellers to e-mail information to ABA regarding any new terms of sale they may learn of.
Recognizing that many stores have used the BBH as a source of key contact information for companies, ABA will be producing a hard-copy directory booklet listing company office address, phone, e-mail, and Web address information, which will be available free to bookstore members on request. In addition, ABA will be offering hard-copy editions of the BBH to bookstore members for purchase at cost.
Access to the online Handbook is currently available to all ABA regular and associate members.
All staff in your store can access the Handbook online by using their current log-in name and password for BookWeb.org. To create a log-in name and password, booksellers need only click the "Register for BookWeb" icon at www.Bookweb.org, and fill in the requested information, including your stores ABA ID number. Any number of staff can use the same log-in name and password.
To explore the new online BBH, members should point their browsers to http://handbook.bookweb.org. The Handbook is easily accessible directly through this URL or through a prominent icon on BookWeb.org.
In developing the online BBH, ABA worked with Objective Consulting, Inc. (OCI), an Internet consulting and software development company headquartered in Tarrytown, New York. The OCI team has worked with ABA on such projects as BookWeb.org, the improved electronic reporting options for the Book Sense Bestseller lists, and the newly enhanced printing options for Bookselling This Week.