The Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) has invited its members and other constituents to review the plan for a proposed merger with the American Booksellers Association, and to offer comments. In January 2009, ABC began exploring a merger with ABA as an option to keep the organization viable in the face of unprecedented change in the book industry.
In May 2010, the boards of ABC and ABA exchanged a letter of agreement that laid out the principles of governance under which a merged association would operate. The staffs of both associations then worked to create a plan detailing how ABC programming and staffing would be handled if a merger were approved by ABC membership. The formal merger proposal includes both the letter of agreement between the two boards and the plan created by staff.
“The staff of both organizations worked hard to craft a plan that offered ABC members not only continuation, but also substantial growth of ABC programming,” ABC Executive Director Kristen McLean told BTW. “Everyone at the table believed that ABC programming was an important tool for helping bookstores grow their business, and I think this plan really reflects that. I hope the ABC membership will be pleased.”
On October 1, ABC will mail a ballot package to its bookseller members “in good standing” that will include the letter of agreement between the boards, the programming plan, all public comments registered by September 24, and a ballot on the question of merger. Booksellers will be asked to return the ballots to ABC by October 21, and voting will officially close on October 29. Results of the vote will be announced in early November. The boards of ABC and ABA have agreed that a successful vote will constitute a 75 percent positive vote for merger. If ABC membership approves the merger, ABC and ABA will then set an official date for the merger; if the merger is not approved, ABC will continue to operate as usual.
Although ABC booksellers are the only ones who will vote on whether to merge with ABA, ABC is inviting comments from all areas of its constituency in the comments section on its merger webpage. The site also offers a review of ABC’s reasons for exploring the merger and a history of the discussions with ABA.