Any possible merger of the Association of Booksellers for Children with the American Booksellers Association is at least a year away, ABC executive director Kristen McLean said. Late last month, the 25-year-old ABC announced that it had begun looking at options for the future, including some sort of collaboration with the ABA.
In a mailing to ABC booksellers, the board stressed that the organization is healthy. However, given that ABC already devotes 80% of its revenue to programming and relies heavily on funding from publishers, it wants to be proactive before decisions are forced on it by the economy. Although the ABC board expressed a willingness to consider other possibilities, none had been presented yet. And a merger of ABC and ABA has the advantage that 95% of ABC’s members already belong to ABA.
ABA COO Oren Teicher noted that the two groups have been working together more in recent years, adding, “We are looking forward to participating in additional preliminary discussions about how we may best further that cooperation.” At least one of the original members of ABC sees the need for the organization to change. “I very much trust the individuals who are on the ABC board and believe that they are putting a lot of thought into what will be best for ABC,” said Judy Nelson, president of Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop in La Verne, Calif.
ABC and ABA are in the process of forming a task force, while ABC is soliciting input from its membership. It is planning a membership survey and a meeting at BEA to discuss the proposal.