At the annual meeting of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, held during the 40th annual conference and trade show at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence (Oct. 6-8), the organization announced a new program to bolster its revenue stream: Friends of NEIBA. Aimed at getting authors to support NEIBA’s 350 members by contributing $100 a year, the program is one way the organization plans to wipe out its deficit. Junot Diaz, Gish Jen, Wally Lamb, Margot Livesey, Wendell Minor, and Nathaniel Philbrick have already joined and are allowing NEIBA to use their names to promote the program.
In presenting the Friends program, Carole Horne, outreach committee co-chair and general manager of Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., encouraged each bookseller to reach out to at least one author. “Every author I have personally asked has been so thrilled, and they’ve sent in a check,” she said.Treasurer’s committee chair Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, N.H., added, “It’s not just a revenue stream. It’s a way to recognize the reality that authors are part of our community.”
Although NEIBA broke even this year after several years of losing money, its 2013-’14 budget projects an $8,000 deficit. NEIBA executive director Steve Fischer said, “It concerns me the degree to which we are dependent on publishers for support.” He is particularly concerned given that two publishers reduced their advertising in the 2013 holiday catalog, one of NEIBA’s two largest sources of income and the main reason for next fiscal year’s projected drop in revenue.