Len Vlahos, COO of the American Booksellers Association, has been appointed executive director of the Book Industry Study Group. Vlahos succeeds former BISG executive director Scott Lubeck, who resigned from the position in May. Vlahos will start his new job on September 12 and address the BISG annual meeting on September 20.
Vlahos has worked for the ABA for nearly 20 years and brings extensive bookselling experience to BISG, where he has been a board member. Vlahos has headed programs on e-books and digital delivery and headed ABA's IndieCommerce program, which puts booksellers online; he oversaw ABA's ABACUS study, which established financial benchmarks for bookstore operations; and he has overseen the Winter Institute, the ABA's annual educational conference.
Asked why he chose to leave ABA, Vlahos said, "I've spent the last few years on the BISG board and I've been impressed and excited by their mission. It's a unique place, like Switzerland. We get to come together—booksellers, agents, publishers—and talk about books and how to get them in front of the public. The ABA has been incredible, but I thought this would be a great opportunity."
George Tattersfield, BISG treasurer and chair of the search committee, said, "Len will provide the leadership and vision we need in this period of significant change as BISG continues to supply research that helps keep the book ecosystem healthy."
Vlahos said he expected to oversee BISG's continuing work on research, including the BookStats project, the joint AAP/BISG project to track book sales, which will become an annual report. He also pointed to BISG research on e-books and consumer habits and on students in higher education. "We hope to expand our work on standards, metadata, and the rights vocabulary, and to keep BISG growing," Vlahos said.
"BISG is a unique place for conversation and innovation across the whole industry," Vlahos added. "We can help bring all the parties across the book publishing industry together. That's my vision."