Citing soft economic conditions and the need for enhanced communication with its membership, the Christian Booksellers Association has restructured and streamlined its operations to cut costs and improve efficiencies.
Five staff positions have been eliminated, including two from the association magazine CBA Marketplace and one from conventions. CBA eliminated the convention position by outsourcing registration for its trade shows. CBA president Bill Anderson said the cuts were "a step we must take to stay financially sound with no decrease in services to our members."
Until the restructuring, CBA employees were divided between CBA, a 501(c)(6) trade association with not-for-profit status, and the CBA Service Corporation, a separate tax-paying entity primarily for advertising revenue. Effective April 1, all staff members are employees of CBA. With the changes, the publications department becomes an integrated part of member services under the leadership of member development director Leon Wirth.
"By bringing together the member services and training team with the publications and production team, we believe [the magazine] will become better equipped to address the realities of today's business climate," Wirth said. He added that CBA's weekly electronic newsletter eNews will continue and that "other new electronic communications vehicles will also emerge in the coming year from this partnership of CBA teams."
Anderson told PW that CBA Marketplace would not shrink in size, lose its glossy format or publish less frequently as a result of the restructuring. It will also continue to cover staff training issues. "We have been steadily moving toward more electronic communication, as it is the most effective way to get industry news out in a timely way," Anderson said. "Print, on the other hand, is more effective for training, product information and business analysis" and bringing in ad revenue.
The restructuring leaves CBA with a staff of 42 full-time employees to serve a membership of about 2,500 retailers and 700 suppliers.