Allison Hill, the president and CEO of Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., has been named the next CEO of the American Booksellers Association, effective March 1, 2020. Hill succeeds Oren Teicher, who has served as ABA CEO for the past 10 years. Teicher will officially step down as CEO effective November 1, but will assist in the transition through December, and ABA will host a farewell to Teicher at the upcoming Winter Institute, in Baltimore, Md., on January 21 of next year.
Hill has worked at Simon & Schuster and Waterstone’s Booksellers, and served as general manager of Book Soup, in West Hollywood, Calif., before joining Vroman’s in 2004 as its general manager. She was made v-p and COO of the bookstore in 2007, and named its president and CEO in 2013. She is the former treasurer and v-p of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association, which will dissolve next year as California booksellers work to create a singular association, and is a former member of ABA’s Booksellers Advisory Council. Vroman's was the recipient of Publishers Weekly’s Bookstore of the Year Award in 2008, while Hill was COO.
"I can’t think of a better opportunity to exercise my passion for books, bookstores, and changing the world through business than as the CEO of ABA," Hill said in a statement. "Bookselling has always been a dream job for me, and now I’m trading one dream job for another: the opportunity to re-energize the conversation for our industry and initiate changes that are necessary for us to create a sustainable model. This is a challenging era for booksellers, one that requires new thinking and new partnerships. It’s an exciting time and I am honored and excited to take on this new role."
ABA president Jamie Fiocco noted: “Allison has a long and successful history within the bookselling and publishing world, and ABA could not be more delighted that she will be taking on this new role.”
ABA has also named Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, ABA’s senior program officer, the association’s new COO, effective November 1. Dallanegra-Sanger has served as ABA’s senior programming officer since 2011, leading the charge on initiatives including Children’s Institute, Indies Introduce, and ABA’s indie bookselling pre-order campaign. Until Hill assumes her duties in March Dallanegra-Sanger will oversee the organization.
“I look forward to a strong partnership with Allison and continuing my commitment to strengthening the position of independent bookstores in the retail marketplace,” Dallanegra-Sanger said in a statement.
On the show floor at this week's Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association conference, where Teicher is currently in attendance, news of the choice spread quickly. In response to the news, Valerie Koehler, of the Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, noted that she first met Allison Hill at the first Winter Institute in Long Beach, Calif., in 2006, when they were on a panel about sidelines with Lance Fensterman. She has confidence in the choice.
"I think Allison is going to be a wonderful addition," Koehler said. "I look forward to seeing how she makes it her own job, because every leader needs to make their own job. Allison will definitely bring a bookseller's perspective to this job directly."