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ABA Reorganizes to Reflect New Bookselling Realities
Jim Milliot -- 6/29/98
In keeping with the objectives outlined in its strategic plan, the American Booksellers Association is in the process of reorganizing its professional staff located at ABA headquarters in Tarrytown, N.Y. The restructuring began with the decision to stop publishing the association's monthly magazine in favor of creating an information unit whose goal will be to provide its members with information as fast as possible. Dan Cullen, former editor of American Bookseller, was named to head the information group.
Two other groups have also been formed. The communications unit will be led by ABA director of communications Len Vlahos, and the ABA is searching for a person to head up its third group, marketing, said ABA chief operating officer Oren Teicher.

The ABA reorganization has also resulted in some significant changes in some of its programs. Its traditional booksellers school education program is being modified to work more with existing stores and in close relationship with regional associations. Willard Dickerson, head of the education program, will now work on a part-time basis and is expected to give five or six educational programs at this fall's regional meetings. The ABA is not planning to hold any prospective booksellers schools this year because, according to Teicher, "demand is way off." He d s expect the ABA to develop a new educational model for would-be booksellers.

The shrinking number of independent booksellers was also the reason behind the reorganization of the ABA's membership committee. Committee head Kathie Speer has left the association, and the group's tasks have been divided into two functions-administrative (such as sending out dues notices) and marketing. Teicher said that with a high renewal rate among its members and fewer people interested in becoming booksellers, the ABA will focus more on promoting the value of the association to its members.

Teicher estimated that although some positions are being eliminated, when the restructuring is completed the headquarters staff will remain at about 50 people.

Chains Get Extension

As expected, both Barnes &Noble and Borders Group asked for a 30-day extension to reply to the charges made by the ABA in its lawsuit against the two chains. The new deadline is mid-July.
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