In a teleconferenced meeting on Wednesday, November 11, the executive committee of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) approved a position paper on the buyout of Ingram by Barnes &Noble, voting "as an association" to issue an invitation to B&N chairman Leonard Riggio "to meet with the ECPA board of directors and/or executive committee as soon as possible."

Just two weeks ago, at its annual fall seminar, the ECPA and its board used strong language with Ingram officials to protest some of the distributor's business practices and concomitant problems with the deployment of member houses' product (News, Nov. 16). Most of the difficulties have centered on Ingram's Michigan-based Spring Arbor division, the country's largest distributor of religion books, which was acquired almost two years ago by Ingram and has suffered unremitting problems ever since.

Through its fall seminar actions, the ECPA became the first publishers' association to challenge Ingram's business and distribution methods in an official session. With its executive committee action, ECPA became the first to directly address the new ownership and to offer it an olive branch. "You can't own the world's largest book distributor and have as your goal the destruction of your primary customer base," noted Doug Ross, ECPA president and CEO. "We want to take a deep breath and see what God has in store."