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Introducing The Association Advisory Council

Sunday, April 15, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian O'Leary

At BISG, we use the term “supply chain” a good deal. We want to be considered the primary resource for solving problems that affect two or more parts of the supply chain. We have a supply chain committee, and we’re currently fielding a “state of the supply chain”survey, ahead of an annual meeting that will offer three supply-chain panel discussions.


But what is a supply chain?


One formal definition of a supply chain describes it as the “system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service” from suppliers to customers. In publishing, that would include authors, agents, publishers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors, retailers, libraries, service providers, and possibly more.


I’ve written before that BISG works to solve problems at the places where different parts of the supply chain intersect. Metadata provides an easy example, as do rights and identifiers. Our work has helped create a more standard way to label cartons, an undertaking that might seem less than momentous until you count how many cartons are filled with books in any given week.


BISG membership includes representatives from almost all of those different types of organizations. Having multiple and different voices is critical to our mission. That’s why we’ve made “building community” one of our four primary objectives. But membership doesn’t include all of those constituents, most notably authors and agents.


That’s one of the reasons we created the Association Advisory Council (AAC) last fall. Led by Angela Bole, who oversees the Independent Book Publishers Association, the AAC each quarter convenes a robust list of more than 20 associations who serve some part of the book industry supply chain.


A meeting that Oren Teicher (American Booksellers Association) and Tom Allen (then with the Association of American Publishers) convened in 2016 inspired the AAC. Looking for ways to improve communication across organizations that represent the book industry, Oren organized and Tom hosted a meeting to introduce our organizations to one another.


The meetings had been held before, but the gaps were measured in years, the idea falling victim to everyone’s busy schedules. When BISG changed its bylaws last August, we saw that continuing the work that Oren and Tom had started would help us broaden our ability to understand the entire supply chain.


The AAC is open to all organizations serving a component of the book industry. Many are small, and resources are tight everywhere. So, we decided that participation in this meeting is open to all, independent of membership.


The AAC has met twice virtually, and its first in-person gathering takes place the morning of April 26, a day ahead of BISG’s annual meeting. Angela hopes that about half of the future meetings will take place in person, offering us a chance to both exchange information and get to better know each other and the organizations we represent.


This is just one of the things that BISG does to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the book industry supply chain, but we feel it’s an important initiative. We look forward to reporting both ideas and progress coming out of the AAC, and we hope you can share your own ideas about where else BISG can organize to help advance our industry.


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