BISG Members Approve FY2021 Budget, Board Candidates
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Posted by: Brian O'Leary
With the in-person annual meeting postponed to September 11, BISG members gathered virtually on April 24 to learn about the current state of the organization, approve the proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, and vote for seven candidates for BISG board seats, also starting July 1.
After BISG board chair Andrew Savikas called the meeting to order, executive director Brian O'Leary provided an overview of the past year. He noted that membership continues to grow, although at a slower pace than the past three years. The organization's content plan in 2019 delivered value through 22 webinars, five two-hour programs, and two full-day events. In February, BISG hosted EDItEUR executive director Graham Bell for seven ONIX workshops held in New York, Minneapolis, and Chicago.
BISG committees meet monthly, with more than 400 registered members drawn from almost all member companies. O'Leary talked briefly about a being part of a two-year grant from the Mellon Foundation to develop a data trust for tracking and reporting on open-access ebook data, then described how BISG's Association Advisory Council has brought together more than two dozen book industry associations to discuss topics of mutual interest.
In presenting the BISG budget for the coming fiscal year, O'Leary shared historic (audited) income statements for fiscal years ending June 30 2017, 2018, and 2019, as well as a projection through June 30, 2020. He noted that FY2020 represents the fourth consecutive year of positive contributions, something O'Leary described as "getting things done while living within our resources."
In presenting the budget for the coming fiscal year, O'Leary pointed to more conservative assumptions about membership revenue in the wake of the pandemic. Non-dues revenues and costs of goods sold are expected to increase as a function of the Mellon grant and a second annual meeting in a single fiscal year. Budgeted net income for FY2021 is expected to be about $28,000, about half of the average of the four preceding years.
Before Andrew Savikas called for a vote on the budget, O'Leary provided an overview of BISG balance sheets from June 30, 2017 to the end of March 2020. He noted that cash on hand was healthy, an important consideration in the current climate. BISG continues to maintain a conservative profile with respect to accounts payable. O'Leary added that the last four years of financial health had improved total equity from a deficit to a positive $75K at the end of FY2019 and a positive $145K at the end of March 2020. He characterized that improvement as "good financial progress."
After a brief discussion about staffing, the membership unanimously approved the budget as proposed.
O'Leary then presented a recommended slate of seven members to serve on the BISG board for two-year terms starting July 1, 2020. Four current board members were nominated for a second term:
- Andrea Fleck-Nisbet, HarperCollins
- Kathleen Reid, Elsevier
- Michael Shea, LSC Communications
- Kelvin Watson, Broward County Libraries
Three other members were nominated for their first term on the board:
- Joshua Boisvert, ReaderLink
- Allen Johnson, Baker & Taylor
- Joshua Tallent, Firebrand Technologies
O'Leary explained that the seats are segment-specific, with designated seats for members drawn from publishing, manufacturing, distribution, retailing, libraries, and industry service partners. Unless elected chair of the BISG board, members serve a maximum of two consecutive two-year terms.
The slate was recommended by a nominating committee that consisted of four former members of the BISG board (Graham Bell, EDItEUR; Angela Bole, IBPA; Ken Brooks, John Wiley & Sons; and Leslie Hulse, HarperCollins) and a current member of BISG (Kris Kliemann, Kliemann & Company). The nominating committee is charged with reviewing all applications, evaluating candidate experience and skills, and recommending a slate whose members best fit BISG board needs.
The membership unanimously approved the slate as presented. O'Leary noted that incoming members would participate in orientation sessions before their terms begin.
Before closing the meeting, Savikas recognized four outgoing members of the BISG board:
- Dennis Abboud, Jr. (ReaderLink), who has represented the retailing segment the past two years, serving as BISG treasurer this year
- Beat Barblan (Bowker), whose service covers much of the past decade, is leaving a role representing the industry partner segment. Barblan currently serves as an office on the boards of the International ISBN Agency and EDItEUR.
- Malati Chavali (Macmillan) joined the BOSG board in 2018, over the past two years helping the board understand the needs of trade publishers in an evolving environment
- Sam Dempsey (Baker & Taylor) has been a member of the board for six years, contributing an important voice on metadata as well as governance changes implemented in 2017.
Savikas noted that BISG will thank each of these members at the next in-person meeting of the membership, currently scheduled (with a bit of hope) for September 11.
The gathering represents the first business meeting conducted using Zoom, a platform BISG has relied on since 2017 for most committee calls. It follows an April 9 Zoom-based update on the impact of the pandemic on the book industry supply, led by members of the BISG board. About two-thirds of BISG programming and all committee calls have been virtual the last 3-1/2 years, and the organization is considering options if calls for social distancing persist into the fall.