BISG Concludes Its Virtual Annual Meeting
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Posted by: Brian O'Leary
On Friday, September 11, BISG hosted two online events that completed its seven-part, virtual presentation of its postponed annual meeting. In the first, David Cully, Janet McCarthy Grimm, and Rachel Comerford were honored with industry awards that recognized their service to the book publishing industry. That celebration was followed by an hour-long keynote conversation with James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble. Generous support for both sessions was provided by Bowker, a division of ProQuest.
David Cully received the Sally Dedecker Award for Lifetime Service. Named for one of BISG’s longtime volunteers and advocates, the award recognizes the tireless and persistent efforts, often unseen, of an individual working on behalf of the book industry. Cully’s award was co-presented by long-time colleague Joe Gonnella, as well as Amandeep Kochar, Executive Vice President & General Manager at Baker & Taylor, and Oren Teicher, the recently retired CEO of the American Book Association.
Janet McCarthy Grimm was recognized with the Industry Champion Award, honoring an individual whose efforts have advanced the publishing industry as a whole. Her work on behalf of book publishing includes service on the boards of the Book Manufacturers Institute, the Book Industry Guild of New York, Poets & Writers, and BISG, as well as volunteer service in many other organizations. BISG executive director Brian O'Leary presented the award.
Rachel Comerford received the Industry Innovator Award, which recognizes an organization or individual who boldly reimagines what publishing is and can be. Over the past several years, Comerford’s team at Macmillan Learning revamped workflows to reliably deliver accessible learning materials. In 2019, Benetech named Macmillan Learning its first Global Certified Accessible Publisher. Dave Cramer (Hachette Book Group) presented the award.
Introducing the awards celebration, BISG Board chair Andrew Savikas said, "BISG created these awards almost a decade ago as a way to spotlight service, advocacy, and innovation across the book industry supply chain. Then, as now, we believed that our industry’s infrastructure depended on the work of a dedicated group of people, often working in the background, who saw challenges and solved them, and saw opportunities and capitalized on them."
The awards celebration was followed by a one-hour keynote conversation with Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt. The webinar drew the most registrants and the highest attendance of any online session offered to date by BISG. During the hour, Daunt offered an overview of B&N's activities during the pandemic, described ongoing plans to place responsibility for store operations more clearly at the local level, and provided a perspective on what the book publishing industry could do to help bricks-and-mortar retailers. In the closing segment, Daunt answered a selection of questions drawn from more than 40 submissions posed by those attending.
Reflecting on the conversation, BISG board chair Andrew Savikas noted, "Clearly, B&N is in the middle of a process that will continue for some time. As the supply-chain organization for the book business, BISG stands ready to support Barnes & Noble, particularly in areas like standards and best practices." With a bit of humor, Savikas added, "James Daunt has also given Brian still more to think about, and that’s always a good thing."
Programming for the Annual Meeting serves BISG’s audience of traditional and digital publishers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors, service and technology partners, bricks-and-mortar and online retailers, local and regional library systems, trade associations, consultancies, and entrepreneurs. With the pandemic, this year's meeting was presented virtually, with all seven sessions recorded and made available on the BISG web site. Generous support for the virtual annual meeting was provided by Bowker. The next annual meeting is currently scheduled to take place in New York on April 23, 2021.