Booksellers weigh options regarding future of CBA
Members of the Canadian Booksellers Association are being asked to decide on the future direction of the association at its upcoming annual general meeting, scheduled for Oct. 18 in Toronto.
In recent weeks the CBA has held conference calls asking for feedback from members on where they would like to see the association headed. The CBA board is using that input to “present clear and informed options for the membership to vote on” at the AGM, says vice-president Christopher Smith, co-founder of Collected Works in Ottawa.
“We feel it’s crucial for the CBA in some form to continue to exist and for booksellers to have a national voice,” Smith says. “It’s just a question of how that’s going to look.”
Smith would not elaborate on what specific options are being considered, though members who sat in on the conference calls say they’re being presented with two clear alternatives: either the CBA is dissolved completely or it gets absorbed by the Retail Council of Canada. (The CBA joined the RCC as a “partner association” several years ago.)
Susan Chamberlain, owner of The Book Keeper in Sarnia, Ontario, says she would like a third option to be considered, one that would allow the CBA to remain active as an independent association.
“You’d really like to see a strong CBA and try to bring back the membership we’ve lost over the years,” she says.
Still, Chamberlain admits that being absorbed into the RCC could be the best-case scenario for CBA members. “Certainly, I think our biggest fear is losing the bookseller voice,” she says.
One thing that won’t be addressed at the AGM is the makeup of the CBA board. “Because we need to address the future of the CBA first, we need to get those issues out of way before we can elect a new board,” Smith says.
The AGM will take place at the CBA’s Toronto offices. Members who cannot attend the meeting in person will be able to vote on proposals by proxy.