Thursday, January 29, 2009

Domnitz To Step Down from ABA

By Jim Milliot and Edward Nawotka -- Publishers Weekly, 1/15/2009 1:30:00 PM

In a letter sent out this afternoon, Gayle Shanks, owner of Changing Hands Bookstore and president of the ABA, informed the membership that ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz will leave the association in July. Domnitz’s contract expires this month, but Shanks told PW that the association asked him to stay on to give them a chance to find a replacement “in a conscientious and timely way.” Domnitz has led ABA since 1997 when he succeeded Bernie Rath.

In her letter and comments to PW, Shanks said she believes Domnitz’s most important accomplishment during his tenure has been improving the communication between the ABA staff and the membership. By facilitating interaction among all types of booksellers, Domnitz helped “ABA become a cohesive group looking to continue independent bookselling in this country,” Shanks said.

Under Domnitz, ABA placed more emphasis on its educational programs, made the transition from its Book Sense marketing campaign to the new IndieBound and filed an antitrust lawsuit against Barnes & Noble and Borders that was settled in 2001. The association also sold its headquarters and property in Tarrytown, N.Y. and moved to smaller offices. Domnitz’s legacy, Shanks said, “will be strong booksellers who are well educated and have a desire to maintain their bookstores in their community on into the future.”

The ABA has formed a CEO Search Committee to find a successor to Domnitz. Shanks will chair the committee, and other members will include Michael Tucker from Books Inc. (San Francisco, CA), Steve Bercu from BookPeople (Austin, TX), Linda Ramsdell from The Galaxy Bookshop (Hardwick, VT), Lilla Weinberger from Readers' Books (Sonoma, CA), and Betsy Burton from The King's English (Salt Lake City, UT). ABA legal counsel, Deanne Ottaviano of Arent Fox LLP, will assist in the search. The first meeting of the committee will take place in Salt Lake City during the upcoming Winter Institute.

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