MINUTES OF THE ILAB COMMITTEE MEETING,
ZÜRICH SWITZERLAND, 05 MARCH, 2005
PRESENT: Bob Fleck, President (BF); Michael Steinbach, Vice President (MS); Poul Jan Poulsen, Treasurer (PP); Steven Temple, General Secretary (ST); Paul Feain (PF), Dieter Tausch (DT), Adrian Harrington (AH), and Geog Beran (GB), Committee members; Nevine Marchiset, Executive Secretary (NM); Jelle Samshuijzen, ILAB webmaster (JS); Anton Gerits, ILAB President of Honour (AG).
The meeting was called to order at 9:15 AM by ILAB President Bob Fleck.
Bob Fleck welcomed new Committee members Georg Beran, Adrian Harrington, and Paul Feain.
1. APOLOGIES. Steven Temple reported that apologies had been received from Anthony Rota, Alain Nicholas, and Kay Craddock.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING. As there were no amendments, Paul Feain moved that the minutes of the ILAB Committee meeting in Melbourne, Australia, 06 October, 2004, be approved. PP seconded. Unanimously approved.
3. PRESIDENT’S REPORT. BF read his report (see attached). He also offered his thanks to the new Executive Secretary Nevine Marchiset for her hard work, and she received a round of applause from the Committee. Adrian Harrington moved that the report be accepted, Michael Steinbach seconded, and it was approved unanimously.
4. TREASURER’S REPORT. Poul Poulsen distributed and read his budget overview as of 18 February, 2005, for the fiscal year 01 July, 2004, to 30 June, 2005, as well as his report [see attached]. BF asked if our accounting systems comply with Swiss law, since ILAB has become newly registered in Switzerland. PP and NM will ask our Swiss lawyer Patrick Héritier. After further discussion, Dieter Tausch moved that the report be accepted, Georg Beran seconded, and it was approved unanimously. ACTION PP AND NM.
5. GENERAL SECRETARY’S REPORT. ST read his report [see attached]. PP moved to approve the report, PF seconded, and passed unanimously.
6. WEBSITE. GB read a summary of the 04 March, 2005, internet sub-committee meeting [get from Georg]. NM has sent a report of her investigations to JS [see attached]. She found that about 20% of ILAB booksellers don’t have an e-mail address, and about 50% have their own website. About 15% list books for sale on their own websites only, while 35% list on at least one other database. 460 participate in the ILAB database. It is hoped that at least 200 more can be persuaded to join. JS thinks the suggestion that the fee for participation in the ILAB database be calculated by a percentage of sales instead of a fixed monthly fee would be a mistake and that we would lose subscribers. PF asked how many don’t participate in the ILAB database and was given the answer of about 1100. It was felt that the time to recruit new participants was after the forthcoming redesign of the website.
It was also felt that the website should have its design renewed every two years in order to restructure all the information added as it becomes very cluttered. MS said we need a person who keeps the content fresh, perhaps making changes once a month. GB agreed to do this. NM thinks a more visual approach to each section is needed. PP and AH feel that the main page should remain as simple and as uncluttered as possible while being attractive and on no account should it scroll down, with the search engine prominent but with fewer fields.
JS spoke to the objections received over the cost of the German translation of the website. He said that the translation involves technical work that is not obvious, that you don’t just cut and past translated text, but software must be rewritten. BF thinks the Committee must prepare a letter for the German-speaking associations explaining the costs in more detail. The Committee has already reviewed the costs and thinks they are in order. BF, JS, and GB will work on this letter. BF asked if it can be cheaper to translate into other languages, and JS said it could if fewer pages are translated. Anton Gerits said he has a good contact in China who could do a Chinese translation for us. JS will prepare a quote for the cost. JS is investigating the cost of writing software that would let you search the database only by the language of the book. This would be at no cost to ILAB.
AH thinks the Committee should take the lead to get our ads into book fair catalogues. He thinks we need a standard style of “house” ads in different formats ready to send to national associations for publication in book fair catalogues, and that the designing of these advertisements should strive to build a brand (ILAB) and easy recognition, taking advantage of the sentence: I Love All Books. It was felt that as many ad swaps as possible be made with trade magazines, giving them the choice between an ad in our Newsletter or on our website. MS agreed to supervise the redesign of the ILAB bookmarkers and get about 20,000 reprinted.
JS reported that since working with the ABAA to get their book records on Froogle, sales on the ABAA website have doubled. [note: Froogle is the commercial products only price comparison portion of the search engine Google]. The ABA has now also started getting listed with Froogle. JS will prepare a quote for all ILAB booksellers to be indexed on Froogle. JS indicated that he wants to set up a new database for sellers called “findabook.com”. It would be open to all booksellers, not just ILAB affiliates. Rockingstone’s contract with ILAB prevents him setting up any competing database, so he needs our permission to change the contract. AH and PP said that only the Presidents should make such a decision, and that we should give JS an answer after the next Presidents’ Meeting in Montreal in Sept., 2005. JS then asked our permission to set up an online auction with bidding and consignments from ILAB affiliates only. The Committee gave that permission with one abstention (PP). JS thinks that ILAB needs to be proactive about selling books into the growing market of China. Should ILAB participate in the book fair in Bejing this autumn? He thinks that the European Union and other governments might give some money to support this idea. BF wants to contact Mitsuo Nitta for his ideas about the Chinese market, as well as national embassies and trade organisations. He thinks each Committee member should contact appropriate organisations in his country who might be willing to help. ACTION GB, NM, JS, MS, BF
JS then left the meeting at 11:45 AM and a short recess was called.
7. ILAB ANNOUNCE LIST. After discussion, the Committee unanimously agreed that the ILAB Announce list has become too cluttered with commercial content, and that the list should be split into two – ILAB Announce and ILAB Commercial. PF agreed to see that this is done. ACTION PF
8. PR AND PROMOTION. This discussion was conducted under WEBSITE. MS agreed to take on the PR / Promotion portfolio and this was unanimously approved by the Committee.
9. ID CARDS. All of the ID cards have now been distributed to the national associations, but they may not have distributed them all to their members. Distribution in Germany was stopped because too many had wrong information.
10. LEGAL. The last papers have just been signed enabling ILAB to be registered in Geneva and will immediately be sent to our Swiss lawyer. The Committee unanimously agreed to have NM rent a post office box in Paris that will be the official permanent ILAB mailing address. AH said we should add at the bottom of our letterhead our Swiss registration address (the notary’s address).
STOLEN BOOKS DATABASE. It was felt that when a dealer reports missing books
on the security list, he should systematically be contacted by our security officer who would ask that he add them to the stolen books database. It was noted that in the last 6 months only 6 books have been added to the stolen books database, and that the stolen books database should be made more apparent on our website. The Committee unanimously resolved that a press release about the stolen books database should be written and sent to the national associations, that Paul Feain prepares a proposal to allow select librarians access to the stolen books database, and that that proposal be put on the agenda of the next Presidents’ Meeting. ACTION PF
The meeting was then adjourned for lunch at 1 PM.
12. DIRECTORY. Stuart Lee and Sam Hussein of Publications UK joined the meeting and distributed the first copies of the new ILAB Directory. All the members of the Committee expressed their favourable impression. Mr Lee explained that the whole project took between 8 and 9 months to prepare instead of 4 to 5 months. He agreed that Jelle Samshuijzen should have been more involved and promised to fully involve him for the next edition. Publications UK is very pleased with the sales result of the advertisements, which have been mostly designed by them. They apologized for the behaviour of some of the members of their selling teams and promised to better supervise their attitude in the future. 4,500 copies have been printed and all can be given to ILAB if we wish. Mr Lee suggested a retail price of GBP 49.95, but the Committee thought 20 Euros was a more appropriate retail price. AH pointed out that the alphabetical arrangement in the Index and text body were different and said they should be the same in the next edition. It was agreed that the copies will be sent to at least three locations (one being Great Britain) by Publications UK. Mr Lee will study the possibility of sending them at no cost to ILAB to more than three locations.
Stuart Lee and Sam Hussein left the meeting at 3:00 PM.
The Committee unanimously agreed that each association should be sent about 20% more copies for free to sell or give away as they wish. We are willing to send additional copies on consignment to each national association to be sold for 20 Euros each, with the revenue split between the national association and ILAB. The dealers will be allowed a special discount. All unsold copies will probably be sent to Scott Brinded for storage. AG cautioned us to think about the postage cost of mailing all these heavy directories around.
The Committee felt that we probably need to quit saying that our affiliates are each paying $7.50 per year for the directory. In future we should say that they are free and that the $7.50 is for the cost of the Executive Secretary.
The Committee unanimously approved that affiliates should not mention “appraisals” in the listing of their specialities in the directory, but it would be alright if they said that in their individual advertisements.
AH proposed that our Newsletter be allowed to accept ads from auction houses, at the discretion of our editor. PP seconded this proposal. Motion passed with one objection (DT).
13. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL PRIZE. BF & MS reported that the $10,000 pledge from the
Bromers had nearly been matched, so that we have nearly $20,000 in pledges. It was felt that sponsors from outside ILAB be found. The prize jury will be meeting in mid-June. The monetary amount of the prize is not definitely fixed and will depend on how much money is raised.
14. UNESCO. NM read extracts from a report on becoming a non-government organisation with a UNESCO label. BF, AH, and NM will be meeting on 10 March at UNESCO in Paris with Mr. Guido Carducci, chief of the International Standards Section.
An appointment has also been arranged for Ms Susan Allen, head of the IFLA rare book committee, to also meet that same day at a later hour with Mr. Carducci. A meeting has also arranged in Paris with Ms Susan Allen to talk about possible cooperation between IFLA and ILAB. IFLA is holding a meeting in August 2005 in Scandinavia and have asked whether an ILAB person could make a conference.
15. NEWSLETTER. DT reported that in his opinion, even though the present format may appear to be boring and not much read by the booksellers, he would for now leave it as it is. In consultation with Arnoud and Anton Gerits, he will be making some recommendations for the future at the Presidents’ Meeting in Montreal. ACTION DT.
16. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY. NM distributed a report on her activities since 10 November, 2004. [see attached] [get from Nevine]. Committee e-mails were discussed, and in order to decrease the amount going to all of us, it was unanimously decided that all daily e-mails should be sent to the Executive Secretary and the President, and then the Executive Secretary will daily compile relevant information and dispatch it to Committee members.
17. WORKSHOP IDEAS. As time was running short, it was decided to postpone discussion of this topic until later.
18. GETTING NEW ILAB BOOKSELLERS. DT said he would be making a concrete proposal at the Montreal Presidents’ Meeting. This could also be a Workshop topic. ACTION DT.
19. MEMBER OF HONOUR RULE CHANGE. ST moved that a change be made to rule 1.4 of our Internal Regulations. Seconded by AH. The Committee unanimously approved to put on the Agenda of the next Presidents' Meeting a proposal to change rule 1.4 of the Internal Regulations, by keeping the first sentence only and deleting the rest of the paragraph. It would therefore read: "Only those who have rendered continual and exceptional services to the League may be appointed for honorary titles."
20. FUTURE MEETINGS. A possible Committee meeting in Rio de Janeiro in the spring of 2006 was discussed. It was decided that we would go only if the Brazilian President makes a very concrete proposal that would include meeting with a sufficient number of South American booksellers interested in forming national associations. The next Presidents’ Meeting will be in Montreal, either 19-24 September or 20-25 September, 2005.
21. OTHER BUSINESS. The Committee unanimously approved to reimburse the travel expenses of the Executive Secretary for this meeting. There being no other business for discussion, the Committee unanimously voted to adjourn.
The Meeting was adjourned at 5:00 PM
Respectfully submitted by Steven Temple, General Secretary.