BA unveils priorities to get 'back on track' after Covid-19 disruption

BA unveils priorities to get 'back on track' after Covid-19 disruption

The BA has revealed its plans for getting bookselling "back on track" this year. High on the agenda is promoting a sustainable supply chain and committing to its equality and inclusion group.

Speaking to delegates at the BA's annual conference on 13th September, Andy Rossiter, BA president and proprietor of Rossiter Books, said the organisation had been meeting with publishers and distributors for the past four years to maintain a dialogue about the supply chain. 

The BA intends to keep the conversation around Brexit open and ongoing, particularly addressing the problems posed to Irish booksellers.  "Other topics we are attempting to discuss with distributors include embargoes, greener packaging, and the returns and damages processes," Rossiter said.

"We plainly have challenges now and as we head towards peak with Brexit hitting the supply chain badly with a lack of qualified HGV drivers and lack of seasonal workers to pick stock quite apart from the continued rise in Covid numbers and the faint rumblings in the media in recent days of potential further lockdowns."

Meryl Halls, m.d. of the BA said the organisation would be focusing efforts on it's pre-Christmas social media activity, and campaigning to build a "Shop Early, Shop Local" message into its Bookshop Day, to encourage early festive purchases.

Discussing the work the organisation intends to do in the forthcoming year, she said: "We will be amplifying the work we are doing with out BA equality and inclusion action group. Much of our moving forward is actually us getting back on track, and much of that is entirely in line with what the wider world is telling us. Just as Black Lives Matters reminds us about the importance of diversity and inclusion, so we will be amplifying the work we are doing with our BA equality and inclusion action group — which held its very energetic and engaged second meeting this week — and our work across the industry and across retail."

The BA will also be building a regionalisation programme going into 2022, where it will create a number of new regional groupings for BA members, creating events and member gatherings. 

"We intend to add Bookselling London, Bookselling North, Bookselling South West, Bookselling South East, and Bookselling Midlands to our roster – alongside our other new member groupings", she said.

Touching on a greener supply chain initiative, she commented: "We have been working with a decarbonisation consultancy, who has worked with Blackwell's extensively, and we will shortly be formally reconvening our green bookselling taskforce and the launch of a BA member carbon calculator and offset project, in conjunction with BeZero. We are also working with the British Retail Consortium on its climate roadmap for retail, and with the Independent Publishers Guild and the PA on measuring the impact of books and book miles on the environment.

"Our supply chain working party has reconvened and reiterated its remit to improve the supply chain for bookselling. We are working across the industry with publishers and distributors to improve awareness and efficiency – particularly acutely required in the Irish market for our Irish members, who have been reeling from the twin impacts of Covid and Brexit, and who are only now really starting to recover," she said.