Jennifer Bigelow, who has helmed the Southern California Assn. of Independent Booksellers for 13 years, has announced she is leaving the organization. Known as SCIBA, the nonprofit trade organization represents independent bookstores and other publishing professionals in Southern California and Southern Nevada.
Each fall, SCIBA presents a trade show and authors dinner in conjunction with its literary awards. This year, the event was held at the Queen Mary.
A report in industry newsletter Shelf Awareness says that Bigelow's move is effective Dec. 31, but she tells Jacket Copy that she plans to take the balance of the year off.
SCIBA board president Mary Williams of Skylight Books thanked Bigelow for her service in a message to Shelf Awareness, saying, "Her work has built SCIBA into the organization it is today, and has raised the profile of Southern California's literary community nationwide. Her imprint on Southern California bookselling will never be forgotten, and we wish her the very best. On a personal note, it has been an absolute pleasure working with her as a member of the SCIBA board for these past two years, and I will greatly miss her insights and guidance as we move forward."
Taking on the responsibilities of leading SCIBA in 1999 means that Bigelow has seen many major upheavals in bookselling: the looming and diminishing threat of big-box bookstores, Amazon bringing online bookselling into the mainstream, and the advent of e-books.
Who will be the one to tackle the last, and perhaps most significant challenge? Bigelow tells Jacket Copy she doesn't know who may succeed her.
"What I do know is that SCIBA's Board of Directors is full of smart, professional booksellers and publishers reps," she wrote in an email. "I imagine they will take a good look at our changing industry and find an individual who is not only more than capable of doing the work now but in looking forward to the future. SCIBA has always kept itself open-minded and nimble."
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