Our very own Vic Zoschak Jr. has been recently announced to be the new Vice President of the prestigious Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (the ABAA). We pick his brains about the new role (and how he is to be bribed when in said position…) below!
So we are looking at the new Vice President of the Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association of America! How does it feel? Are you nervous?
Well, not quite so fast Ms P… I’m nominated. Which means that the membership has yet to vote me in as VEEP. However, should they do me the honor of doing so, I confess, I’m a bit humbled by their expressed trust in me to act on their behalf, as well as pleased at the opportunity to continue to serve. And yes, I also confess, I’m a bit nervous, for the VP job is a bit more direct responsibility for the health & welfare of the Association from that I’ve assumed in the past as a chapter representative to the national Board of Governors, or as a chapter officer.
Level with us, V… have you ever dreamed about the day you’d be Vice President and then President of the ABAA?
Ha! Only recently. I threw my hat in the ring for the VP position, and it was “picked up”. I can only say again, I’m honored by the selection.
What is the most important charge you would be tasked with in the new role?
Well, that somewhat depends on the incoming President, Mary Gilliam. I am at her service for the 2 years of her term, and whatever she designates as “most important” will be it.
You are no stranger to a leadership role within the bookselling community… you are currently Vice Chair of the Northern California Chapter of the ABAA. What drew you to be Vice of the NCC and was that your first official role in the bookselling community?
As I recall, yes, my first ‘official’ ABAA position was Vice Chair of the Northern California Chapter of the ABAA. The ABAA is a smallish organization, and much of its administration is accomplished by member volunteers. Without those volunteers, it’s my opinion the Association would grind to a halt. Anyway, having found my ‘peeps’, I wanted to give back what I could. That belief hasn’t changed, and I volunteered for this coming VP position with the same thought… to give back to the ABAA, in a small fashion, for all it’s given me these last 20 some-odd years.
That’s right, V, you’ve been a professional bookseller for… how long now? What’s your favorite part about it?
Actually, I’m coming up on 3 decades… started in 1989, so 2016 celebrates 27 years in the trade. But that quibble aside, two aspects of the trade I find compelling & keeping me involved… one is the challenge. It’s difficult to make a living in this business, but it can be done. I enjoy that challenge… usually. There have been anxious moments, I will admit! lol… and second, I came to the antiquarian book trade from a 27 year career in the US military, but here in the book world “I found my peeps”. In other words, people that understood my fascination with books. I’ve found that the trade acts like an extended family. And who doesn’t want to be part of a family?
What are you currently planning on focusing your energies on during your “reign” (taking it a bit far? oh well!)?
The ABAA has had a slightly declining membership for the last few years, so I will recommend we, the Association, focus on reaching out to qualified booksellers, and convince them that membership in the ABAA would be mutually beneficially. In my opinion, the ABAA’s continued viability rests on a vibrant membership, which means a constant, if not increasing, number to the member roles.
Let’s not forget the most important question of all… can you be bribed with a good bottle of Bourbon?