Steve Fischer, executive director of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, announced his intent to step down after 11 years at the helm of the regional advocacy group. Fischer joined the 300-member association in 2006 after decades of work at bookstores and publishing houses.

In a letter to the NEIBA board, Fisher wrote, “My work at NEIBA has been the most gratifying of anything I’ve done in my 47 year career. I am in awe of the professionalism, smarts and hard work that our independent booksellers do on behalf of their authors and communities. Without them my work here could never have happened.” Fischer intends to stay on until a search committee locates a successor.

Before taking the helm at NEIBA, Fischer worked at, among other places, the Vermont Book Shop, Harper Row, Barnes Noble, and HarperCollins. At NEIBA, he spearheaded the creation of the All About Books program, an author pitch session for forthcoming titles that regularly drew overflow audiences of booksellers. He also expanded the organization’s annual show and conference, adding new programming.

In a release, board president Laura Cummings of White Birch Books in North Conway, NH, wrote: “While we all wholeheartedly wish Steve well in his upcoming retirement, he leaves very large shoes to fill. His knowledge, energy and experience have been invaluable to the organization and will be sorely missed.”