I am a publishers’ representative. Sounds fancy right? Basically, I am a professional stalker (too bad my ninja-shot skills aren’t handy in this job). I visit my schools and talk to professors to get them to adopt our books for their classes. The professors then agree because I am so charming and our books are so wonderful. After that love fest takes place, the professors tell their bookstores they want our books and the bookstore orders them. Easy? Not so much. Bookstores and professors are sneaky these days. For the most part I’m lucky and the profs and bookstore managers in my territory are good country folk who welcome me with open arms. This is due to a few things.
1. They don’t always realize I am a representative. I look like a student and I carry a bookbag. My youth comes in handy for this job.
2. I’m new and they like new people. Profs like to teach me and bookstore managers try to school me in their ways.
3. The NEPA area is just a nice area full of nice people. NY would be a bit scarier.
How are they sneaky, you ask? You see, the textbook market is changing these days my friends. Bookstores order more used books because their profit margin is higher and they order less books overall because students are buying their books elsewhere. Ah, I remember those days. The stress of hunting down the cheapest price and the excitement in finding your $100 lit anthology for $10 on Amazon. Score! But now that I’m a rep I need those kiddies to stop that hunting! Why hunt when the bookstore has it right there for you on the shelf? Mad expensive, you say. Ah, but I have value packages to offer you and your prof!
And here is the next tricky part. I get the prof to agree to said value package but the bookstore tells them it’s not possible. See, bookstores lie. They tell profs that they aren’t allowed to do packages or that they won’t stock loose-leaf texts. It’s all a lie. So part of my job is educating profs while keeping bookstore managers on my side.
Sneaky bookstores!—bookstores don’t always order their books through the publishing company. I have no idea where they get them from but I can’t stand finding our books on the shelves and not seeing it in my sales report. Where’s my money bitches!
So those are all the things that happen if I actually get the prof to agree to our books. Sometimes the profs tell me they will order our book and then they don’t. They tell it to every rep. You just hope you’re the rep that they’re actually telling the truth to.
And then sometimes the profs hide from you. No lie. I go on to campus every day excited that I get to play hide-and-seek. That’s where my stalker skills come into play. Not going to be in your office right when your office hours starts? That’s okay, I brought a snack. Going to do your office hours in the cafeteria today? Fine by me, I have it marked off on the map. Trying to pretend like you have another meeting to get to? Great, I’ve lost some weight from all this walking so I’ll just walk with you!
So that’s my job in a giant nutshell that only the fat squirrel can carry. There are some other fun bits, like hosting a book/tech fair (more on that later, got my first one November 8!) and navigating the campuses for the first time and going to conferences, but that’s the everyday in and out mush.