The Happiness Continues


Josie Leavitt - January 30, 2012

Friday’s post, A Happy Resolution, had me speaking about a mix-up with The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Well, if I was thunderstruck at how well the customers handled the situation, I was completely blown away by my Scholastic rep’s response.

Friday’s blog post had been live for barely two hours when I got an email from Nikki Mutch, who has been my Scholastic rep for more than a decade. Nikki is the epitome of a great rep. She listens, she lets me read F&Gs without giving away the ending to adorable picture books. Like all good reps, Nikki has gotten to know my store: what we like, what will sell, what we should take a chance on, and what we can safely skip.

The email was quite simple. Nikki had a copy of Hugo in her office and she was going to overnight it to the store so I could give it to the customer who had gotten one that had already been written in. I thought this was extraordinarily lovely and I thanked her profusely for being so thoughtful.

Well, the box was delivered on Saturday. I opened it and found… not only a pristine copy of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. There was also a copy of The Hugo Movie Companion. Oh, wait, there’s more. Nikki also enclosed a copy of Wonderstruck. And if this wasn’t enough, everything came in a very snazzy Wonderstruck bag. Honestly, all that was missing was Brian Selznick himself.

I called the customer and explained what I had just gotten in the mail. She kept saying, “Are you sure?” I kept saying that I was. She was giddy with the riches, and I was giddy to be able to fully right a wrong. It’s these gestures that make me love reps. They work so hard in an ever-changing field.  Just as bookstores are facing huge changes in day to day operations to stay competitive, sales reps are facing similar shifts as well, and they have to listen to us — booksellers who call wondering where their order is, why they can’t get this author to come to their store, etc. It’s a rare day that I call a rep when there isn’t a problem.

Perhaps this is the nature of the beast, but Nikki’s gesture reminded to take a minute and thank all the hard-working reps who make my life go so much more smoothly.

7 thoughts on “The Happiness Continues

  1. Nikki

    Thank YOU!! This was lovely, and you made me cry–in a good, good way. I am honestly just doing what every other Indie book sales rep does, every day. I learned from the best–from my awesome rep colleagues and friends at Scholastic, and from my equally awesome rep friends from other publishers. I will let you in on a secret–even when the situation is dire, *sometimes* we have the magic to fix it just enough to get through it together. Never be afraid to ask us–we will ALWAYS do what we can to help make you shine to your customers! Think of us as your partners in crime;-)

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  2. Carol B. Chittenden

    I’ll second that! One of the dumbest things I ever did (back in the beginning of time) was to take the word of a FORMER bookseller, who said, “I jes’ HATE sales Reips.” (He was from the deep south.)

    Over the years the vast majority of reps have proven their worth time and time and time again — including Nikki, who has just patiently increased my understanding of Edelweiss.

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  3. Barbara

    These are the things one can’t get from e-reading. (Although, I wish Scholastic did offer Mr. Selznick’s books in that format).

    My sister’s ex husband dated a book distributor. We met at one of her kid’s birthday parties, discussed books. This wonderful woman sent my childrent the first 9 books of Lemony Snicket’s series (that’s as far as the series had gone at the time). She was also kind enough to include 4 “adult” books for me. I’ve never forgotten her kindness and generosity.

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