The two of us in action with a stack of F&Gs and Edelweiss on the screen!
Bookselling in a rural area means many things, and one of them is that I see very few reps in person. Even when I have assigned field reps it is still by phone. From the major houses only one drives all the way up to central Maine to see me: Ellen Pyle of Macmillan. If you assumed that the fact of her making that effort indicated something about her character as a rep you would be right. Ellen is an intrepid and energetic individual, a voluminous communicator, and a tireless, thoroughgoing advocate for both Macmillan and her bookstores. When she crossed the threshold into DDG yesterday I made the move to corral Ellen and lure her into employing the Pyle propensity for strong communication into taking interview form.
Kenny: All right Ellen, the Young Adult novel you wish had been around when you were 12?
Ellen: Rain, Reign! It’s not difficult to read, it’s wonderful to read. Wonderful. It’s so encouraging.
Kenny: A culturally superior alien was looking down her nose at human creative endeavors until you showed her this picture book?
Ellen: The Pout-Pout Fish for its soft encouragement of good behavior in toddlers and aliens.
Kenny: Your favorite fall kids’ book?
Ellen: Oh definitely Vassa in the Night. While it’s a little dark, the writing is so imaginative and superior that you just flow along with the story. I love this book!
Kenny: Your thoughts on the evolving role of reps?
Ellen: Edelweiss has made our job a little more intense, a little more detail-oriented, but it has also allowed us to be better reps because it has forced to think a little more about what we’re saying about the books to our buyers.
Kenny: If you could change one thing in the book industry what would it be?
Ellen: Our relationship to other media. I’m constantly hearing that they’re happy that Independent bookstores are surviving when in fact they are thriving.
Kenny: Biggest mistake children’s buyers make?
Ellen: Allowing personal prejudices to color their purchases.
Kenny: Hmmn. The constant struggle, eh? How about the smartest thing children’s buyers do?
Ellen: Read galleys.
Kenny: Phew! Thanks, Ellen!
Ellen: Thank you!