5 Myths about Working with Publisher Reps


We've all been there. The sales person that would not take the hint. The pitch that wouldn't end. Just recently, I got roped into a vacuum demonstration by a friend. Oh, the sharp bite of betrayal! And too often, that's also what meeting with a publisher rep sounds like: a door-to-door salesman peddling questionable merchandise to a captive audience for a quick buck.

So, we'd like to debunk some of those myths and address some of those misconceptions.

Myth #1: Pub Reps Are Aggressive Salespeople

Some of this comes from simply not understanding what a publisher rep is (it's not exactly something they cover in library school), so here it goes:

A lot of publishers don't hire a sales staff, so they commission the work out to representatives. The publisher's representative is a direct link between you and the publisher. This means that we have access to deals and incentives that distributors do not have. We have access to a lot of information, actually, and we love to share it.

The majority of reps I've met don't even have a background in sales. A lot of us started out as teachers or librarians who wanted out of the school or library but didn't want to leave the industry. As a result, we're not usually the stereotypical salespeople. Usually, we're far more interested in the distribution of information. We're here to tell you what's new, what's hot, what the trends are, and how to get you there too.

Myth #2: Pub Reps Don't Save You Any Time or Money

This is a big one. There's this misconception out there that ordering directly from publishers is a hassle. Most reps sell for more than one publisher, so odds are we offer all that you're looking for, but usually this means a different transaction for each publisher, leading to a reputation of pub reps being difficult and cumbersome. In reality, though, we can work around this or any other problem you need us to. Our goal is to make things as easy as possible for you.

We'll even do your homework for you, if you'd like. If you need space books for 4th-5th graders, we can send you a quoted list of books that meet that description. We're happy to meet with you as often as you need us to in order to make a selection or brainstorm creative new ways to incorporate eBooks, makerspaces, or whatever into your collection.