John Eklund is one of our favorite fellow sales reps, a fellow midwesterner based in Milwaukee, book lover and bookstore lover. He's a sales rep for three great academic presses: Harvard, Yale and MIT Press. Like so many of us book travelers, he's a former bookstore employee too.
Last week, we all learned that he's one of four finalists for Publishers Weekly's annual Sales Rep of the Year.
I grinned wildly when I saw his name on the list because, with absolutely no disrespect intended to his co-finalists, he's a hell of a sales rep. Like all the Academy Awards nominees always say, they share the honor of simply being nominated with a group of amazing colleagues and there's not a bad one in the bunch.
But as this Harvard University Press blog post pointed out, in addition to holding down his sales rep duties with a careful intelligence, John thinks deeply about the book business and writes about it sincerely and passionately. You owe it to yourself to follow his writings at Paper Over Board.
Another of the finalists for Sales Rep of the Year is Bridget Piekarz, one of the Random House reps based in Chicago, and she is another formidable colleague with a passion for sharing her publishers' new books to the booksellers here in the midwest.
Whichever sales rep is chosen in the end to be this year's Sales Rep of the Year, we are glad that John and Bridget and Doni and Rick have been lifted up and recognized in this way.