In addition to selling trade, I’m also Cambridge’s medical book specialist for North America. Medical books are a world unto themselves and the challenges are intriguing. Try saying Immunohistochemistry five times in 3 minutes… And the dermatology book covers … phew … it’s enough to send you screaming to the sun block section of the pharmacy … is there such a thing as SPF90? Hypochondria looms large when gazing at my office bookshelves.
A few times a year, I dip below the 49th to visit the neighbours. I see the medical wholesalers, participate in their vendor shows, and generally take the opportunity to meet with those on the frontlines of medical book sales. Thus, last week I was in St. Louis, Missouri, at a 2 day vendor show for the managers of Matthews Book Co. stores. Thirty-five stores were represented at this meeting, from across the mid-west and areas south and north. I’m always fascinated when groups such as this gather … I love to hear the unique accents and regional idioms. I’m something of an oddity for them too– a Canadian selling UK published books to an American audience. They often think I’m an American until “about” gives me away. [I think you mean “aboot.” Or maybe that you’re nicer than we are. -J]
One of the cornerstones of our publishing program is the Stephen Stahl Essential Psychopharmacology collection of titles – and this season, in addition to a new edition of The Prescriber’s Guide, we have a cracker of a new series – Stahl’s Illustrated – which presents complex concepts in a visually colourful, user-friendly method. At the Matthews show, we had the first two of nine projected titles available, and I’m pleased to say, the managers were all pretty excited by them. Stahl has a great reputation and is a proven seller, so these buyers are thrilled to have something new to offer their customers. The show was also a great opportunity to discover what the new trends are in medical books, what customers are asking for and where to focus our future publishing efforts.
For those of you following my periodic weather sightings, it was 75F in St. Louis – somewhat alarming for the first week of March, but for this winter weary northerner a great treat – global warming be damned…
And yes … in my off time, I did take advantage of some retail therapy … my gift to the flailing US economy. It is, after all, the neighbourly thing to do.