Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join
News : News

Rep of the Year Award Renamed to Honor Kristin Keith

Wednesday, January 4, 2017   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Eileen Dengler
Share |

NAIBA to Rechristen Sales Rep of the Year Award to Honor Kristin Keith

The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association will rename the William Helmuth Sales Rep of the Year award to the Kristin Keith Sales Rep of the Year award.

The award was first given to Bev Chaney in 1987, and named after the beloved William Helmuth of Book Travelers. At the inception, NAIBA wanted to recognize the sales rep “who is the sort of person who does their homework all the time, is patient and tolerant of customers and colleagues, who makes mistakes from enthusiasm, then owns up to them.”

In 2013, Kristin Keith won this award for her dedication and enthusiasm for the book industry and book people. In kind, that same industry wants to immortalize her dedication, enthusiasm and heart to a new generation of book people through the renaming of the Sales Rep of the Year award.

In honor of Kristin Keith, starting with the 31st presentation of the annual Sales Rep of the Year award in Cherry Hill, NJ on October 7, 2017, this award will be a tribute to her and forevermore be called the Kristin Keith Sales Rep of the Year award.

Kristin Keith, Gone Too Soon

On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, Kristin Keith, a beloved sales rep in our region, passed away from Myelofibrosis, a rare form of leukemia.

A celebration of her life has been planned for 11am -1pm January 14th at St. Lukes of the Epiphany. Her last earthly gift was to pass her body onto the Humanity Gifts Registry and the University of Pennsylvania Hospital system.

Donations: Be The Match ®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program ®  (NMDP), manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. We work every day to save lives through transplant.

Her sister, Kathryn Runyan, wrote on the final entry in CaringBridge:

A Tribute to my Dear Kristin

Kristin Elaine Keith

July 13, 1971- January 4, 2017

Kristin was strong. Kristin was a force. Kristin was amazing. Kristin is finally in peace.

Kristin Keith passed into peace at home on January 4th, 2017. Her loving wife Catherine, her parents, sisters, and friends surrounded her in her final days and hours.

She was a fearless adventurer who traveled through six continents. Among her many accomplishments was getting a pilot’s license, trekking through New Zealand, eating fire, photographing penguins in Antarctica, and biking from Montreal to Maine. The last 14 years she has shared her adventures with Catherine Hennessy, first married April 4th, 2004 surrounded by family and friends, then again on May 23rd 2014 at City Hall.

Kristin graduated from Lewis and Clark College in 1993 and worked in books for many years. Most recently and for many years, she worked at W.W. Norton Independent publishers selling books up and down the eastern seaboard where she befriended everyone and was voted National Independent Bookseller of the Year in 2013.

Kristin is survived by her beloved wife Catherine Hennessy; parents Thomas and Berthe Keith of Palm Coast Florida; sisters Gwendolyn Keith, Jennifer Keith, and Kathryn Runyan and their families; and countless friends all over the world. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, she has lived in New Zealand, Portland, Oregon, Washington DC area, and for the longest time, in her home Philadelphia.


Kristin served on the NAIBA Board of Directors from 2014 until her medical leave in late 2015. She was also the winner of the 2013 Helmuth Sales Rep of the Year award. She had been at WW Norton most recently, but we all came to know and love her during her earlier years at PGW and Koen Book Distributors.

Tributes are pouring in:

I met Kristin when she took over our territory for PGW.  She always brought high quality chocolates to all of our appointments.  She trained us in her Pavlovian way to always look forward to her visits.  Not that we wouldn’t anyway.  We’re all devastated over here. 
Mark LaFramboise, Politic & Prose

Kristin was known for her radiant smile, her positive attitude and professionalism. Just seeing her for a brief moment at a bookseller gathering would brighten the day immeasurably. Kristin's loss leaves a big gap in the bookselling community, but her loving manner, her laughter, her spirit and that Cheshire Cat smile will live on forever among those of us lucky enough to have known her.  Charlie Young, Scholastic

To read more about Kristin Keith, click here


Penguin Bookshop says...
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2017
Kristin was one of the first reps to visit me after I took ownership of the Penguin Bookshop. She was patient with me, as I was learning the ropes of ordering and navigating Edelweiss! Kristin was kind, smart, funny, and I looked forward to all of her visits. One of the last times I saw her, we were sitting in our back office when the motion-sensored lights went out, leaving us in darkness. She stood up, twirled around and flapped her arms, "just like a Penguin!" and we burst out laughing. All of us here at the Penguin Bookshop will miss her very much. Rest in Peace, Kristin.