|Kristin Keith Award for Sales Rep of the Year|
Melissa Grecco of Chronicle Books is this year’s Kristin Keith Sales Rep of the Year.
“Thank you so much for this amazing news – what a wonderful surprise! I love what I do and feel incredibly lucky to work with many of the best bookstores in the world. I truly believe in what booksellers do each day; it’s an honor to play a small role in that work.”
Grecco, Bronx-born, Long Island-raised, has always worked in the book world. In college, she clerked at various Barnes & Noble College stores on Long Island. Her first job out of college was at John Wiley & Sons as an in-house sales coordinator, then Metro NY field rep. She fondly recalls her first sales call with Henry Zook at BookCourt. She joined Chronicle Books in 2013, excited to work on an impressive array of impeccably designed books and gifts.
Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY, wrote about Grecco, “I have had the pleasure of working with Melissa for my entire bookselling career. Melissa quietly does her job, absolutely perfectly, despite the challenges, and always responds to emails immediately (even when she is on vacation overseas). Melissa always arrives at our appointments with a smile on her face, several huge suitcases in tow, and the dexterity to find all of her samples quickly in those giant bags.”
Grecco acknowledges her compulsion to bring too much on the road. Difficult, to say the least, in New York City and Washington, DC, and at other stores where parking is hard to find. With a list so visual, it is worth it to Grecco, and she likes to dazzle booksellers with everything she has to offer.
Rebecca Fitting, co-owner, Greenlight Bookstores, agrees. “Melissa works tirelessly, communicates clearly (never too much, never too little, always about the right things) and looks out for her accounts' best interests. She helps us navigate an enormous list that at times can be overwhelming, focusing on what works for us. Her list spans book and nonbook items, yet she seems able to shift gears seamlessly. She even translates the confusing Moleskine catalog into something that I can understand. She gives us heads-up when stock is running low on key titles. When we have issues with shipping or inventory, Melissa resolves them smoothly. She has a relationship with our booksellers and looks out for their best interests.”
For Grecco, the best part of life as a rep is the sales call. “I consider myself super lucky; I get to travel to different places every day, meet interesting people, talk about products I genuinely love. What more could a person ask for? Answer: Less Traffic. That is definitely the WORST part of rep life!”
Outside of work, Grecco doesn’t slow down. She’s been going to Broadway shows since she was a child, and believes she’s seen more than 1000 performances, and counting, since she continues to go at least once a month. She is also a film buff, balletomane, avid traveler, Anglophile and Japanophile. (Ask her about her first trip to Tokyo this spring.) Fitting for a Chronicle rep and Japanophile, Grecco is a collector of rare Japanese dolls called Blythe, and has a Blythe related tattoo on her neck.
As all booksellers appreciate, and Fitting shared about Grecco, “What is increasingly important to me as a buyer is consistency, reliability, and relevance. When reps have so much on their plates, intense travel schedules, tons of accounts to juggle, consistency and knowing when and what to communicate is the unsung hero and is very hard to maintain. Melissa accomplishes this and it makes our relationship with her, her publishers, and the books and merchandise she represents smooth and strong.”
Please join us as we salute Melissa Grecco at the NAIBA Awards Banquet, Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the Crown Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ.
NAIBA Rechristens Sales Rep of the Year Award to Honor Kristin Keith in 2017
The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association renamed the William Helmuth Sales Rep of the Year award to the Kristin Keith Sales Rep of the Year award in 2017.
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. Sadly, we lost Keith to cancer in 2017. In kind, this 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.