One of the major decisions anyone opening a bookstore needs to make is which book distributor to use. I am sure there are some very logical criteria that many potential bookseller's use to make this selection, but I most definitely did not use any of them. No, I made my decision on a very emotional basis, may I say, actually, on more of a whim.
The first reason I considered using Baker and Taylor was the interest shown by Dianne Chrismer, from the Mountain and Plains States territory, in Paragraphs. Last February, when a story appeared in Shelf Awareness, I received an email from Dianne offering to explain what services B&T could offer and she seemed genuinely interested in my plans and was willing to help me with any of my questions or concerns. The fact that her office is located about 5 blocks from my Denver address certainly didn't hurt. But, this is still not what caused me to make the final decision.
Most of the evaluation of any vendor, begins with a review of their website. After I received Dianne's email, I went to the B&T website and learned that the company had adopted as mascots a couple of library cats. Now, what says bookseller more than the image of a couple of independent felines curled up in some sunny spot or secluded corner. From the B&T website, here is what sold me on using them as my primary book supplier:
"Baker & Taylor"
There is a long tradition of cats living in libraries, probably going back to the ancient Egyptian library in Alexandria. In the 19th Century, the British government paid libraries to keep cats, because they kept rodents from eating the glue and binding off of books. Nowadays, cats still like libraries as nice warm places with plenty of nooks and crannies. And, libraries like to have cats around while librarians do their work.
Although both are gone now, 'Baker' and 'Taylor' were the pride of the Douglas County Public Library in Minden, Nevada. Baker joined the library staff in 1983, much to the delight of patrons and the despair of would-be rodents. Taylor's position was created two month later through a grant from Baker & Taylor, Inc. Together they carried on the long tradition of working library cats.
Baker and Taylor spent much of their time at the checkout counter where they restored disorder to overly quiet afternoons. The library saw a constant parade of people who dropped by from great distances just to see the cats.
Baker and Taylor claim a pedigree of the Scottish Fold persuasion, which is known for distinctive turned-down ears, gentleness, and abundant personality. Characteristics include a thick, short coat, broad cheeks, powerful build, massive round head, and well-rounded whisker pads.
In 1988, Baker and Taylor became the official mascots of Baker & Taylor, Inc. The pair have been immortalized on posters, tote bags, calendars, note cards, and other materials that we continue to distribute at trade shows and press events.Now how could anyone use any other book distributor? It doesn't hurt to have such helpful people, like Dianne and David to work with, but to tell you the truth, it was the cats that sold me.
Until their passing in the mid 1990's, Baker and Taylor provided great joy and entertainment for staff and patrons alike, and continue to represent the strength and excitement of Baker & Taylor, Inc.
photos from pawsonline.com and Wikipedia