Meet Your Fellow Penguins!!

By Caroline O'Connor | August 28 2019 | AdultsChildren'sGeneralAllGift

This series highlights success stories, tips and tricks, and more from our Penguin Random House reps across the country. Meet Linda Parrent, our PRH rep in San Francisco, nominated this month!! Below she delves into her history as a rep, some really great advice for new reps, her favorite PRH titles, and more!



What is your favorite genre and/or book(s)?

I love to sell gift books that have words! To prove to my customers that even books with words sell really well. For instance, Gift From the Sea, If I Live to Be 100, Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teens, Women Know Everything, Love Poems for Married People — and looking forward to Love Poems for People with Children.


How many dogs do you have and what is their favorite book? 

Always two and frequently four. (Co-parent when my ex travels). Their favorite books are; Jeannie – Who’s On First. Jeannie thought this book was delicious–until I discovered her “reading” it. (See photo). Maxine – Crafting with Cat Hair.


What are you currently reading?

Admittedly, I SELL a lot more books than I read… (that desire to make a living has definitely put a dent into the voracious reading that I did as a kid). Working on both People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (a popular choice (and one of Caroline’s FAVORITES!!) ).


How long have you been a rep?

Coming up on thirty years.


What are your go-to books for an easy sell-in?

Highly customer dependent. Often lead with This is San Francisco, A is for Activist, Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You, How to Love, Great Ideas:Where I Lived What I Live For (Thoreau), An Avocado a Day, Uni the Unicorn (Board).


What tip would you offer to a new rep?

If possible, familiarize yourself with the customer ahead of time. Certainly in the first appointment (but really in ALL appointments) it is much more important to listen than it is to talk. Ask leading questions, listen to the answers and match your knowledge of the line to what will work best for that customer.


What is your favorite resource to use while selling?

I always use your printed catalogs. (Try to post-it-note/highlight ahead of time). I use our Stephen Young bestseller lists that we have turned into Edelweiss sell sheets. Also, PRH sell sheets. Definitely, bring some samples. Customer’s Order History.


How do you prepare for account meetings?

I run reports going back a year both in QTY order and in Alpha order. I print the reports. Look them over and highlight them for bestselling titles. Take them with me to the appointment. This helps me know what samples to bring with me and what titles to concentrate on from the catalogs and samples that I bring. With some customers I may go to their store ahead of time and take an inventory (using my ipad and scanner). I will show up at their appointment with a suggested order already prepared so that back list titles are already covered and we can concentrate on front list.


How do you make sure to get through all the titles you’d like to show them?

That’s almost impossible, but If you get to 80% or so I feel like you’re doing pretty well. Make sure that you are showing the most important titles. You don’t want the customer to feel like you are pushing them to buy titles that are marginal for them. You can always re-present these titles in the future if they are tried and true. Be aware of when they grow weary. It’s ALWAYS about being sensitive to the customer and putting them first.


Do you have a method for visiting your accounts/scheduling appointments so no one is forgotten?

I constantly run Brandwise reports to see in dollars and cents where I am with my customers. I try to look at customers TY vs LY by quarter instead of monthly. Gives a more clear picture of where we’re at. Unfortunately, the number of turns per customer is not what it was many years ago. But try to have an appointment at least four times a year. Once after the beginning of each Spring and Fall Season. And at least once mid way during that Season. I try to send out email blasts to all customers during promotions. Virtually always results in a flurry of orders.


What’s a new store/ existing account you’re really excited about and why?

We just starting selling to Pot Clubs/Dispensaries. This is a whole new category that we’ve never had before. Starting slow — but I see a lot of opportunity here.


Share a success story with us!

Sales with The Gardener (an existing account of thirty years) are up almost 40% this year. This in spite of many challenges in the last two years. Last year The Gardener had buyer turnover. The previous buyer had been buying for twelve years. The new buyer was unfamiliar with buying books. We have flown him into our Los Angeles Showroom four times. We send him suggestions. Sample him gratis copies and we are in touch several times a week. This increase is despite the fact that there is roughly a 40% vacancy rate on their three block long commercial street — AND that an Amazon Four Star Store opened across the street! Some successful books that they have ordered this year (and they had not ordered last year to date) are; Monks Guide to a Clean House, Ottolenghi Simple, U.S. Constitution, Gratitude, The Mini Bar, I Adulted!, Birdnote, Aperitivo Cocktail Culture, and Dreyer’s English.


Featuring Linda’s partners in crime: Maxine (left) and Jeannie (right).


Thank you, Linda, for all of your amazing insights and tips!!



Interested in being highlighted next in this series? Reach out to us or nominate a colleague you would like to hear from and know others would benefit from! We’ll be touching base with reps who go above and beyond for future installments.


Gift from the Sea
With meditations on youth and age, love and marriage, peace, solitude, and contentment, here is an inimitable classic that guides us to find a space for contemplation and creativity in our own lives. "Gift from the Sea is like a shell itself in its small and perfect form ... It tells of light and life and love and the security that lies at the heart." —New York Times Book ReviewDrawing inspiration from the the shells on the shore, Lindbergh's musings on the shape of a woman's life will bring new understanding to readers, male and family, at any stage of life. A mother of five and professional writer, she casts an unsentimental eye at the trappings of modern life that threaten to overwhelm us—the timesaving gadgets that complicate our lives, the overcommitments that take us from our families.With great wisdom and insight she describes the shifting shapes of relationships and marriage, presenting a vision of a life lived in enduring and evolving partnership. A groundbreaking work when it was first published, this book has retained its freshness as it has been rediscovered by generations of readers and is no less current today.
$18.00 US
Jul 17, 2018
5-1/8 x 6-3/4
144 Pages

If I Live to Be 100
Lessons from the Centenarians
Now with a new package, Neenah Ellis's New York Times bestselling book takes us inside the world of the very old and invites us to learn from them firsthand the art of living well for an exceptionally long period of time.
$17.00 US
Mar 05, 2019
5 x 7-1/8
272 Pages

Tiffany's Table Manners for Teenagers
For 50 years this stylish little blue book has been helping teens mind their manners...
$17.99 US
Mar 18, 1989
5-1/4 x 7-1/2
96 Pages
Random House Books for Young Readers
Age 12 and up

Women Know Everything!
3,241 Quips, Quotes, & Brilliant Remarks
Wit and wisdom from A to Z—a super-sized collection of inspirational quotes from bad*ss women in history and today, including Oprah Winfrey, Marilyn Monroe, and Toni Morrison. With more than 3,000 quotations on everything from fashion and feminism to men, marriage, friendship, history, technology, sports, and more, this massive compilation proves once and for all that women know everything! Each page offers wisdom, wit, and inspiration from a host of legendary women—from Jane Austen and Colette to Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Toni Morrison, Liz Phair, Ellen DeGeneres, and Naomi Klein. Here’s what they have to say about: Success “I still have my feet on the ground. I just wear better shoes.” —Oprah Winfrey Men and Women “Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backward and in high heels.” —Faith Whittlesey Being Single “I’ve never been married, but I tell people I’m divorced so they won’t think something’s wrong with me.” —Elayne Boosler Individuality “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” —Judy Garland Family “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.” —Maya Angelou Quotations “I always have a quotation for everything—it saves original thinking.” —Dorothy L. Sayers With contributions from writers, artists, celebrities, politicians, scientists, and legendary figures all over the world, Women Know Everything! offers addictive reading—and a superb reference—for women of all ages.
$18.99 US
Feb 15, 2011
5-1/2 x 7
480 Pages
Quirk Books

Love Poems for Married People
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERBased on his wildly popular New Yorker piece, Thurber Prize-winner John Kenney presents a hilarious collection of love poems for, well, married people.
$15.00 US
Dec 31, 2018
4-13/16 x 7-5/16
112 Pages
G.P. Putnam's Sons

Love Poems for People with Children
In the spirit of his wildly popular New Yorker pieces and the New York Times bestseller Love Poems for Married People, Thurber-prize winner John Kenney presents a hilarious new collection of poetry for people with children.
$15.00 US
Oct 15, 2019
4-13/16 x 7-5/16
112 Pages
G.P. Putnam's Sons

A Gentleman in Moscow
A Novel
The mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series"The novel buzzes with the energy of numerous adventures, love affairs, [and] twists of fate." --The Wall Street Journal
$18.00 US
Mar 26, 2019
5-1/2 x 8-7/16
496 Pages
Penguin Books

A is for Activist
The bestselling ABC book that promotes social awareness and progressive values is now available in a picture book format for older children with the addition of ASL images for each letter.
$17.95 US
Nov 10, 2016
9 x 9
32 Pages
Triangle Square
Age 3-7 years

Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You
A Journal
Featuring 366 inspiring quotes and ideas for living a bolder life, this flexi-bound journal provides motivation for tackling personal resolutions, gaining mastery over fears, or simply getting a boost of courage to face the day.
$12.95 US
Dec 31, 2013
4-1/2 x 5-3/4
368 Pages
Potter Style

How to Love
The most popular book in the "How To" series: advice, practices, and food for thought from a Zen Master on our most universal emotion. The third book in the bestselling Mindfulness Essentials series, a back-to-basics collection from world-renowned Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh that introduces everyone to the essentials of mindfulness practice.Nhat Hanh brings his signature clarity, compassion, and humor to the thorny question of how to love. He distills one of our strongest emotions down to four essentials: you can only love another when you feel true love for yourself; love is understanding; understanding brings compassion; deep listening and loving speech are key ways of showing our love.Pocket-sized, with original two color illustrations by Jason DeAntonis, How to Love shows that when we feel closer to our loved ones, we are also more connected to the world as a whole. With sections on Love vs. Need, Being in Love, Reverence, Intimacy, Children and Family, Reconciling with Parents, and more, How to Love includes meditations you can do alone or with your partner to go deep inside and expand your own capacity to love.Scientific studies indicate that meditation contributes tremendously to well-being, general health, and longevity. How to Love is a unique gift for those who want a comprehensive yet simple guide to understanding the many different kinds of love, along with meditative practices that can expand the understanding of and capacity for love, appropriate for those practicing in any spiritual tradition, whether seasoned practitioners or new to meditation.
$9.95 US
Dec 01, 2014
4 x 6
128 Pages
Parallax Press

Where I Lived, and What I Lived For
The perfect books for the true book lover, Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve more groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers. Each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-driven design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped our world.Thoreau's account of his solitary and self-sufficient home in the New England woods remains an inspiration to the environmental movement—a call to his fellow men to abandon their striving, materialistic existences of 'quiet desperation' for a simple life within their means, finding spiritual truth through awareness of the sheer beauty of their surroundings.
$14.00 US
May 30, 2006
4-3/8 x 7-1/8
112 Pages
Penguin Books

A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind
Little known fact: Buddhist Monks are amazing at cleaning and tidying. In this one-of-a-kind guide to cleaning your home, Buddhist monk Shoukei Matsumoto reveals how to make your home as spotless as it is tranquil and peaceful.
$16.00 US
Dec 24, 2018
5 x 7-1/8
144 Pages

Ottolenghi Simple
A Cookbook
In Simple, powerhouse author, chef, and restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi presents 130 flavor-forward recipes that can be made easily in one or more ways: in 30 minutes or less, with 10 or fewer ingredients, in a single pot, using pantry staples, or prepared ahead of time for easy weeknight meals.
$35.00 US
Oct 16, 2018
7-2/3 x 10-2/3
320 Pages
Ten Speed Press

An Avocado a Day
More than 70 Recipes for Enjoying Nature's Most Delicious Superfood
Avocados are currently making headlines as a nutrition booster with studies showing that adding an avocado a day to your diet helps improve your overall health. This cookbook will show readers how to go beyond guacamole to include avocados in their daily diet.
$21.95 US
Mar 14, 2017
6-3/4 x 8
192 Pages
Sasquatch Books

The Mini Bar
100 Essential Cocktail Recipes; 8 Notebook Set
From the editors of PUNCH, these eight small notebooks each feature at least twelve classic recipes with headnotes for eight different liquors (100 total recipes) and space for jotting down that new cocktail creation. Nested in a sturdy magazine holder slipcase, this colorful collection is the ultimate bar cart accessory.
$20.00 US
Oct 02, 2018
3-3/4 x 5-1/2
Other Formats
384 Pages
Clarkson Potter

The Cocktail Culture of Italy
America's love affair with cocktail culture continues to evolve, with the success of ever-more specialized drinks books such as Bitters, The Drunken Botanist, and David Wondrich's titles. This is the natural next step in that evolution.
$35.00 US
Apr 19, 2016
7-1/8 x 10-1/2
224 Pages

I Adulted!
Stickers for Grown-Ups
Stickers are the next fun and nostalgic step stemming from the adult coloring book craze. This is the first on the market book that applies the "adulting" trend to the ubiquitous adult "I Voted" or "I Gave Blood" stickers, and mashes it with traditional child's classroom and homework reward stickers, scouting badges, and participant awards.
$14.95 US
Mar 07, 2017
5 x 7
66 Pages

Dreyer's English
An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style
A witty, informative guide to writing from Random House's longtime copy chief and one of Twitter's leading language gurus--in the tradition of The Elements of Style.
$26.00 US
Jan 29, 2019
5-1/2 x 8-1/4
320 Pages
Random House