An Interview with A W Zurbrugg our rep in Oxford, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin

Boydell is proud to have our list handled by teams of expert representatives around the world. They know exactly where to show our new publications and we know they do our books and our authors a great service. Let’s learn a little more about them and their work…

Introducing: A W Zurbrugg

Where are you based and which territories do you cover?
I am based in London – a key city and a handy hub for travel to Oxford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin and other places.

How did you get into repping?
After working as a bookseller for five years I joined a small distributor in 1981 and immediately started selling for them in Yorkshire and Tyneside.

And how long have you been looking after the Boydell list?
I have been selling the James Currey list for Boydell since that imprint joined the group; I have a few years to go yet but hope to be able to say that I have been selling that list for forty years.

Who are your main clients?
The Blackwell chain and other university booksellers are very significant. I am frequently in touch with Gardners. Independent shops select paperbacks as opportunities arise

Before the Coronavirus, how often and how widely did you travel? Is there such a thing as an average day for you?
Much of the work comes in preparation, preparing PowerPoint presentations, thinking what happenings or hooks might justify greater stock-holding. When I started, I also had to work out how to get to a shop on time, or a little earlier, to have a look first, before selling. Nowadays many book buyers are pressured people, so time is very precious. Opportunities come and go, depending on finances and other things, one has to be ready for all sorts of chances. I travel quite widely and try to repeat certain cyclical visits throughout the year.

Do you have a favourite city to work in?
Each day is different: an Oxford day involves getting up at 6am, to get to Oxford for 9. One is encouraged to finish at Blackwell’s by twelve. By then I need food and have a favourite Chinese pit stop before I do anything more. An Edinburgh day might start from a hotel two minutes from the shop, which is rather easy. Dublin and Paris can be very stimulating.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve encountered in your work?
Walking into a shop in Basel (Switzerland), taking an out AI for a James Currey book on Swiss Missionaries, and being told, ‘I have just read a review of that this morning, in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung’. I frequently carry bits of reviews, but so far, that has been the only occasion that I found a buyer who had just read one.

Boydell volumes aside, which is your favourite book or author?
I am currently reading George Orwell’s diaries.

Print or ebook?
Print

Favourite historical figure?
Orwell

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Pass!

What’s top of your 2021 to-do list?
Survival!

Thank you for taking part!