The first thing I must say about the following references is that I asked for them. I only asked for them from three customers, and all 3 responded, though one could not write anything now, but said he would later and I can use his name.
The second thing I will say about these is that I did not expect them. As any bookseller knows, at least among those selling used and bargain, our supply is more finite and there is competition for books and sources in a way that does not exist in new books, so you can understand how much I appreciate these.
Another thing I must say is that I wish I served every customer amazingly well in every way, 100% of the time. I have my failings and have made some bad mistakes. One of my personal worst flaws is that when multiple issues arise, even if they are individually low stress, seemingly insignificant problems, or even non-issues, but special projects or concerns, I tend to take too long to respond as I work through everything or try to find time to work through them. This has happened with some of my best customers and if you're reading this, you know who you are and I apologize. It's all me. I recommend unabashed harassment if you don't hear back from me within a few days regarding some issue or project you have me working on. Just writing these few words will probably motivate me to improve in this area.
Finally, a note about why I asked for references.
I am constantly looking for new customers, almost all of whom are small businesses that write orders in the $300 range, once or twice per month. I need a lot of these to make a living, but they are better customers for me as there is less likelihood that the house reps will take them from me, and I feel more connected to them. I like them and seem to get along with them. The problem arises when I finally get one to respond, they often start by asking how to order and how to pay. When I tell them they will eventually need to supply a credit card, I am often left wondering why I never hear from them again, and I suspect it is because I am not known by them at all. I could just be paranoid. Maybe they don't like the lists. But then why do my existing customers buy so much off those same lists?
Without further ado, what my wonderful, incredible, patient customers wrote:
The Book Exchange
2335 Brooks St.
Missoula, MT 59801
To Other Booksellers:
If you are considering Ben Archer as a sales representative, I urge you to take advantage of his outstanding service. We have been doing business with Ben for over twenty years and give him our highest recommendation. He not only forwards excellent sales lists to us, but his followup on orders is a time-saver as well. He's always on top of any issues that arise with a vendor or problem shipments.
New customers will probably be asked to prepay orders using a credit card. Typically this will continue indefinitely for small and occasional orders. Rest assured that Ben can be trusted with this information and will use it strictly for your approved orders.
We value Ben's abilities and encourage interested booksellers to take advantage of his experience and services.
V.P. for Operations
Northwest Book Exchange, Inc.
dba The Book Exchange
From Chequamegon Book & Coffee Co.:
Dear Fellow Bookseller,
I have known Ben Archer for over 25 years in the book trade. I met Ben early in my career when I decided to begin to purchase remainders. Ben has kept in touch with me through the changes in the book trade and has always assisted me in finding good quality books at excellent prices. Ben has always been very honest and fair in his dealing with me. His customer service is the best in the trade. He almost works as many hours as I do (and I work a lot, because as you are well aware the book trade is demanding). On the rare occasion I have had a problem with a book order, Ben has immediately resolved it. I continue to work with Ben and order regularly from the various wholesale books distributors he represents. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me anytime.
2 East Bayfield St.
Washburn WI 54891
From Strand Book Store:
Paul Secor, the buyer and manager there who has been buying from me for over 20 years, will write something, but has too much going on at the moment and just wanted to say that he would be happy to recommend me to anyone who asks.
Manager & Buyer
Strand Book Store
New York, NY 10003