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On Interning at Island Press: Reading on the Job

Books tend to pile up around here. Around here, we're all surrounded by giant stacks of books.

In this installment, Sales Intern Natalia Gurevich adds to her reading list.

Even with giant stacks of different books on either side of me, waiting to be sent off to various sellers and publishers, I always pause and read at least a few pages of each one. The books will tackle a different cause, a different issue, but each one always begins by grabbing my attention and persuading me to keep reading. Working with Island Press’s marketing department for the past three months I’ve perused enough books to fill a small library, and yet every time I’m impressed by the subject matter. One of the tasks my internship requires is to contact various organizations, universities, and individuals and ask them to consider adding one of our books to their platform, curriculum, or reading repertoire. Every time I make a new contact I become familiar with each book I’m discussing because I work better if I’m promoting books I would read myself. As a sophomore in college I’ve tucked a few marketing internships under my belt that I’ve added to my resume. With my experience I’ve learned more, but regardless I came to expect a similar line of tasks that accompanied such a position: taking lunch orders, making photocopies, and cold-calling. Much to my surprise and satisfaction after starting at Island Press, I was immediately given a slew of different responsibilities. Within the past three months I’ve learned about the entire publishing process and developed an entirely new and valuable skill set. After my first week interning at Island Press’s marketing department I was expected to manage and communicate with a list of book sales representatives. I can now successfully articulate and convey messages on a professional level and track subsequent shipments from those communications. I have researched authors and organizations of interest and managed social media updates. I have promoted books and persuaded readers to take advantage of promotion opportunities, like sales and special discounts. And after each sale or promotion I analyze what was successful with the endeavor and what could be improved in the future. I have gained a great deal of experience here, but the aspect I still appreciate more than anything else is the opportunity to read our books and learn about issues I may have not considered before. While I have learned important marketing skills, I’ve also read about water scarcity and the steps we can take to preserving our water supply. Climate change, endangered species, green urban design, and ecological restoration; the list and my interest has expanded. While my work continues I’m excited to see what else I’ll get to promote, and what else I’ll get to add to my constantly growing reading list.