Clive Jackson is the Account Manager - South Australia at Penguin Random House Australia and a 2022 recipient of the George Robertson Award for service to the publishing industry. We spoke with Clive to learn more about his thirty year career selling books, and the importance of having fun to job satisfaction.
In 1989, Clive Jackson joined Transworld as a Sales Representative. He remained with the company as it merged with Random House and then Penguin; Clive is the current Account Manager - South Australia for Penguin Random House Australia. For over 30 years, Clive has been passionate about selling books and providing the right book to the right reader.
In addition to his love of bookselling, during the Adelaide Writers’ Week, Clive expands his repertoire and becomes a tour manager of sorts, supporting authors on tour and making store visits. Clive says it is these times that have formed some of the most memorable experiences of his career.
‘What stands out for me is the opportunities I have had to rub shoulders at events like Adelaide Writers’ Week or on tour with authors. A drive to the Barossa Valley with David Malouf, trying to get a word in with Tom Keneally, the affability of Richard Flanagan, and my pick for the ultimate dinner party guest Bill Bryson.’
Clive is known to always have a book review in the front of his mind, ready to share with all who will listen. With over 30 years experience, Clive has noticed some changes in the industry, particularly in the way that books are able to reach readers with greater ease.
‘Options for readers were more limited when I started and there was more of a reliance on book retailers to assist with meeting their customers' queries. Now information is instantly available and readers are well informed in real time and can better compare the options they have to make a purchase.’
When asked what has kept him in publishing over the years, Clive says, it is the variety inherent in his work that has retained his love of the work he does. ‘Each new title every month presents an opportunity to bring the companies and personal resources together to unlock its potential and get it into the hands of readers. I will never tire of seeing a book I have represented brought to the counter.’
Having learnt a lot from colleagues throughout his time in publishing, the wise words from a former mentor remain with him. Clive says, ‘a past sales manager used to say, “remember, have fun”. Inevitably I have found that approach to be the best one. It is whenever I have had fun that I find myself reflecting on just how satisfying this industry can be.’
For now, Clive is content to continue to channel his energy into his work as a bookseller (with a little publicity on the side).
‘I feel privileged to be in sales in South Australia working alongside fine book sellers. The support available to me from head office and the results of investment in logistics gives me the tools to feel like I continue to make my own important contribution to the ongoing success of the industry. I am consistently impressed with the calibre of everyone working in the industry and who would not want to remain a part of that.’