When I worked for the children’s math magazine Scholastic DynaMath, one of the year’s highlights was the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). I used to enjoy wandering the exhibit hall at the conference, checking out the various cool new educational math products.
One of the perennial favorites was the mail order company Educators Outlet, which would often feature book signings of authors promoting new math-themed children’s books. I’m proud to say that Educators Outlet will be sponsoring my signing at this year’s conference in San Diego.
Educators, a Colorado firm, has been attending NCTM conference for 15 years. Today we talk to Gary Otto, Educators Outlet’s VP of Business Development.
I’ll be signing books at the table in their Booth 341, on Friday, April 23, 2010, 11 to 12 noon. If you’re a teacher who is scheduled to attend the NCTM conference, I hope you will stop by. If you’re attending a session during that block of time, I hope you’ll stop by right after. I’ll try to stick around as long as they’ll let me, and as long as people still want copies of Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci. (Educators, by the way, is offering the book at a special price on its website.)
Welcome, Gary. What can you tell us about Educators Outlet?
Educators Outlet started business in 1994 as a catalog company. Since then we have added sales representatives and a website. We specialize in math manipulatives, but also carry a complete line of math, language arts and science materials.
Where are you based and how many employees do you have?
We are based in Fort Collins, Colorado and have 20+ employees.
Who buys from you?
We have a wide range of customers that buy from us from teachers, school districts, and homeschoolers to parents and grandparents. We welcome orders from everyone.
Why do teachers get from you folks that they can't get at a bookstore in their own neighborhoods?
We have a wide range of math, science, and language arts manipulatives that are not usually sold at book stores. We also have custom book kits with exclusive activity guides and the option of adding corresponding manipulatives to the kit. We have a wide variety of literature books with a math theme that you can’t always find in your neighborhood big box bookstore. Our customer service department is very attentive to our customers.
How many years have you been going to NCTM?
We have been going to the NCTM convention for over 15 years. We sell in our national booth and bring a wide variety of our best-selling books, including new titles that just became available.
What are some of your hottest math books for teachers right now?
The Sir Cumference series is a good seller, Centipede’s 100 Shoes, Pigs Will Be Pigs series, MathStart series, Math Matters book series for literature books and Faster Isn’t Smarter and From Reading to Math for teacher resource books are good sellers.
What other fun things can you tell us about Educators Outlet?
We started the business in a garage in Okoboji, Iowa. We actually answer the telephone during normal business hours; you won’t get a machine unless all lines are busy.
Are you a big book fan?
I don’t get much time to read books, other than on airplanes going to conferences.
What do you like reading?
I like to read John Grisham’s books.
What do you like doing when you're not reading?
When I am not reading, I am working or playing with my twin boys and daughter.
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