George Fisher, former v-p, director, adult mass merchandise sales for Random House, died on February 22 at the age of 60. In a 35 year career Fisher focused his sales efforts on non-bookstore markets at Warner Books and Pocket Books prior to joining Random House's Ballantine sales division in 1990; he assumed responsibility in 1998 for all Random House mass merchandise sales. A longtime former board member of the International Periodical Distributors Association, since 2010, he had been executive v-p, book category development, for Mercury Retail Services, an affiliate of News Group distributors.
In a memo announcing his death to Random employees, Madeline McIntosh, president of sales, digital and operations, noted that in his Mercury sales capacity, "he sent me an impassioned plea on behalf of print books and their fate in the market. Typical of George, the email was of essay length, and highly eloquent. He feared that publishers and authors no longer valued print books or understood the degree to which physical retailers are struggling to compete in a web- and digital-centric world. I confess that in the business of the days that followed this email, it gnawed at the back of my mind, but, without easy answers, I delayed my response. Finally, I called him, but didn’t reach him. Just a few days ago, I received another message saying he’d get back in touch soon. I know that, wherever he is now, he is still hard at work solving this puzzle. I will be on the lookout for any answers he chooses to send down."