Benjamin Conn, founder and former owner of school book distributor Knowledge Industries Inc., and his wife, Marla Conn, president of the educational consulting firm Readability, are starting a new educational distributor and publisher for grades K-8, the Classroom Library Co.
The St. Louis-based company will provide classroom-ready collections of books tailored to reading levels and state-mandated standards, and has signed an exclusive partnership with Charlesbridge Publishing’s School Division. Reading collections will be shipped in shelf-ready book bins labeled with book-leveling information, and books are discounted 30%.
“Teachers today have a bewildering array of choices when they are putting together their classroom libraries. They have few resources to guide them in selecting appropriate, quality literature that sparks interest and holds the attention of today’s children and young adults,” says Benjamin Conn, who served on the board of directors of the Educational Book and Media Association and was previously with The Booksource.
The company’s staff includes: marketing director and book buyer Melissa Posten, former children’s book buyer at Pudd’nhead Books; v-p of sales Maggie Moe; COO Wade Oates, who has worked at FedEx and Coca-Cola; and operations manager Stephen Bent, formerly with Nextel/Sprint.