John Ziccardi, former sales executive Bantam/Bantam Doubleday Dell died September 27 at age 78.

In a tribute, Stuart Applebaum, emeritus executive v-p of corporate communications at Penguin Random House, described Ziccardi as a "super salesman." During his 30-year career, Ziccardi rose from a field sales rep to run the Bantam Books national accounts group and held the same role when Bantam and Doubleday merged to form BDD. When Ziccardi joined Bantam the company was primarily a publisher of mass market paperback. Ziccardi proved to be a tireless advocate for the format, selling to Waldenbooks, Dalton, Crown Books, Ingram, as well as Barnes & Noble – all the major accounts of the time. With his help, Bantam entered the hardcover business and Ziccardi led the team that made numerous titles, such as Iacocca: An Autobiography, into runaway bestsellers.

“John was always out there, with his charismatic blend of title and account knowledge, charm, warmth, and sincere other-directedness,” Applebaum remembered, “and he always got the title order he asked for.”

Ziccardi was a major presence at the American Booksellers Association conventions and Bantam-BDD sales conferences, and, according to Applebaum, helped create some “memorable party times.” Also during his tenure at Bantam/BDD, Ziccardi advised sales reps and executives, including CEOs, about the nuances of the book market. Ziccardi left BDD in 1998, a few months before BDD and Random House merged.

Among Ziccardi’s survivors is his son Anthony, currently head of Post Hill Press.

A wake is planned for today from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Ave, Maspeth, N.Y. A funeral mass is set for tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. at Our Lady of Hope Church, 61-27 71st St, Middle Village, N.Y.

Donations in his memory can be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.