Even though he carries a sample bag by day, Omar Gutierrez Crook, head of West Coast sales for Trucatriche, a California-based distributor of art and literary publishers in the U.S., Mexico and Japan, continues to sing by night. The 33-year-old tenor, who made his operatic debut two years ago at the Hollywood Bowl in a production of Verdi's Aida, told PW, "I came to both careers really late in life. I came to music at 25 and the book business at 33."

Disappointed with his opera auditions in New York last fall, Crook contacted his cousin, Trucatriche founder Pedro Alonzo, about taking him on. "It works out really well," Crook said. "I'll audition on one day and sell books for a day or two. It pays for the trip." Although most of Alonzo's clients are in California, between San Francisco and San Diego, his call schedule depends on the performance. Recently, he stopped at stores in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New York City when he toured with the Boston Pops. He is back at stores on the West Coast this month during a Los Angeles production of Handel's Messiah.

Crook's approach to selling books is not much different from Alonzo's when he started the company a decade ago. As a college student in Mexico, he would load up his car with books and drive from Texas back home to Monterey, Calif., selling books at stores along the route.