Obituary Notes: Bob Wietrak; Robert Riger

Bob Wietrak, beloved in the book world and a major force in book sales during his 21-year career at Barnes & Noble, died on Saturday of pancreatic cancer.

He joined B&N in 1990 and was director of merchandising until 2011. Since then, he has been publisher relations manager at Bookish and since 2014, books selection editor and director of publisher relations at Zola Books, which bought Bookish. Earlier in his career, he had worked at Waldenbooks as a store manager and director of merchandising.

Called "Big Book Bob," he is being remembered by his many friends throughout the business as a smart, fun, wry, gentle, friendly man who had a remarkable eye for books and was so supportive of authors.


Robert Riger, a publisher, book club head and co-founder of Market Partners International, died at age 57 on January 26 of complications of the flu, Market Partners reported.

He began his career at Book-of-the-Month Club, rising to become managing director. He then was president of Doubleday Book and Music Clubs. In 1990, he co-founded Market Partners International, then held executive positions at Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. He also was v-p and marketing director of Barnes & Noble. He was recently working with Mike Shatzkin on a book, Book Publishing: What Everyone Needs to Know, which will be published by Oxford University Press next year. He was also a co-founder of the Publishing Triangle.

A memorial gathering will be held for Riger on Friday, March 2, 5:30-8 p.m., at the Rizzoli Bookstore at 1133 Broadway between 25th and 26th Street. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Callen-Lorde Community Health Center.

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