Robert Paris Riger, a longtime publisher and author, died on January 26 of complications from the flu. He was 57. News of his death was first reported by Market Partners International.
Riger began his career in publishing at Book-of-the-Month Club in the early 1980s, first as an assistant, later running its distribution center and, eventually, managing its main clubs. He later left BOMC to become president of the Doubleday Book Club, while still in his twenties.
In 1990, Riger co-founded Market Partners International, one of the first publishing consulting firms, which serviced clients including Amazon, the printer R.R. Donnelley, and Jim Henson Productions, as well as international clients in countries including Scandinavia, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain. (While working for Henson, Riger co-authored, with Kermit the Frog, the book One Frog Can Make a Difference: Kermit’s Guide to Life in the 90s.)
Following his work at MPI, Riger worked for a time at Penguin Press, the dotcom era startup SubRights.com, and Barnes Noble, where he worked to grow its study guide program, SparkNotes. After six years, he returned to publishing proper via Simon Schuster, where he was most recently v-p and director of the Pimsleur Language Programs. At the time of his death, he was working with a co-author, longtime publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin, on a book about the publishing industry called Book Publishing: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2019).
Riger is survived by his husband, Richard Duke Piper, his brother Christopher, his sister Victoria Riger Phillips, his sister B.Z. Hull and brother Max, his sister Ariel Aberg-Riger, and several neices and nephews. A memorial gathering will be held on Friday, March 2, 2018, from 5:30-8 PM, at the Rizzoli Bookstore. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Callen-Lorde Community Health Center.