THE DIOCESE OF ST ALBANS has announced that its bookshop at the Diocesan Resource Centre at Holywell Lodge, the Diocesan Headquarters, is to close down, leaving only a limited library service in its place once shop stock has been sold off. Following the recent closure of the St Albans branch of Quench, this leaves the St Albans Abbey Bookshop and Gift Shop as the City’s sole surviving Christian retail outlet.
Citing the now ubiquitous complaint of “increased competition from online booksellers” as the reason for the closure, the announcement was made last week in February’s issue of E-Round, the Diocesan newsletter, and goes on to pay tribute to Ron Upton, the bookshop manager:
Diocesan Resources Centre
The Diocese of St Albans’ Resource Centre at Holywell Lodge is to close in the light of increased competition from online booksellers but will continue to offer for loan a variety of teaching materials and equipment used by churches and schools across the Diocese. Remaining stock will be offered at reduced prices.
David Nye, Chair of the St Albans Diocesan Board of Finance, thanked the departing Resource Centre Manager, Ron Upton: “Ron is known to dozens and dozens of people across the Diocese for his knowledge of the book and magazine trade, his devoted ministry as a Reader and his friendliness. He has contributed an enormous amount. He goes with many prayers for the future.”
Susan Pope, Diocesan Secretary, added, “I pay Ron warm tribute for what he has given over the last ten years. He will be much missed by colleagues at Holywell Lodge and beyond.”
“To survive, shops have got to find a way forward…”
Echoing concerns about online competition, Peter Southern of Ichthus Christian Books, Northwich, has issued a wake-up call to the local community via the letters page of his local paper, the Northwich Guardian, Plea to support Northwich’s shops as they face threat from the internet:
Why use up petrol, and time to make a journey to a shop that may not have the item required in stock when you can sit comfortably at home, browse a site that has every book or item in its store and that can send it within 48 hours? Plus the internet site is open 24 hours whereas a shop is only open 9am-5pm a mere eight hours.
To survive, shops have got to find a way forward, to make it a more viable proposition. Now Kindle has arrived, and once more customers are using the internet to acquire the books they want rather than visiting a bookshop. It’s a very difficult problem that shops have got to solve, and at present we at Ichthus are searching for answers. One thing we do know is that locals need to use the shops they have left or the high street will become a thing of the past.
Answers, please, not on a postcard but in a tweet, status update or comment below…