Fishing Poles

The other day I was wandering along the Thames Path with a friend — who happens to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators — and we came across a sign I couldn’t read. “It’s ‘No Fishing’ in Polish,” my friend explained, “We have a fair-sized immigrant community around here.”

How ironic, I thought, that the fishing Poles can’t read our regular ‘No Fishing’ notices: they need their own. It made me think of  those photographs I’m sure we’ve all seen of kingfishers perched on those same notices. It also set me thinking about the number of Poles (or should I be saying Polish people? No doubt someone will set me right) and other immigrants who would be completely lost if they visited most UK Christian bookshops, my own included, with the vast majority of our stock in English.

Polish New TestamentThere’s good news for the Poles, however, and good news for us as booksellers: one positive spin-off from STL’s recent merger with IBS (International Bible Society) to form IBS-STL is an increase in their stock range to include other language Bibles — Polish as well as Arabic, Chinese, French, Kurdish, Spanish and Urdu. That’s a Polish New Testament shown on the left.

Roger the RepHonourable mention must go to my good friend Roger Compton, a member of STL’s sales team, official STL mugshot on the right, for showing me these when he called in at LST last week. I invited Roger to contribute a guest blog introducing himself but he told me he’s a “grumpy old man” (his words!) who doesn’t do blogs! Sorry, Roger: there’s no escape — it’s blog or be blogged in today’s world.

STL are not the only UK source of foreign language Bibles, of course: No Frontiers (a division of Kingsway) offer an impressive range of books and Bibles in an equally impressive range of more than 200 languages, from Albanian to Zulu. Red Moon RisingTheir most recent project is a Macedonian edition of Red Moon Rising, the story of 24/7 prayer as told by Pete Greig and Dave Roberts of Soul Survivor — the 24/7 movement has created something of a buzz amongst the students at LST, but not many sales of the book (a good sign, I guess, if it means they’re too busy praying to read about praying!).

Other sources are Chapter Two Bible Distributors and the Bible Society UK (not to be confused with IBS, please note: they are separate organisations), distributed by IVP. IVP’s distribution department has gone downhill over the last year or so, unfortunately, with a tendency to run out of stock, send out the wrong products or invoice for products they haven’t sent: buyer beware — if you can source your stock elsewhere you may save yourself a lot of admin hassle.

Finally, all of this brings me back to my earlier post about Bibles and Bookmarks: the one thing we absolutely do not need, in my opinion, is more English language versions or editions of the Bible; what we do need is more Bibles in other languages, especially in those languages that don’t have them yet. If you’re looking for a career change and have an aptitude for languages, do get in touch with the folks at Wycliffe: the more people we have working on this, the sooner the job gets done!

6 thoughts on “Fishing Poles

  1. I used to order foreign language bibles from Bible Society when they were with Marston, as you could check stock availability on PubEasy. Ironically, around the same time as Bible Society changed over their distribution to IVP, the new No Frontiers website arrived, which has stock availability online. So guess where I now order from! My only difficulty with No Frontiers is their carriage charges, which usually take out most of any margin – however as a small company I understand it.

    And what is it with IVP? A number of years ago, they used to be the most reliable supplier of all, but now …. it is exactly as you say. I don’t know how many times I have brought the problems to their attention, but it just goes on and on.

  2. Yes. I keep on at IVP to join PubEasy: I’m sure they’ll get there eventually – I gather they’re about to join Batch at long last!

    I’ve invited IVP to comment: watch this space (says he, optimistically…).

  3. I would agree with John’s comments that the problem with the No Frontiers Bibles are the hefty (very hefty at times) carriage charges. They produce a superb catalogue and website and I would make a plea to them to build carriage into the prices so that we don’t have to keep explaining to customers why we have to charge them more than the catalogue price. Most of us are not able to put in big orders to get to a carriage free basis. Trinitarian do a number of foreign Bibles and we recently had some Chinese and Polish (not in the same Bible)Bibles from STL at very reasonable prices.
    On a related issue in the blog – congratulations to Roger for being an excellent rep. He always goes the extra mile. He also has greenfingers as his tomato plants are far more advanced than mine !!!

  4. Allistair Graham here from No Frontiers. Many thanks for the comments about our range of titles and also the concern about postage charges. It is true that we are a small company having to fulfil many small orders, and the despatch overhead is a considerable slice of our costs. However, we are willing to review these charges, and now is an ideal time to do this with our new financial year beginning next month. So hopefully we can announce a better deal shortly. Concerning Polish books, we have recently bought in a new range of Christian titles from Poland – mainly on marriage and family life as well as children’s books. We will also be producing a quality window poster and window display stand stating in Polish and English: Polish books available here. Christian bookshops in areas where there are Polish communities could use this, and we would be happy to offer those shops a range of titles on a “sale or return basis”. So if anyone is interested in taking us up on this offer, please let me or my colleague Yvonne Jones (01323 437723 / 437721) know.

  5. I was asked for a Polish Bible yesterday and I rang No Frontiers but no one was available. I read this blog this morning and rang No Frontiers to discuss Polish Christian books, as we have a growing Polish community in the Isle of Man, but the Voce Mail was in charge. I left a message so hopefully we can do some business. This could be a good reminder to our Community that God speaks in all languages. Thanks for the blog.
    Colin, Churches Bookshop, Douglas, Isle of Man.

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