Christian Publishers Representatives (CPR) Disbanded

Christian Publishers Representatives (CPR), the SPCK sales force which amongst others also represents Oxford University Press, Wild Goose and OneWorld, is to be disbanded. The news emerged yesterday in a comment left here by Melanie Carroll of Unicorn Tree Books:

It would seem STL are not the only ones now resorting to losing the Rep Force – SPCK seems to be following suit in swift action. Doesn’t bode well really does it.

I Have just had my CPR rep in – Howard Corn – who has told me that He, along with other CPR reps, were last week given their notice that CPR is been disbanded. Howard say’s he leaves at the end of June after 16 Years service (I think was the figure he gave, with Jeremy Bakewell leaving in September/October.

He say’s he has no idea how the new structure for sales will work, whether it will be Telesales or some other method.

I would just like to say thank you to Howard, who I have seen for a number of years now, for all his good work and service during this time. Today, as ever, he was unfailingly polite and pleasant whilst showing the lists. I will see him for one more cycle and after that he will be much missed. Thank you Howard for all your service.

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16 thoughts on “Christian Publishers Representatives (CPR) Disbanded

  1. Not sure that this is correct as I was told last year that Jeremy Bakewell and Howard Corn were RETIRING this year.

  2. Hi Carole B,

    I reported it exactly as Howard told it to me – there were a couple of us in the shop and I confirmed with them prior to posting to make sure I had understood and accuratly relayed what Howard said.

    To confirm he did say that Yes he is at retirement age but he, and according to him Jeremy, were both looking to do extra time and not looking to retire anytime soon.
    So forced retirement based on the governments decision to allow busnesses to say to someone at 65 sorry thanks but no thanks! (and that’s not age discrimination??) is still a form of redundancy if the person still believed they had the desire, time and a job to do. Of course if the company feels there isn’t a job to do then it is just called redundancy.

    Natural wastage I think is the term some management structures use to justify this type of thing when down costing or cost saving.

    However according to Howard there is no structure currently set up to continue CPR forward currently or to cover the area’s of those losing their reps through ‘retirement’ as yet, and as he understands it and relayed it to me then that means no CPR. Certainly the CPR list is already drastically reduced to what it used to be.

    Don’t get me wrong I can understand the need in this day and age to make cost savings, and what with the seriously reduced lists and showings from some publishers this must make running a rep force very expensive and something that must be looked at in extenuating circumstances, which I guess any fair person would call the current economic situation, but the simple fact is if you can’t afford to replace those ‘retiring’ then you are in a not particularly good place, and if you have to encourage those of retirement age to retire, well again that’s not so positive a place to be.

    At the end of the day my concern is for the people that are the consequence of these actions, such as Howard & Jeremy, both of which I have known and worked with in the past, and whom I know have family considerations and concerns to offset.
    Of course I do not deny a certain concern for the Christian Bookshop business and how this will effect changes in that too.

    After all Christian Bookselling and Publishing is a symbiotic thing, the concerns of one are the concerns of another as both need the other.

  3. And the Government said there was to be legislation against age discrimination! Sadly, several publishers have said to me recently that what with the chamges and some closures of the SPCK Bookshops, together with the Recession and the weak pound against the dollar, many Christian publishers really will struggle this year.

  4. I was very sorry to learn of the news that our Hodder rep Paul Walker has also been made redundant. This seems an extremely shortsighted move by Hodder as Paul was the only rep who travelled to the Christian Bookshops. Paul worked hard as a rep and always made sure he found out answers to questions that we had (and there were many – especially with the dubious policy of getting trendy marketing companies to design Bible Covers).
    I can’t help thinking that if Hodder kept a decent range of NIV bibles in print instead of many of them being out of stock, then sales would be up and Paul would still be there.

    • That is sad news. Paul, if you happen to read this, I take this opportunity to thank you for your helpfulness and to wish you well wherever you go next.

      Geoff, I think you’re right about the Bibles. There was a time when a customer could come into the shop and say they wanted a Bible, we’d look it up (either in the catalogue or online) and order it, job done. Now, we look it up and say, sorry that one’s not available, let’s try another, repeat ad infinitum until we find one available that the customer likes the look of or the customer gives up, whichever comes first.

  5. I too would like to wish Paul all the best – he was an excellent rep who would often go out of his way to come and see us if there were any issues to resolve. He also did the odd window display for us! This is a sad loss to the trade.

  6. I am really sorry to hear about Paul – Definitely another loss to the trade. I do wish him all the best for the future! Most of Hodder’s sales to me are proactive from Paul. Apart from NIV’s I wonder how much future Hodder business I will be doing. And the NIV range is so inadequate. Customers regularly tell me the type of NIV they require which never seems to be available due to the constant changing of the range!

  7. Just want to add my best wishes to Paul wherever he goes. What a shame, another sad loss. Guess I’ll go back to doing Hodders through CLC.

    I only had one visit from Paul but he was good at his job and cared for our ministry as well as our business. This was typified by his desire to pray for us as well as sell us books!

    Strangely enough I have just discovered this thread while I wait for his latest visit – guess I’ll be waiting a while.

  8. I have just had the Hodder Faith April newsletter (the second one they have sent out). At the bottom is a list of area reps, which implies that my Hodder rep is now someone called Gary Reynolds. There was no reps list on the first newsletter they sent out.

    I have had no communication from Hodder about Paul Walker’s departure. So has he just been airbrushed from history?

  9. Exactly my thoughts. I have just replied to the email asking why there was no mention of Paul or of the faithful service that he gave to Hodder. Having sent that I then found your comment. I doubt whether Hodder will listen but they do need to know how we feel.

  10. This outrageous and short sighted announcement by Hodder Faith to make an outstanding Sales Representative like Paul Walker redundant, should not be taken lightly. Some years ago Hodder Faith used non-Christian sales people to represent their product into stores – the result was confusion, both by the sales person who did not understand the spiritual content of the books and the buyer, who had to work out exactly what the book’s content was all about!

    Yes, we know that the job of the Sales Representative is to sell as much of his/her companies product into stores but the loss of people of the calibre of Paul Walker, who, as Geoff says, go that extra mile to ensure that the best possible information and service are offered and who bring a spiritual dynamic to all they do, should not be ignored.

    I suggest that instead of us corporately bleating about ‘the sad loss’ on here, we all determine to make representation to Hodder Faith by letter, email, telephone and fax and make Hodder aware of the implications financially of losing such an asset to their company. Together we really can make a difference. Contact details:

    Hodder Faith
    338 Euston Road
    London
    NW1 3BH
    UK
    Tel: 020 7873 6051
    Fax: 020 7873 6059

    hodderfaith-sales AT hodder.co.uk

    [Email address split to resist spambots – Ed]

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  12. I am sorry to hear that Paul has been made redundant by Hodder he has been valuable to us, giving us the knowledge of his experience on what books to buy and what will sell within the Christian market within our bookshop. I believe because he has Christian beliefs he understands the market, personally I think that “Hodder” are making a big mistake to allow their general sales people to try and sell books in the market they have no understanding of.
    The Spalding Christian bookshop has been severed well by Paul, and we will not be happy by being approached by people who know nothing about the Christian faith.
    So I would say to “Hodder” think again this is not a smart move.

    Just want to say to Paul thank you for all your help and support.

    Pastor Chas Sandhu
    Lighthouse Church
    Spalding – PE11 2XP

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