I’m still at the draft stage with my own thoughts on this year’s combined CBC/CRE, but in the meantime here’s an accolade for the Chelmsford Diocesan Resource Centre and some food for thought from Dave Faulkner. Commenting on his visit to CRE, Dave wrote:
There were a few personal interests I wanted to look up. I always like the bookstalls, but resisted this year. Partly that was because I have several books piled up from the sabbatical, partly it was because brutally in an Internet age the deals weren’t that good. I know that will sound awful to some Christian booksellers who will rightly point out that Amazon is not a ministry, but a minister whose wife is not in paid employment only has so many pennies and cost becomes a real factor for us. (And I do support the local Christian bookshops whenever possible: the Diocesan Resources Centre is a mine of information; the other bookshop is the local agent for IVP’s Leadership Book Club, so they get some orders from me, too, when the good books aren’t too Calvinist!)
Amazon — us booksellers need to stop moaning and rise to the challenge.
Thanks, Phil, I’m sure you’re right. The Chelmsford Diocesan Resources Centre rises to the challenge by the quality of advice, knowledge and service by the woman who runs it. They are in one small room, carry very little stock, but Jo the manager is priceless. She has put me onto titles I wouldn’t have found in an ‘ordinary’ Christian bookshop and wouldn’t have known to look for on Amazon. Particularly she has done this w.r.t. school assembly material. When I arrived in Chelmsford, all the local ministers I spoke to, of whatever theological hue, recommended this place.
Today’s questions: how are you rising to the challenge in your bookshop? Are there other ways that we, as bricks and mortar retailers, can do better than Amazon in serving our local communities? Join in the conversation — here or over at Dave’s place.
As for me, next on the agenda: add Chelmsford Diocesan Resource Centre to UKCBD: constantly amazed as I discover more and more shops that have somehow slipped through the net. Any more lurking out there?