STL UK: Rumours and Counter-Rumours

STL UK - Communications Update, 28/10/2009

STL UK - Communication Update, 28/10/2009

… and so another trade missive emerges from STL UK in another attempt to lay to rest the rumours of… of what exactly? Whatever the rumours may be, I haven’t heard them. What I do know is that all too often I’m having to place orders elsewhere for items that I’d normally expect to be able to obtain from STL UK.

Credit where it’s due, however, and thanks to those at STL who have gone the extra mile recently to obtain some of those items, and to their customer service team who remain unfailingly polite and helpful.

Please continue to pray for all concerned, for wisdom, grace and whatever other virtues may be called for; and maybe for a friendly millionaire to come along and help them out…

The missive itself:

COMMUNICATION UPDATE

Over the last few days there have been a number of rumours circulating about the current position of IBS-STL UK in regard to its future. This communication is to inform you of the current position.

Over the last few weeks the charity has been in discussion with its bankers and creditors, with a view to determining the best way forward. As with any charity or company going through financial difficulties, we have to be careful with regard to the interests of the creditors, as well as the ongoing work of the charity and ministry, about which we are passionate.

The period of our bank facility has been extended to enable us to carry out further work with appropriate consultants, looking at the various business models that the IBS-STL UK Management Team and Trustees have been considering. When this work has been completed, we will be in a position to decide and communicate on how we see the future.

Until then we are very appreciative of the patience shown and help given by many of our suppliers and ministry partners. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue serving our Retail customers through our distribution operations.

We will keep you informed as and when there is something to add.

Keith Danby
Chief Executive

Discuss here, or over on the STL Blog

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15 thoughts on “STL UK: Rumours and Counter-Rumours

  1. Yes, I’m a little confused, also, and concerned about the reference to using consultants as this usually means large expenditure which STL can ill afford.

  2. Agreed on the comments about the customer service team – brilliant people who are trying soooo hard in difficult circumstances

  3. It seems Phil that there is a loop that we are missing out on! I guess STL feel they need to keep communicating, even though there may be nothing new to communicate. Any advice anyone can give on how to make it easier to get hold of stock when it isn’t available at STL would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Joy, since I seem to spend half of my day chasing around for items that our favourite ‘one stop’ supplier DOESN’T have, here’s a thought or two!

    My first port of call if STL don’t have would be CLC- they have done really well for us recently, and will also ‘duck & dive’ a bit to see if there is an alternative ISBN. I have every respect for the Customer Services at STL, but if you give them an ISBN and it is out of stock, they don’t automatically search ‘description’ to see if there is a new ISBN- CLC usually offer to do so first time.

    Ritchies in Kilmarnock have a pretty wide range of stock, although are still trying to get to grips with their amalgamation with Penfold- deliveries are starting to get back up to speed. Integrity now carry substantial quantities of Nelson books & Bibles. Gardners are helpful for Hodder titles, but minimum order is usually beyond me! Marston carry a wide range of publishers, and their service, generally, is excellent. Cedar have been great recently for gift product. We do order about on occasions from Ingrams in the States, mainly items that STL don’t supply, and find their service absolutely fantastic. It is, however, an automated service, so there is no negotiation with them for bulk buys. So, if there is an ‘STL Out of Stock’ problem with a larger quantity, we have ordered via STLD in the States, and found them very helful. But this has been the exception rather than the rule.

    I know it’s probably a lot of work for someone, but one of the most useful tools I came across when I came into the trade was the ‘US Suppliers in the UK’ pull out in the Christian Marketplace. Perhaps this could be updated regularly to include as many UK publishers as possible, with their various distributors?

    In the interim, often a direct phone call to a publisher can let you know which particular wholesalers or distributors might be holding stock. I recently had a friendly discussion with Collins to get them to release 400 Gospels- STL didn’t have them, I tracked them to the Collins warehouse, but they wouldn’t release them to me as distribution was exclusive to STL. However, several phone calls later and they were released- many thanks! Perversely, the warehouse was less than ten miles down the road….. so a crowbar at 2.00am in the morning might have been an alternative solution to the STL out of stocks!!

  5. Andrew,

    Given your experience with Collins then one thing to be said and that perhaps publishers might be advised to think about – no more sole distributor agreements, it can cause a problem in situations such as the ones we are facing.

    On the supplier thing in regards to Hodder, Gates of Praise (www gatesofpraise co uk -add the dots in, but I don’t want to get stuck in moderation :0) do a range of US publishers and also do thea Hodder books and bibles as well, and their minimum is only £50.00 but due I think to go up slightly in the next few months, but still much lower than Gardners or Bertrams.

    Oh and for US publishers there is also New Wine Ministries (www newwineministries co uk).

    And like Andrew I have found that the direct route to publishers can be very rewarding in some instances.
    I also know Gardners are very keen to work with Christian Bookshops but just need to know it is a service that is worth them working further on – but they are increasing the stock of a number of suppliers to show willing already.
    I also agree that CLC are a great help, now if they get an online system for trade ordering up it would be almost perfect for me :0)

  6. Phil saw on the STLD Blog you posted:

    ‘ukcbd said…
    Good to see that you’ve got Rob Bell’s Sex God in again, albeit at £9.99. Is there any significant difference between the £9.99 edition and the previous £7.99 edition (9780310274155, which seems to have disappeared from your database), please?

    To which they responded with:

    ‘ 12 November 2009 08:29
    STL Blog Team said… Hi UKCBD,
    Thanks for your post, we are pleased to see you have been making use of the spreadsheet. 9780310274155 was the International Trade paperback, this edition is no longer available and has now been replaced by a US paperback version Sex God. They are both have the same content. We endeavoured to keep the price of the ITPE artificially low, however due to the continuing poor exchange rates we are no longer able to maintain this price. Consequently, we have changed the price to £9.99 in line with other US paperbacks. I hope this answers your question.’

    I thought you and others might like to know that Gardners have 299 copies in stock and priced at £7.99 of 9780310274155.
    Oh and Bertrams have 13 in stock of the cheaper edition.
    Though they both do report this isbn as being replaced with the £9.99 one! So with only 299 in stock at £7.99 you might want to bulk order a few at this price before they are gone. :0)

    • Given that there are 490 people whose jobs and livelihoods are on the line here, John, I’d say that’s a more than a tad harsh. Most of them are just ordinary folk who’ve simply been getting on with their jobs and whatever your grievances against STL as an organisation, they certainly don’t deserve to be treated like this.

      I’ve no objections to anyone criticising Biblica/STL — I’ve done it enough myself — but under the present circumstances, comments like yours aren’t exactly helpful, are they?

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