A Message of Hope from Germany: Co-operation is Possible

Late last night, Saina Veigel left the following comment on my post A Modest Proposal to Save STL. Please read it and reflect on the possibilities this model could open up for us here in the UK:

Hello fellow Christian merchants in the UK!

I am/was a Christian book merchant from Germany and I failed miserably with my online bookstore because only the big online stores find costumers AND make a profit online nowadays in Germany. The competition is VERY TOUGH – even online!

I offered secular and Christian books with a charity-scheme but still didn’t succeed. I just closed my shop down in September 2009 after 1,5 years. You have to be part of a chain or of a “book merchants buying co-operative” to survive.

But I may have some interesting information for you:

Our biggest German Christian wholesaler “Hänssler” faced severe difficulties a few years ago and they formed a co-operative – or more precisely: they started a TRUST/BENEFICENCE. In this case Christian publishing houses/media companies pitched in to save the wholesaler (I don’t know the details though).

Now – many Christian publishers stand as a team together but, everyone remains independent at the same time. Get some information and advice from Frieder Trommer in Germany, if you can. This trust helps the Christian book trade. I don’t know how it works but it seems to work REALLY WELL. The TRUST’s website is: http://www.stiftung-christliche-medien.de/

Churches and Selling Books …

I personally don’t believe that churches can function as “alternative bookshops”. They are not trained to do so. They will mess it up. Booktables in churches are successful here but the whole approach has its limits. You can only use volunteers up to a certain point. You can’t expect the church to run a business. Selling Christian books IS a business – even though it is also a ministry. Business has to remain business. If it were to be a pure ministry one would have to ask for book donations instead and then you don’t have a business anymore. It just doesn’t work.

I am half British and half German. I always felt that English Christians are better off because they have so many more Christian titles to choose from. So much variety in Christian literature!

I really hope that the British Christians will wake up to the fact that what they have is precious and rare (compared to the rest of the world).

Wish you all much wisdom, God’s grace and a wonderful miraculous “solution”.

Best wishes, Saina

By working together, I believe that we can save STL – Wesley Owen – Authentic Media. We do not need a white knight in shining armour to ride to the rescue: we need, rather, to learn to trust one another and work together.

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