Stronger Together – Weaker Apart



Stronger Together – Weaker Apart is, as most readers are no doubt aware, the theme of next week’s consultation and presentation day being brought to us by CRE in association with the BA Christian Booksellers Group (BACBG), the PA Christian Suppliers Group and Christian Marketplace magazine: more details in the What’s On section and in the January 2010 edition of Christian Marketplace, p.26. If you’ve visited recently you’ll have noticed that it now redirects to, offering us a tantalising glimpse of what one of the day’s announcements may unveil…

There’s a certain irony in the title now, sadly, because all the supposed strength of Biblica proved insufficient to hold the STL empire together last year: we enter 2010 weakened as a trade with 26 branches of Wesley Owen left out in the cold and the rest of the company parcelled out between CLC, John Ritchie Ltd, Kingsway and Koorong. Bigger, it seems, is not always better — but connected surely is, and hopefully as a network of independents and smaller chains we can find our way through the present crisis.

If you plan to be there, you have until Thursday 7th Jan to contact Mandy Briars at CRE (scroll down the page when you get there) and confirm your attendance. If, like me, you are unable to attend, then perhaps you can set aside some time during the day to pray for those who are there?

12 thoughts on “Stronger Together – Weaker Apart

  1. Hi Phil
    I’m hoping to be there, snow permitting. It will be interesting to see what proportions there are re retail/suppliers.

    Cheers and sorry not to see you, maybe at CRE in May?



  2. Unfortunately the cost of travel to London which would get me there in time for the start, or even within 30 minutes of the start makes it too costly for me to be there, which I am diappointed about as I would dearly have loved to attend to find out more based upon the invite and the mission statement of the group.

    However I very much look forward to hearing all about it as I do honestly think that it is only with true collaboration that things work best :0) and so this sounds most interesting and potentially very promising indeed.

    Like Mark, I too will be interested in the mix of retailers/suppliers, and am glad to know at least one from up north will be making it (weather permitting!).

    Mark, speaking for myself, it would be great if you would be willing to share your thoughts and perspective after the meeting of what was discussed and how it went.

    Praying, even now, for the meeting, it’s attendee’s and good things to come from it.



  3. Hi guys,

    I’m really looking forward to the day, and iron sharpening iron with regards safeguarding the future of the Christian book distribution industry and the valuable role of the local bookshop within that.

    I particularly like the phrase: “Stronger together, weaker apart…”. As a publisher we have (in the last 10 years) more and more sought to support the bookshop community as we see them as integral to an efficient widespread distribution – they reach Christians we can’t.

    I wonder if such an event might afford opportunity for general discussion. We have for a while thought it would be good to sit around a table with such a group to consider ‘predatory pricing’ and its potentially dangerous consequences to our trade, and then a solution…

    The guys in America appear to have really thought this through well, so I heartily reading this summary and would highly commend their full letter too:

    Thanks for posting Phil, see you all there or virtually via Twitter!

    In Christ, for his Kingdom,


  4. Thomas,

    Agreeing wholeheartedly in regards to the, for want of a better term ‘predatory pricing’ issue.
    This is something that seriously needs considering and thinking about.

    For me the pity is not just the sort of thing as mentioned in the article you reference with regards to the big etailers & supermarkets, but more so that some publishers are doing so much of this book & product devaluation on their own sites or regular consumer mail outs, and then some wonder why orders of their books/items is not high. It’s hard to order stock in that I am pretty sure will be discounted directly and that I then can’t sell as I can’t match the price the customer can get it for, and how do you explain to the customer that the RRP is genuine and fair when even the producers aren’t selling it at that??

    So yes this is a serious issue and though everyone blames:
    the internet shops, and yes this changing trend has had a real impact,
    or ebooks, which as yet really haven’t provided the proof of the hype!,
    and Supermarkets orlarge national chains, this isn’t such an issue if talking solely christian product in the UK as yet.

    The truth is that at the end of the day the shops still see the customers – sorry browsers – on a regular basis, it’s not that the shops lost the visitors and browsers that appreciably,
    but the bigger problem is that due to the cost of the book/item in shop (which is generally the rrp and has to be due to discount given on it to the shop) we can’t compete on a level enough platform to convert the visitor to a buying customer!
    and at the end of the day is this the Internet sellers fault or the one setting the discounts that enable the sale at that price?

    And yes we in the shops can take the hit and discount to match, but when some publishers are giving 20% and more on the items that really doesn’t leave enough of a viable margin for long term survival in even a booming economy!

    True consideration of this is something worth looking at and addressing indeed, because it truly will take all of us to make this work in the end.

    That said there are some fantastic publishers out there, such as yourself etc to whom we owe great thanks for being supportive, fair and more.

  5. Is there any suggestion it might get snowed off? If they changed the date I might be able to make it!!

  6. Hi
    As I’ve previously talked with Phil. I’ve set up a new Twitter account LindScriptorium in which I’m hoping to tweet out stuff about the day. Please be aware though that I’m also going to try and keep key minutes in mindmap format and will post that up here later on. It’s only my first attempt at Twitter so please be aware I met not get it all done.. 🙂



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