What’s happening at Wesley Owen? David Chant gives us the inside story

Wesley Owen Birmingham: Facebook Photos

Wesley Owen Birmingham - Facebook Photos

If you’re anything like me, you’ve no doubt been wondering how things are going for Wesley Owen’s survivors under their new Aussie owners, Koorong. So I put on my Aussie hat (made from genuine ’roo hide) to give myself an authentic Oz presence and invited the inimitable David Chant from Wesley Owen Birmingham to tell us all about it. He writes:

Thank you, Phil, for inviting me to tell the bookselling world all about our first 4 months under new ownership. In December, we were fortunate to be one of the 8 Wesley Owen stores to be bought by Koorong, the leading Australian Christian bookseller.  All the changes in the trade have been well documented, so I will concentrate on how this has impacted upon one of the Big 8!  From day one we were welcomed into the Koorong family by the key personnel.  By January we had received phone calls from Australia, (most of which were made in the early hours of their morning), visitations by many, and regular emails that helped us with the transition from Wesley Owen to the Koorong way.

Birmingham branch was chosen to be to the IT hub for the group.  Their IT guru based himself here for a number of weeks, setting up the PCs, and EPOS terminals.  He then travelled England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, setting everything up.  He finally left the UK after many weeks in the snowy UK – and had missed the Aussie summer!

The EPOS system is superb!  We are only using a tiny part of what it is capable of at present, but that will soon change as new systems are introduced.

We recently received training from another of the jet-setters – and more are coming over shortly. We are taking in so much (and probably forgetting the majority of it!) at the moment, and sometimes go home in the evenings totally exhausted from all we have taken on board.

In recent weeks we have all received numerous pallets of books.  About 200 boxes of lovely stock winged itself to us in April, and I cannot begin to tell you how marvelous it is to walk into a well stocked shop again.  It has been quite a task manhandling so much stock; sorting, pricing and rearranging the shop to fit in all in. But how rewarding!  For example, we now have a Bible section crammed with just about anything we are likely to be asked for.  It’s been some time since I could say that!

The new Wesley Owen Books & Music membership scheme, website, and data base are now being built, so it won’t be long until we are well and truly inducted into the Koorong way.

Having been through such a transition before, (we had been an independent for 105 years before Wesley Owen took us over in 1997), some aspects haven’t been too big a shock to the system.  In fact it has breathed new life and vigour into not only the shop, but also the staff.

We are being ably looked after by our UK based management, as well as the team from Sydney.  It is great to have such a dedicated team watching over us.

Now the fun begins.  We will be undertaking our first stocktake soon, and will no doubt be getting our branch budgets shortly.  Honeymoon period over? 🙂

Finally, having invited David to contribute, it would be remiss of me not to mention his personal project, Planet BB: if you or anyone you know is or has been involved in Boys’ Brigade, check it out.

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6 thoughts on “What’s happening at Wesley Owen? David Chant gives us the inside story

  1. Sounds like things are coming together for the guys at Wesley Owen.
    Dave, you did write this before your FB entries on 26th April, didn’t you?! But, still, an EPOS that works most of the time is better than no EPOS, eh?
    Keep up the good [hard] work!

  2. Ha! Funnee Pete. I presume you are refering to the day I nearly through the till out of the window!!! Early teething problems (It was probably my own fault anyway)lol. We had a problem only this morning, but minutes after we reported it to Aus, it was fixed! They have guys working through the night to make sure we can trade through the day 🙂 You are only jealous as you had one of those ‘open all hours’ tills in Bath! You must pop up to Brum or nip into Bristol or Bath and have a go on the EPOS tills. It will make you so envious, you will want to return to the fold… Speak soon. Your inimitable friend, Dave

  3. Does anyone know what is happening about Authentic Publishing? When can we get Youth Bibles and ICB’s?

    • Last I heard, the Youth Bible and ICB rights did not transfer to the new authentic, and like Veggie Tales and Hillsong, needed to be re-negotiated.

      I would suggest (given that they hold the rights to the rest of the NCV line) that Thomas Nelson (and it’s distributors, Integrity Provident et al.) would be pretty surprised if they weren’t pretty insistent that they secure the rights to these too, but we can only wait and see what happens.

      • I have heard two variations on this issue; one was that Thomas Nelson had originally licensed Authentic to produce these Anglicised versions and were considering whether they wanted to reissue this license or produce them themselves; in other words that the NCVs and ICBs may not come back in the way we have had them.

        The other was that the rights for the bible text and the rights for the notes in the bibles were held by different organisations, thus making negotiations extra complex.

        I would stress that both of these dwell nearer to the realm of rumour than to the realm of fact! !

        • A cursory glance at the copyright page of a youth bible will give you an idea of just how complex this one is… rights wise.

          You have two different sets of rights on the bible itself (one for the NCV proper, and one for the Anglicized edition of it) and all kinds of permutations on the notes (which have been adjusted, britished up and updated on several different occasions).It’s not hard to see why so many people are wanting to move things “in house” in this post IBS-STL world.

          Given the amount of ground the Youth Bible and ICB lost because of stock issues towards the end of Authentic, it would surprise me if we didn’t see an all new NCV young peoples Bible before we see the rights to this one sort themselves out

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