Kingsway: The Poll Results – because the questions haven’t gone away…

Kingsway Polls: Because the questions won’t go away…

Kingsway Polls - Because the questions won’t go away…

OVER THE PAST WEEK OR SO I’ve steered away from the Kingsway pricing issue simply to give the company, and John Paculabo in particular as the company’s spokesman, some breathing space and an opportunity to reflect upon the concerns raised. Those concerns, of course, have not gone away: on what basis do Kingsway consider it a reflection of the King’s way — of Jesus’ way — to promote songs and albums about justice but trade in a way that is so unfair to many of its trading partners? To operate a pricing policy that seems to brazenly fly in the face of Her Majesty’s Government’s guidelines for pricing?

Perhaps there is a reasonable, ethical basis upon which a Christian company can conduct its business in this way, but I confess that I can’t see it. If you can, please do explain.

The polls remain open and I’ll be reinstating that post on the front page over the next few days to give anyone who missed it first time around an opportunity to vote. As far as I can see at the time of preparing this post, nothing has changed and there is no reason to close the polls: revisiting Kingsway’s listing for the not-quite-so-new ‘Very Best of Graham Kendrick’ album as a typical example, Kingsway are still comparing their ‘discounted’ prices to their own RRPs despite never having charged those RRPs. Perhaps the guidelines that apply to all other retailers simply don’t apply to Kingsway? I don’t know. If you do, please do explain.

To the poll results so far, however:

Poll 1: Is Kingsway’s practice of comparing their own prices to their own RRPs in order to present things at a discount fair?

Is Kingsway's practice of comparing their own prices to their own RRPs in order to present things at a discount fair? (Results)

Poll 2: Is a meeting in London on July 21st the best way forward for this discussion?

Kingsway Poll 2: Results as at 23/06/2010

Is a meeting in London on July 21st the best way forward for this discussion? (Results)

It’s a fascinating set of results, with 59 out of 81 (73%) respondents to the fairness question agreeing that Kingsway’s practice is either ‘a bit dodgy at best’ or ‘completely outrageous’. Interestingly, however, 21 voters (26%) think it’s a ‘perfectly acceptable’ practice — and I hope that someone from amongst those 21 will have the courage of their convictions and offer us an explanation for that. Perhaps those 21 are correct and the rest of us have misunderstood the true dynamics of the situation?

As for the meeting, only 1 person has booked the date in their diary. Whoever you are, if the meeting does go ahead, you are hereby cordially invited to contribute a guest post to let the rest of us know what transpires. The majority by far, 40 out of 54 (74%) respondents, believe that the meeting is unnecessary, although 18 voters (33%) concede that a meeting is ‘probably the only way to get a sensible response from Kingsway.’ 12 voters (22%) think that the meeting is a good idea but can’t make it.

I therefore suggest to John that his call for a meeting may not in fact be the best way for Kingsway to deal with this issue. But it is, of course, your call entirely, John: thank you for listening to your customers’ concerns.

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13 thoughts on “Kingsway: The Poll Results – because the questions haven’t gone away…

  1. Here’s what wikipedia say about pricing policies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suggested_retail_price

    The RRP is what the manufacturer recommends that their retailer sells the product for in order to help standarize prices – I’m not entirely sure it’s ethical to recommend a price and then do a price cut especially when it’s new product! This also affects competition laws which are worth looking into.

    I do hope something is done regarding unfair business practices and quite soon especially which less spending power in the country as this could affect Kingsway’s position in the market long term and I’m not convinced that they will survive!

  2. Pingback: Kingsway Polls: Because the questions won’t go away… « UKCBD: The Christian Bookshops Blog

  3. Phil

    Could you do a tot-up of IP addresses for the various results?

    If we assume a blog debate AND a face-to-face meeting are unsuitable, what do you suggest?

    • Hi Ian and thanks. Unfortunately that data’s only available for Polldaddy Pro and Corporate users. Upgrading to pro would cost me $200 per year and I don’t use the service enough at present to warrant that outlay (though if anyone reading is feeling generous…).

      Controls are in place to prevent repeat voting (though as with most things in life, a determined person could probably find their way around them) so I’m not sure that an analysis by IP address would tell us anything else we need to know at this stage.

      As for suggestions: it’s really down to Kingsway to do the decent and honourable thing. I think there are three main alternatives:

      1. Do the same as just about every other publisher/producer who also operates their own retail outlet, ie sell at their RRP, bring in reduced prices later and make those offers available to the trade (Alban Books, IVP and Norwich Books & Music are all very good at this).

      2. Treat their actual selling price as the base price at which they supply to us, their trade customers (seems to be the way things are done in North America: see Paul in Canada’s comment on my original poll post).

      3. Develop a partnership with retailers along the lines suggested by David Willis in response to my first post on this topic.

      No. 3 would involve more work but offers a longer term solution that has the potential to completely revolutionise the relationship between suppliers, retailers and consumers. But in the meantime Nos. 1 or 2 would be a good interim solution — and I really don’t see why letters in Christian Marketplace, blog discussions or meetings should be necessary to sort out either possibility: all it needs is an executive decision by someone at Kingsway or David C Cook.

      • In that case Phil I don’t think it has been working. as an experiment I voted from my laptop with two different options on one poll and two votes for the same option on the other, all from one laptop on one connection one after another.

        • I’m inclined to agree with Melanie and give most people the benefit of the doubt, but if some people want to skew the results by repeat voting, I guess it’s a good indication that they feel pretty strongly about the issues.

  4. These days with mobile internet being a much more used method of linking to the Internet, IP addresses don’t actually work as a safeguard in such things anymore due to the fact that as someone roams with mobile internet they get a new IP address for each hotspot they roam to – and it is possible they even get a different ip address for each time they connect/disconnect within that hotspot!

    However I am pretty sure (or I’d like to be!) that most people voting on this forum and this issue are surely honest folk and only voted once each.

    • Polldaddy uses cookies by default rather than IP address, but it’s possible to turn on IP blocking too. I figured cookies ought to be sufficient in this instance…

  5. The other thing to consider is that most music companies pay their royalties off the RRP, regardless of the price they sell it at. If the RRP was reduced, the the amount the often very needy artists get would reduce as well.

    • All the other music companies in our sector of the industry seem to have no problems selling their product at the advertised RRP on their own websites initially, or enabling a comparative offer to the trade.

  6. Pingback: Kingsway and the Frightening Art of Stone Throwing: a Response to Paul Slennett « UKCBD: The Christian Bookshops Blog

  7. Making no comment on Kingsway as I haven’t followed.

    I bought a window from Magnet just before they changed to a “discount supplier” policy in the early 1990s.

    Overnight the catalogue changed from a normal catalogue to a screaming “one third off” bright red effort; inside the list prices had all gone up by exactly 25%.

    Should this debate be partly about marketing practices and customers who need to ask the awkward questions.

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