If you’re brave (or foolhardy) enough to follow my personal blog or my twitterstream then you’ll have already gathered that something’s afoot. To cut a long story short, my tenure as Bookshop Manager at London School of Theology is about to come to an end: on July 28th my assistant, Nick, and I were formally invited to volunteer for redundancy. We’re now in a limbo situation that many of you will be all too familiar with: the ground has vanished from beneath our feet but somehow — like cartoon characters running off the edge of a cliff — we’re still standing there, waiting for gravity to kick in.
Rather than carry out a postmortem on the LST situation (I’ll have plenty of time for that during my notice period), today I’d like to explore a few thoughts on ways forward here: UKCBD and this blog are a free service, a project that I’ve pursued in my spare time, effectively subsidised by the fact that I’ve had full time paid employment and covering basic costs (such as domain registrations and web hosting) by revenue drawn in from Google advertising, a handful of (currently lapsed) trade sponsorships and commissions on affiliate web sales, primarily via Amazon and Eden.
The reason UKCBD exists is as stated on the About page:
UKCBD, the UK Christian Bookshops Directory, is an independent, voluntarily maintained project which exists to promote the Christian faith by providing a two-way resource to the Christian community: an easy way to find your nearest Christian Bookshop, and an easy way for Christian Bookshops to get online.
And this part of the site, the blog? From the Guest Posts page:
The aim of this blog is to provide a place for Christian booksellers, authors, publishers, suppliers and their customers — in short, anyone with an interest in Christian books and music — to exchange ideas, news and views, discuss the latest reviews and generally get more interactive.
On balance, I think that purpose and those aims are being fairly well fulfilled — but I’ve often said I’d love to have more time to develop things further: now it seems that I am to receive that gift. The challenge is whether I can afford to invest that time in the project, whether or not it can generate an income — and this is where I need your help, please:
- Will you consider becoming — along similar lines to those we’ve seen with Illuminate, Shrewsbury — a non-profit shareholder in UKCBD?
- If you’re a retailer, will you consider subscribing to the site: say £10 per year to support the project and guarantee that your entry is reviewed and updated annually?
- If you’re a publisher or trade supplier, will you consider sponsoring the site? The current trade sponsorships, as mentioned above, have lapsed and I plan to follow those up within the next week or so, but new partners from within the trade would be very welcome.
At the moment these are tentative suggestions for a way forward both for the site as a service to the trade and for me personally — following in the spirit of this year’s trade mantra, Stronger Together, Weaker Apart. Other suggestions are more than welcome: if you’d like to discuss any of these ideas, put forward your own or make a proposal, please get in touch or, of course, leave a comment.
My thanks to everyone who has already been in touch expressing concern for Nick, myself and the future of the LST Bookshop: your prayers and support are very much appreciated.