OVER THE PAST YEAR OR SO we’ve had numerous conversations and discussions about the future shape of Christian bookselling and retailing. We’ve seen the sad demise of the former SPCK bookshops (a story that’s far from over), the break-up of Wesley Owen following the collapse of STL UK when Biblica overreached itself (for what that cost, see Clem Jackson’s recent report for Christian Marketplace: IBS STL (UK) Administration closes), and a number of independents struggling or closing down; but we’ve also seen the rise of Living Oasis with its mixed message about developing a Christian presence on the high street whilst simultaneously “de-Christianising” its storefronts, various independents springing to life or changing hands, and more and more shops discovering the world of social media (find Christian bookshops on facebook | twitter). One thing is clear: Christian bookselling/retailing in the UK is not yet dead.
But is it truly alive? Is there a better way? Should we be seeking a new model for a Christian presence in our towns and cities? Has the time come, if not to discard the bookshop/retailer/café concept entirely, to develop something else? But if so, what?
Ian Matthews takes up the conversation:
Ian Matthews has worked in Christian publishing and communications for 13 years, before which he worked in retail management for a number of years. He is currently Director of International Partnerships for EthnoGraphic Media, a non-profit documentary production organisation. Their current film is Little Town of Bethlehem (www.littletownofbethlehem.org) which follows the growing nonviolence movement in Israel and Palestine, and is currently being screened in churches and university campuses around the world. It is available on retail release through Kingsway in the UK.
- Visit Ian’s blog, Lost in the Heart of Somewhere
- Find Ian on facebook
- Follow Ian on twitter @ianjmatt
- Next UK screening of Little Town of Bethlehem: Worcester, 11th Jan 2011
Some Related Posts (most recent first)
- Woolworths, Waterstone’s and Religious Publishing: A Waste of Shelf Space? 22/10/2010
- Church Times: Bishop Calls for Churches to Appoint Christian Bookshop Champions, 14/09/2010
- Does the future have a bookshop? 02/06/2010
- Shout Out to Publishers: “Bookshops and booksellers are still your most significant route to market”, 22/05/2010
- It’s not the books, it’s the experience, 30/03/2010
- Church Times Blog: New Living Oasis Christian bookshops to be ‘three times the size’ of former Wesley Owen shops, 01/03/2010
- To draw people in, you have to reach out, 15/02/2010
- A Future and a Hope for the UK’s Christian Bookshops, 17/01/2010