- Celebrating 10 Years Online
- Commentaries Sale at Wesley Owen
- More Shops Seeking New Owners
- More Than Another Day of Prayer
- New Blog for Caritas Music
Celebrating 10 Years Online
THIS YEAR sees both the UK Christian Bookshops Directory and The Good Bookstall celebrating our tenth anniversaries: UKCBD was launched 10 years ago this month, in February 2001, whilst TGB was launched 10 years ago next month, March 2001 — and what an amazing 10 years it’s been!
We’ve seen STL expand its territory, Prayer-of-Jabez style, only to see the whole edifice here in the UK come tumbling down when they did a builder-who-didn’t-count-the-cost routine; we’ve seen the destruction of the SPCK Bookshops chain in the hands of the gruesome twosome, Messrs Phil and Mark Brewer; we’ve seen dozens of independent bookshop closures; and we’ve seen Christian Marketplace go from being a monthly independent magazine to a bi-monthly, surviving only as a subsidiary of another giant, the Premier Christian media empire.
We’ve also seen the phenomenal rise of online Christian bookseller Eden.co.uk, the emergence of the ebook and yet — in the face of all these challenges — many shops rising, phoenix-like, from the ashes of those destructions, an important reminder if ever we needed one that God isn’t interested in our ambitions and empires, no matter how much we persuade ourselves that it’s God’s kingdom we’re building — because our God, the God we meet in Jesus, isn’t ultimately found in huge presences or high profiles but is revealed rather in small and hidden things, babies born in poverty, bookshops in backstreets and market halls, and bookstalls at the back of forgotten churches. We strive for ‘Mission on the High Street’ but God calls us to mission wherever we are, with whatever we have.
At UKCBD, I’m celebrating 10 years with a simple commitment: over the next year a minimum of 10% of all UKCBD income will be donated to the new up-and-coming charity 5 Quid for Life: A Mental Health Safety Net. It’s a project that I’ve been privileged to be part of from the outset, emerging out of a friend’s desperation as she poured out her heart over the disruption the current government’s changes to the UK benefits system would have on her. If you haven’t already done so, read about it here: Welcome to 5 Quid for Life; and if you’d like to make a donation, you can do so here: 5quidforlife.org.uk/#donate
For further reflections on the changes the last ten years have wrought, see Mary Bartholomew’s latest Good Bookstall editorial; and as we celebrate 10 years online, congratulations must also go to Luke Bunger and his team at one of those small independents, The Hub, Walsall, as they celebrate their first anniversary after surviving the collapse of Wesley Owen … talking of which…
Commentaries Sale at Wesley Owen
THANK YOU to Wesley Owen Birmingham for letting me know about their commentaries sale: 25% off all commentaries; but anyone wanting a slice of the cake needs to move fast — offer ends tomorrow, Saturday 26th February. Available from all branches and online too!
Meanwhile congratulations are due to the inimitable David Chant, former WO Birmingham branch manager, who has moved on into ‘semi-retirement’ from where he should be able to spend a little more time promoting Planet BB. Have you ordered your stock yet? David’s itching to hear from you…
More Shops Seeking New Owners
THE ARK is a Christian Bookshop and Café which opened its doors in 2004 and has gone on to serve the local community and churches ever since, but owner Ginny Ayling now wishes to retire and hand on the business to someone else: sale price £325,000, Freehold. Could that someone be you or someone you know?
The shop is well loved and supported by the local people. Describing the shop, the Revd Peter Salisbury, Vicar of Lymington, said:
The Ark is an important part of the Christian outreach in Lymington and is an excellent central meeting place. All the volunteers are from the local churches and the bookshop gives advice and an ordering service, which we use for our personal and church orders. The Café, which is always buzzing at lunchtime, has a very high reputation and offers friendly and personal service plus gorgeous food – I’m usually in there about once a week!
CARDIFF CHRISTIAN BOOKSHOP is currently owned and operated by the Evangelical Movement of Wales, who have reluctantly concluded that they can no longer support the shop. From the shop’s February Prayer Letter:
The Evangelical Movement of Wales has decided most reluctantly that it must bring its support of the Cardiff Christian Bookshop to an end. This is most regrettable since it has been such a witness in the heart of the city for almost 50 years. It is, however, very keen that the work and witness should continue and would actively invite Churches and other interested Christian groups to assume responsibility for it and to come forward with proposals for its future operation. The Movement is continuing to own and support the shop in the short term and the business will continue to function as usual.
The business costs around £55,000 per year to run in terms of staffing, rent and other expenses: download the February Prayer Letter (pdf) if you’d like to know more.
More Than Another Day of Prayer
JOY MCILROY of Ashburnham Books has been busy liaising with Clem Jackson at Christian Marketplace to draw up plans for another Day of Prayer for the trade — but this year it’s more than a day of prayer: the vision is for a season of prayer to run through Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, 9th March. Announcement here: Day of Prayer for Christian Trade.
The announcement suggests sharing plans via the Christian Authors, Booksellers and Publishers facebook group. Should you choose to do so, please note that that is a closed group, set up specifically to facilitate discussion within the trade away from the public eye — in other words, not the best forum to use if you wish to engage with others beyond the trade…
As with previous occasions I’ll be updating this site’s Day of Prayer page with news and updates as and when they emerge: please do feel free to post details of any plans there and to point members of the general public in that direction.
New Blog for Caritas Music
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, another birthday this month as Caritas Music turned 13 back on February 2nd and have now launched a brand new bright-and-shiny blog for Caritas Music / Eschenbach Editions, where you’ll soon find all the latest news appearing from these two independent music publishers.
- Caritas Music Celebrates 12 Years, Feb 2, 2010
- Caritas Music :: New Bookshops or Music Stores welcomed, August 19, 2008