News Roundup: Behind the Pages with Lion Hudson | Christian Marketplace “is not going away” | Eddie Olliffe at Christian Resources Together | Customer Care | and more…

5 Quid for Life: A Mental Health Safety Net

5 Quid for Life

HAVING BEEN RATHER BUSY with 5 Quid for Life last week, preparing for our inaugural meeting on Saturday 19th March, as well as updating our church website, it proved impossible to post this roundup at the end of last week, so this time around, for a change, a news roundup to start the week.

Thank you to everyone who has provided information for these updates: if you have news you’d like to see featured in the next roundup, please get in touch.

Behind the Pages with Lion Hudson

ON FRIDAY 18th MARCH Lion launched a live facebook interview with Andrea Skevington and Sophy Williams, author and illustrator respectively, to celebrate publication of The Lion Classic Bible, providing a fascinating insight into life behind the pages:

The Lion Classic Bible: A facebook interview with  Andrea Skevington and Sophy Williams

The Lion Classic Bible: a facebook interview with Andrea Skevington, author, and Sophy Williams, illustrator

Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite:

LCB: Sophy, the stories are full of action and drama and I think the illustrations work really well with them, bringing them to life in colour. Which was your favourite illustration to work on? And Andrea, which was your favourite story to tell?

SW: Funnily enough it was the image you have used for the cover! The original design had been approved but when I started drawing it up I thought it wasn’t exciting enough. I had drawn it with Jesus in the foreground looking out towards the fishing boat but spontaneously changed the whole composition. I liked the image of the leaping fish. The animals leaving the ark was fun to do too… and I enjoyed doing David and Goliath!

AS: Hmm, favourite story… there are so many wonderful ones to tell. Perhaps the Prodigal Son was my favourite. I found it very moving to write. Each of the three characters carries such a weight of emotion. I was inspired by a wonderful dance production of the story, by Springs Dance Company. I called my version The Running Father.

LCB: Andrea, you obviously love words! Where do you get your inspiration from? Is there anything you particularly enjoy reading? And Sophy, are you inspired by any other artists or illustrators? Have you always wanted to be an illustrator?

SW: I have always loved to draw and ended up doing what I love as my job, although it took a while to realize that illustration was where I fitted best. There are so many very talented illustrators but a particular favorite is Shaun Tan with The Red Tree being one that everyone should go and find if they don’t know it.

AS: Inspiration comes from many things, like the dance that helped me look again at the Prodigal Son. Most especially, I find inspiration comes outside, and from nature. I love being in the garden, and walking through the quiet beauty of the Suffolk countryside. I love reading and writing poetry. Just last week I discovered a wonderful book of poems in the library by Kerry Hardie, and a collection of Mary Oliver is usually close to hand in the house! Both of these poets see such depth in ordinary things. It’s hard to choose among so many loved writers, but lately I’ve read Home by Marilynne Robinson, Charlotte Grey by Sebastian Faulks, and reading anything by Alexander McCall Smith is like spending time with a kind and witty friend.

On facebook you’ll need to read the interview from bottom to top to follow it in chronological order; alternatively, there’s an easier to follow version in Lion’s own news section: Interview with the author and illustrator of The Lion Classic Bible.

If your shop is on facebook, why not hit that ‘Like’ button and add The Lion Classic Bible to your favourites? Then send the link to all your facebook friends and invite them in to buy it!

Christian Marketplace “is not going away”

ENCOURAGING FEEDBACK from Clem Jackson in his latest Christian Marketplace editorial (April 2011, p.4) responding to my recent observation about the magazine going from a monthly to a bi-monthly. Clem acknowledges that the “last couple of years have been challenging” but emphasises that

Christian Marketplace is not going away and the small team involved with its production will continue to provide a service to the Christian trade. I look forward to us journeying on together.

Sentiments with which I wholeheartedly concur — keep up the good work, Clem, and thank you.

Customer Care: Wise Words from Chris Jewell

CONTINUING WITH CHRISTIAN MARKETPLACE, Chris Jewell offers some wise words on customer service in his latest column, April 2011, p.18. Emphasising that every member of staff has a part to play in delivering “great customer care”, he writes:

If you don’t do this already, get together regularly with your staff, paying no attention to ‘rank’, and begin to brainstorm ideas and suggestions about practical ways of improving your customer care. This has the added benefit of all staff knowing they are working as a team with a common goal, not always apparent in larger organisations.

The failure to do this — to treat all staff with basic dignity and respect as human beings — is undoubtedly one of the factors that led to the collapse of the former SPCK bookshops under the Brewer brothers and which is causing ongoing difficulties elsewhere in the trade…

Eddie Olliffe at Christian Resources Together

EDDIE OLLIFFE, of CWR fame, a contributor to both this site and Christian Marketplace, is one of the speakers at this year’s Christian Resources Together event at High Leigh where, amongst other things, he’ll be continuing the conversation started on his own blog, Christian Book Trade; Facing four incontrovertible facts:

Life will most certainly not return to how it was. We have to move on and change – fast.

It seems to me that there are four incontrovertible facts that we must openly recognise and begin to accept;

  1. The UK has become increasingly secularised and less open to Christian forms of spirituality
  2. Delivery methods and channels – but not content – are changing almost on a daily basis
  3. Consumers, and especially younger people, are not buying as many physical books as in the past
  4. The Christian book trade is undergoing a serious and prolonged period of retrenchment

The mission and calling of distributing the word of God in various formats continues. We urgently need to develop positive conversations to determine how best to respond. By way of encouragement, I fully recognise that there are a good number of shops around the country doing a superb job and working against the odds. May God bless each one. As I’ve written elsewhere, we must provide encouragement and help to each other and eschew condemnation and recrimination wherever possible.

One respondent, Pete Slee, came back with four points of his own which the trade needs to get to grips with, finally posing this challenging question:

… do we need to take a deep breath and ask if, in 2011, the trade really understands how to communicate Good News to the present generation?

It’s a vital question, and the future of the trade hinges upon our response — not only upon our response now and at High Leigh when Eddie reiterates the question, but also upon our ability and willingness to keep the conversation going and develop practical outcomes from it. Last year there was a song and a dance to the tune of ‘Stronger Together, Weaker Apart’ but very little appears to have been done to follow that through as most booksellers and publishers, whether independents or parts of larger conglomerates, seem to have simply pressed ahead with doing their own thing, leading almost inevitably to the shop closures and job losses we’re now seeing.

If you’re going to High Leigh this year, why not make a pledge now, before you get there, to commit yourself and your company to exploring ways of keeping the conversations going afterwards? In the meantime, of course, irrespective of whether or not you can attend, you could join the conversation with Eddie, Pete, myself and several others…

STL do Comic Relief

MORE ENCOURAGING NEWS from STL: Customer Service staff were clearly determined that the company’s current difficulties wouldn’t be allowed to undermine their sense of fun as they joined in with Comic Relief on Friday. From the STL Blog, Today is a colourful day in Customer Services:

STL do Comic Relief 2011

Red Nose Day 2011: STL do Comic Relief

There’s a lot more than fun and games going on at STL as well, of course: make sure you keep an eye on their blog to keep yourself up to speed with latest news on stock availability, new supplier agreements and much, much more…

IVP Vacancies, March 2011

IVP Vacancies, March 2011

Vacancies at IVP

AND FINALLY, for the jobseekers amongst us: IVP have some new vacancies, full details of which should be available at from tomorrow, 22nd March 2011:

  • Commissioning Editor (Full-time or Part-time)
  • Editorial Assistant
  • IT/Web Intern (Salaried)
  • Web/Marketing Intern (Salaried)

Applications for all four posts close in May (some early, some late) so there’s plenty of time to prepare if you’re interested…

3 thoughts on “News Roundup: Behind the Pages with Lion Hudson | Christian Marketplace “is not going away” | Eddie Olliffe at Christian Resources Together | Customer Care | and more…

  1. Regarding staff working together as a team with respect etc, sadly post Brewer, this is still not happening at the Durham Cathedral Shop where the new management team do not regard the skills and experience of the staff they took over, and seem to have liitle regard for the profession of bookselling, treating them as retail staff and assuming there is no skill to bookselling. What a relief that the team in Leicester appear to be treated with proper regard by their Cathedral and Diocese.

  2. Pingback: Let’s Talk: Call for Christian Booksellers and Suppliers to drop private agendas at High Leigh « The Christian Bookshops Blog

  3. Pingback: Broken News: Farewell to Christian Marketplace as Premier/CCP pull the plug | The Christian Bookshops Blog

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