News Roundup: Baker Academic move to SPCK | Hodder titles now available from IVP | Letchworth Christian Bookshop hold Bible Reading Marathon | Living Oasis Phase 2 Openings Delayed | and more…


Baker Academic move to SPCK

AS ANNOUNCED IN DECMBER LAST YEAR following their acquisition of 200 titles from Hendrickson, Baker have now moved their range of academic titles (Baker Academic and Brazos Press) from Lion Hudson to SPCK. Commenting on the move, Dwight Baker, President of Baker Publishing Group, said:

While Lion Hudson has been doing an excellent job in selling these titles into the trade, Baker felt the need to move their Academic titles to a firm that has had a long history of publishing and selling to the academy in the United Kingdom.  The purchase of over 200 academic titles from Hendrickson Publishers this past October was the tipping point for this decision.

Baker’s other imprints, including Bethany House, Revell, Baker Books and Chosen, remain with Lion Hudson whilst Alban Books continue to represent all other Hendrickson lines to the UK.


Hodder titles now available from IVP

Hodder titles now available from IVP

Hodder titles now available from IVP

IVP HAVE ADDED Hodder Faith to their distributed titles list, bringing NIV Bibles and top selling authors such as Tim Keller and Philip Yancey into their portfolio. The announcement was made in the March edition of their monthly e-Bookmark trade newsletter, with further details in a separate trade announcement (pdf, 2.6MB).

Adding the NIV to their list alongside the full range of the ESV from Crossway as well as the NRSV, Good News Bible and range of Greek/Hebrew texts already available via HarperCollins Religious and Bible Society respectively makes IVP an increasingly important player in UK Bible distribution.

The full range of ESV and Crossway titles are also available from STL (pdf, 3.1MB) with 90 day payment terms and higher discounts on initial orders.


The Comet 24: Letchworth bookshop celebrate The Bible with reading marathon

The Comet 24: Letchworth bookshop celebrate The Bible with reading marathon

Letchworth Christian Bookshop hold Bible Reading Marathon

THIS SATURDAY, 9th April, sees Letchworth Christian Bookshopwinners of STL’s Golden Ticket in October last year — launch a Bible reading marathon as part of its celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible.

The project, which runs for two weeks with readings by volunteers in 15 minute slots during shop opening hours, has already made local headlines in The Comet (pictured).

Full details are available on a dedicated website, www.wordaloud.webeden.co.uk. Anyone wishing to take part is invited to check the schedule posted via Google Docs then contact the shop to book a slot.


Living Oasis Phase 2 Openings Delayed

LIVING OASIS LEEDS have apologised on facebook and in a letter posted at Network Leeds (4th April 2011) for the further delay to opening at their new location, advising prospective customers to contact the Harrogate store. Previously billed at Network Leeds as “the first Living Oasis shop to realise the full vision the Nationwide Christian Trust had when taking over 19 former Wesley Owen stores in early 2010”, the new Leeds store was originally expected to open by late January/early February this year but has run into financial difficulties.

A series of prayer meetings is being held, next meeting 14th April 2011, with a fundraising meal scheduled for 6th May 2011. The actual opening date for the new store remains unknown.

The new Liverpool store — originally expected to open within “a couple of months” of the old store’s closure (facebook announcement 29/12/2010) — appears to be facing similar difficulties with no updates to their facebook page since 22nd March when a series of weekly prayer meetings was announced. As of the date of this report, no indication of when the store will open has been given.


Unicorn Tree Books flood claim declined

CITY OF LINCOLN COUNCIL SOLICITORS, Hill Dickinson, have declined the flood claims submitted by Unicorn Tree Books and other retailers based in Lincoln Central Market following damage caused when the duty caretaker was unable to find the stop cock after a pipe burst during harsh weather in November last year (reported here 02/12/2010).

In a letter dated 25 March 2011 claiming to have “fully investigated the matter” Hill Dickinson state that “our client’s duty to maintain is one of reasonableness” and conclude that “the incident was caused solely by the extreme temperatures experienced at the time” — a conclusion that completely disregards the Council’s failure to follow its own published advice to householders who may be concerned about the possibility of burst pipes in their homes:

Preventing frozen and burst pipes

  • Make sure you know where your stop tap is and that it is working.

One can only wonder quite what is going on in the mind of someone who regards such gross negligence as “reasonable”…


Web Shops for Churches

Premier Church Insight: Endis Inspire Shop

Premier Church Insight: Endis Inspire Shop

PREMIER CHRISTIAN MEDIA, publishers of Christian Marketplace magazine, have joined forces with Endis in partnership with STL Distribution to deliver online shops direct to churches via a custom-branded, fully integrated web service. Orders, returns and refunds will all be processed by STL in Carlisle — identified only by their address on the demo shop Contact Us and Returns pages — backed up by a dedicated telephone support line.

Full details of the service may be found on the Premier Church InsightEndis Inspire Shop introductory page.

Reactions from retailers have ranged from a sense of outrage through concern about the implications for church bookstall services to cautious optimism at the possibility that the service could conceivably form the basis for a Christian version of Gardners’ Hive.

STL have emphasised that Endis are simply another trade customer and STL’s involvement with the scheme is solely order fulfilment. They are, however, currently investigating options to provide a comprehensive web solution for retailers: STL remain 100% committed to supporting and working with their retail partners, including amongst other initiatives the development of a Church Resources training programme designed to equip shop managers with the expertise needed and a sales kit that will enable them to pull local churches together and present new or existing product that will enhance church life.


Women in Christian Publishing Inaugural Event

WOMEN IN CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING, a new group created by the Publishers Association, held its inaugural event on 1st April 2011 with a visit to the Houses of Parliament hosted by the Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who was appointed as Speaker’s Chaplain in June last year.

Those present included Victoria Beech (Beech Publishing/Christian Education) and Janet Evans (Dernier Publishing), who has published some photographs of the event on facebook:

Dernier Publishing > Facebook Photos > Women in Christian Publishing

Dernier Publishing's Facebook Photos: Women in Christian Publishing Inaugural Event

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21 thoughts on “News Roundup: Baker Academic move to SPCK | Hodder titles now available from IVP | Letchworth Christian Bookshop hold Bible Reading Marathon | Living Oasis Phase 2 Openings Delayed | and more…

  1. Web Shops for Churches

    Well an interesting article but as retailers we have known about it for some time.
    It has the potential for closing a lot of shops, unfortunately, as I can see churches jumping on board and ecouraging the congregation to purchase this way in order to increase funds during the harder times ahead.
    Gifts, cards and candles do not turn over enough to keep a shop open.

    Interestingly though STL have about 4 months left to supply retailers with a personalised web functionality before they breach the partnership agreement – will be interesting to see if this becomes the route.

  2. It is indeed very sad to hear, as David has said, but on one level you can’t fault Endis for their business plan (though one does wonder if STL has considered will this initiative be enough to carry the business should the bookshops really be hit hard and catastrophically by such things as this! sometimes we have to think these things through and ponder short term against long term, I’m doing it daily at the minute!) – However perhaps we should talk to Endis about seeing if they would be willing to be our ‘Christian Hive’ before our shops become an empty tomb!
    Perhaps they would be willing as fellow missioners for christ to work the Hive deal through their established medium, thus potentially to the benefit of the wider community and each other – I mean by this the idea of gardners Hive that gives to the nearest christian bookshop that has registered with them 5% at least of each transaction – this way a real community ethos is built up with a real fairtrade ethos working at heart and best yet we show that Christians really can and do want to support each other – even when it may mean a financial impact!
    Worth considering perhaps.

  3. SPCK. Seems like a negative move to me. At least Lion Hudson have reps who tell us about the books and we get a decent discount through the partnership scheme. Now we will get reduced discount and will have to rely on mailouts.

    PREMIER/STL. We lose enough church business to the Internet and to publishers direct because we can’t compete with the offers that they get online. This will only encourage that process even further and use the full resources of STL and Premier to get more church business.
    It seems dissapointing that they didn’t see this as an opportunity to work on an internet church scheme THROUGH the bookshops rather than bypass them.

    • Maybe the Premier/STL/Endis situation is something the BA Christian Booksellers Group and the PA Christian Suppliers Group could discuss at some point, Geoff?

      It’s good to see the two groups both regularly featured in Christian Marketplace but I get the impression that they’re still largely talking past one another rather than to one another — it would be good to see them addressing a common cause of concern (assuming the CSG view this as a matter of concern, of course).

    • I agree about the SPCK thing.

      We don’t sell a lot of Baker Academic stuff, and our Lion Hudson rep certainly doesn’t push them on us, but we DO still see them as part of his regular cycle, and, you know what, we’ve ordered, and sold, a fair few of them, because we’ve seen them, and know our market. They’ll never sell in hundreds, but each cycle, there is a half a dozen titles of interest that we will take a chance on (in no small part because the discount we get through Lion gives us the freedom to mark them down a little to help them move, if needed)

      Now they’ve moved to SPCK, at least from a trade POV, it seems like a real step backwards… no less than 10% reduction in discount for most of us, no reps (that I see) and significantly reduced incentive to “give them a go”, (I’m a partner with Lion Hudson, and it’s much harder to say no to a company you partner with than one you do not) I feel that, from a trade perspective, it’s a real downer.

      I’m sad that they couldn’t have signed a deal which allows Lion to continue distributing them to the trade, while giving SPCK license to market them to academic institutions and even retail them to the general public.

      SInce both SPCK and Lion Hudson are distributed through Marston, I can’t imagine it would be too difficult.

      At very least, I would have hoped to see a commitment from SPCK to freeze the discount we currently receive on Baker Academic titles, but it appears that will not be the case, which is a shame.

  4. Web Shops for Churches

    I would join those who are expressing disappointment that this is going ahead in this way. I’m not sure that an initiative that could potentially damage STL’s core customer base should be regarded as ‘simply another trade customer’. While we can accept reasonable competition from publishers’distributors own websites, the stated ‘15% commission’ would certainly tempt many churches to direct their people that way. And out of ‘our’ way…..

    I’m sure, as Geoff says, that some way could have been worked out to keep ‘bookshops’ onside and integrated in this. Full marks to Phil for picking this up – bottom of the class marks for Endis & STL – a ‘trade’ notification could have been done, at least via the STL Bulletin or blog, or Christian Marketplace, I would have thought.

    So maybe I will just have to learn how to make things work on gifts, cards and candles. Just received nail clippers with a ‘fish’ on them- that’s the kind of market that doesn’t work online!!

    • Good one! Just away to find out which member of staff was responsible for this latest attack of Bible bling- we also have the nail files as well, if anyone else out there is interested in lines that will make up for the loss of all those ‘book’ thingys we used to sell……

  5. Web Shops for Churches

    All I would say is, let’s give Endis/STL a little time.

    I wonder how many people who have expressed concern here have actually contacted Endis about this?

    Generally, at least in my communications with them, they have been helpful, and, at least in principal, happy to work with us retailers in some form or fashion.

    It appears that their goal is not to “steal” church partners from existing bookshops, but offer an alternative to those towns who have recently lost their local bookshop, so we’ll see.

    • As Melanie says, the issue is not really Endis- although yet another entrant into our overcrowded & declining market is not the most welcome news. I actually think this is a brilliant idea for churches, and I can imagine a lot of Treasurers being very keen to promote- so the impact on existing businesses is potentially very significant indeed.
      It is a free market, and if Endis/STL are entering the market in this way, so be it. We will need to be better at what ‘we’ do in bricks & mortar retailing to ensure our own survival.

      But somewhere in the discussions with STL, one would have hoped that there would have been serious thought given to how this would impact local stores, and, significantly, the message it gives about the perceived value of ‘Christian’ products. Customers are not stupid! They know that, if a company can afford to give a blanket 15% back, then the real worth of that product is only 85% of the advertised price- and probably a lot less. There is already a widespread impression that ‘Christian product’ is overpriced- probably it is….!

      I am not advocating price fixing for a minute. But we know we need margin to survive (and so does STL). So the 15% ‘return’ advertised here does seem to be overly generous. And I think that would be my main concern about the part of STL in this. Given the potential impact on local stores, and the overall long term impact on the trade, I would have expected STL to ask what business model was that Endis were proposing, and perhaps to have looked at persuading them to go for a lower ‘return’. Maybe they did- again, it is a free market, and we need to work with what we have.

      However, given the storm created last year when Kingsway were selling online at a lower price than available to Bookshops, this should have given pause for thought…..

      Just out of interest, I wonder if I just missed the notification that the Kingsway warehouse appears to be shut of TWO WEEKS!? I enquired yesterday (Tuesday 19th) about stock for a conference next weekend, to receive the following automated response- and no-one did call me back about the query. So it looks like no Kingsway stock at our event!! or in the shop for some weeks, by the looks of things, given Kingsways continuing issues in getting stock orders despatched…..

      Due to our stock take, Tuesday 19th April before 17:00 will be the last chance to place orders and to receive them before the Easter period. We will start despatching orders from the week commencing 3rd May.

      Crikey……! any shops out there close for two weeks for stocktaking, I wonder?

      • I didn’t know this!

        But then I wasn’t actually informed that the 50% off pre-ordered pre-published Kingsway product had ended until Oli told me when he tried to sell me extra copies to get the 50% and I expressed surprise as I had thought they would be anyway.

        I think Oli was a little surprised when instead of increasing my order I then went back and decreased some of the quantities instead -especially as the discount I get from STL & some other places is slightly better than that from Kingsway itself, especially when based on rrp prices.

        Apparently the change in discount structure is because most of the trade weren’t ordering more copies anyway at 50% than they had been and some weren’t then price matching anyway – indeed a case where it would seem that yet again trade partners (and yes even if not signed up to a partnership scheme if I work/trade with you I consider you a partner with me engaged in our trade!) are the ones with the short end of the stick and perhaps expected to make up/support for margin erosion elsewhere, whilst at the same time being used as the reason why they can’t rely on just our declining business etc etc.

        I know this is a common business practice – after all look at the way banks, telecoms and cable/sat companies treat existing customers at the expense of new customer deals – but I do keep hoping that as those purporting to being ‘Christian’ businesses as opposed to secular businesses that just happen to trade in christian product, that it would be possible to rise above these types of things.

        Anyway what I intended to say was… Communication would seem to be a little lacking somewhere… but Oops I segued into talking of one of my pet bugbears again – and I so said I was going to consider giving it up for lent -lol.
        Oh and no – one day for stocktake and then back to normal – and only Bank Holidays off over Easter too, and yes that does include Good Friday on which I will be closed because it is a bank holiday despite of what my local council landlord keeps trying to tell me and would like to impose on me from what I can make out 😉

        • Hello Melanie,

          One of my customers showed me the most recent comments from Andrew Lacey and pointed out that I had at last achieved fame by being mentioned in this illuminating and thought provoking blog. Of course I had to have a look, and was very pleased to see Andrew’s kind words (hope everything arrives in good time Andrew) I then read your comments Melanie, with regard to the notice given to the trade of kingsway’s shutdown (3 working days) and the 50% pre-order discount we offer to the trade.
          Just to confirm; a letter was sent to all the trade over a week ago which was included in the new releases catalogue we send out each month to all trade accounts. To be fair, I also had shop managers in my area who had not noticed it (mostly because they are so busy, they tend not to look at postage packs in any detail until they can find a minute to do so…and some time it’s overlooked for the want of that minute! I’m really sorry if this has come as a surprise to you and even more sorry if you lost out on business as a result. In future, if we do have any major announcements that would effect the service we provide, I intend to email all my accounts with the information, as well as any letter that is sent.

          With regard to the Kingsway 50% discount that we offer to the trade on all Kingsway propriety music product; this was introduced as a way of helping bricks and mortar stores compete with online stores who often are able to reduce the rrp to levels that it may be hard to compete with on b&m stores discount normal terms. This discount is still in place for pre-orders when a quanity of 3 or more CD’s are ordered – this default quanity was introduced, not to penalise those who who gift us with their trade and loyal support, but rather as a way of gaining better profile within stores on product that historically, sales wise, shops would do well with anyway (Praise & Worship titles mainly)and so far, this has proved to be both popular and successful in achieving better displays in the music area and in competing with other shops, online or otherwise. When shops have coupled their intro price offers (using the 50%….as with the new Tim Hughes album) and using social media (Facebook & Twitter) the discount the shop has offered has helped to draw in sales that the shop might otherwise not have won.
          I hope this clears up any misunderstanding…

          As Oliver is on leave, if you do have any further questions, please email me (dborg@kingsway.co.uk) or call on 07764 391013

          Happy Easter to all!

      • OK- I stand corrected- thank you to David Borg for pointing out there was a letter sent out in the ‘pack’ last week- guess who hasn’t looked at it yet! Will need to be a bit more diligent about checking through this in future….. And David is organising stock for my event, so thank you for that. Now I’m off to got through that pile of stuff to see what else I have missed!

        • lol – done that myself a time or two Andrew, my fave is when BRF phone me and I haven’t even opened the envelope even though it’s sealed with the label with the date and time they are going to phone, sometimes days just creep up speedily and like secret ninja’s!
          but in this instance I would have to say … erm what pack? and I can say I have opened most of my mail the last few weeks 😉

        • We have used the pre publication 50% off to be able to give some introductory price offers when we have bought in quantity. Hence with the new Tim Hughes or new Graham Kendrick we have been able to offer it at £10.99 rather than £12.99.
          Has this helped sales? – Hard to tell but it certainly hasn’t hindered them and helps us to give a competitive edge that is really appreciated by our customers (and by us – thanks Kingsway). Hopefully it also creates some loyalty and an expectation to think of us when customers know that a new release is due.
          Now all I need to do is to create some bright, eye-catching sticker that highlight this introductory price.

        • David, thanks for your ‘post’ on the blog- much appreciated. The stock you ordered for me arrived in good time for the conference, so being ‘signed out’ even as I type….. Now all we need to do is sell it!!!

  6. Luke,
    I’m not miffed with Endis – they are simply building their business proactively and cannot be faulted for doing that, especially as they aren’t a trade partner with any of us – however I am a tad miffed with STL soon to be Trust Media Distribution for not thinking to ask Endis to do something with the trade first! and in tandem with them.
    As to it not being their goal to ‘steal’ customers – I am completely sure it isn’t their goal at all, that is sadly just an unfortunate side effect it will have, in the same way that Kingsway shop & others didn’t and don’t intend to take away our customers but nevertheless still do because of the market share impact they have and the reductions on price they offer.
    It is sadly just a cause and effect proposition.

  7. One issue that has occurred to me in respect of the STL/Endis situation is that STL are certainly not the one-stop shop that they used to be, and customers will find themselves constricted in what they are able to order if STL are the sole destination for order fulfilment. What, for example, if a customer wished to order an IVP title? Or Good Book company? Or Kevin Mayhew? Or SCM/Canterbury, Church House etc? Or anything else from the large range of titles that are regularly out of stocK at STL?

  8. Hi David,

    Thanks for taking the time out to respond I really appreciate it, and your fame was already known around the place anyway I think, i’ve certainly heard of you before now and am sure you must have got a passing mention at some point on here before now 🙂

    Thanks for pointing out what pack the letter was in but I’m still pretty sure I haven’t received my kingsway new titles pack – but then mail does sometimes go awry and can even go missing for a few weeks before showing up slightly mangled after it’s battle through the somewhat bermuda trainglish doncaster/lincoln sorting office experience!
    Having said this though I do cheerfully admit that on this occassion had it shown up I probably would have likely ignored it anyway as it would have arrived after my visit from Oli the other week so would have been considered old news anyway – eek!

    Don’t worry neither I (or kingsway) have lost any sales as my box of Oli order new titles arrived earlier this week – and luckily STLD (soon to be Trust Media Dist.) are also lovely and full with the new product at the minute so it can be got on next day turnaround anyway should anyone run short in the intervening periods.

    To be fair your response is similar to what Oli said and my response remains the same I’m afraid, and that again is broadly similar to what I said to Oli as no doubt he will conform on his return back from hols.

    I do like the way you phrase some things – especially the ‘this was introduced as a way of helping bricks and mortar stores compete with online stores who often are able to reduce the rrp to levels that it may be hard to compete with on b&m stores discount normal terms.’
    lol. I think I really like you and the way you think and articulate some things 🙂

    I agree that multiple copies make for nice displays and allow market share impact and brand awareness etc however I still stand by everything I’ve said this time and previously.

    Perhaps if instead of a notional RRP being charged and then invoiced to bm shops and instead the ASP (Actual Selling Price) was charged and then invoiced to shops more copies would be taken on a whole (and sold!) even at the lesser standard discount percentage and everyone everywhere would be happy and playing on an even field!

    For instance on Kendrick’s ‘Banquet’ or even Tim Hughes’ wonderful ‘Love Shine Through’ the RRP is 12.99 but the ASP is actually 10.99 when we take Kingsway shop as the baseline.

    Of course Amazon undercuts significantly at 8.99 (8.83 for Tim Hughes) but then I guess thats because they only accept the discount on the ASP and not at the RRP – don’t they? – and if not then i’m assuming it’s the 60% as standard with producers paying the cost of carriage to them even on single copies type deal …

    So on Banquet at 12.99 at 50% its invoice value is 6.49 but then that’s only at initial pre-pub sales so then it drops to standard discount thereafter and works out at 8.71 but if it was standard at the asp of 10.99 it would be 7.37 a copy! and on promotion well lets not go there as we’re well into Amazon and supermarket territory discounts 😉

    Personally I’d take that 7.37 as preferential everytime as it still leaves me enough to be able to compete with Amazon if I really have to, let alone kingsway shop and other etailers or supermarkets, every single time and not just when it’s newly released!

    However I ackowledge this is unlikely to happen as we bm shops just don’t have the clout to get something like this in the way that Amazon do more’s the pity and that’s why I keep wishing we could all act in very good faith and really show the way of fairtrade at heart and true christian ethics at root (ohh I’m a hopeless optimist trapped in a pessimists shell, but i’ll keep praying and working on it and everyone in the room said … Amen).

    So I cut my cloth according to my means and that means that Kingsway (in this particular instance of demonstration) loses out a little by having to give greater discounts to the undercutters (though I suppose in their own online case that’s perhaps a gain?) and instead some other suppliers etc pick up the sales in my shop due to the better terms they give me as standard (and not just media suppliers here there are book publishers and others to which this also applies – they know who they are I’ve told them! honest and open to a fault me, a certain rep or two amongst others has told me so – thank you guys!).
    So I guess Kingsway (et al) then have to give higher discount probably to the suppliers that I get their product from at better terms than the % off RRP I get from them directly.

    However to end on a positive, David you are completely and utterly right about the positive benefits of both twitter and facebook and even having blogs as they can and do indeed work wonders for improving sales and indeed gaining new customers etc and you’ll be pleased to know that through a tweet the other day I got a twitter order for a copy of Matthew West’s ‘Story of My Life’ which really is a fantastic album after I tweeted how good it was!

    BTW are we fb friends and tweet followers – if not then do friend me 🙂
    twitter: @unicorntreebks
    fb: Shop page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Unicorn-Tree-Books/74278507506
    me: MelanieCarroll.UnicornTree

  9. oops sorry ‘Story of your life’ by matthew west not my life there! honestly i’ve got it so that it’s that particular song and line set as my alarm call on my phone! you’d think i’d get it right.

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