Further to the post earlier this week on the situation from CTS in regards to the low trade discount more worrying news has been highlighted for the wider trades attention.
Comments posted by John Gaines of Footprints first raised the issue:
Shall we all apply to become Parish Distributors?
Then we would get 25%!!
So they will give Joe Public, who register as Parish Distributors, 15% more discount than retailers.
Come on CTS, we do not run our shops to become worldly rich, but serve our Lord. Why are you trying so hard to hurt Christian Booksellers in the UK?
… depending which combination of Altar Missals they purchase, they stand to get in excess of 12% discount. Therefore, parishes are getting a better deal than the trade. Thankfully, we have a number of very loyal customers who are purchasing thier Missals through us (in the full knowledge that they will receive no discount – and the reason for us not being able to give it) for which we are very grateful. They simply refuse to deal directly with CTS.
Not only was Fergal’s comment patronising in the extreme (as one retailer put it, we should “be satisfied with crumbs from the Master’s table”), if CTS is giving them 25% on the ancilliary materials, it shows no intention on their part to support the trade in any shape or form.
Pope Benedict wrote in his Encyclical Letter “Caritas in veritate”:
“Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty.”
it would certainly seem to appear that CTS are not only not working with Bookshops in a favourable way but actually actively working against them. This really is a sad state of affairs and tarnishes the illusion of any sort of support of Christian Bookselling through physical shops across the UK – Today The Book Depository was still showing a 25% discount off an item claimed to be a non-negotiable 10% to the bookshop trade in the UK.
The sad thing is this worrying situation is just the short end of the long tail it would seem, as became apparent when the MPH hymn book situation was also raised by Andrew Lacey of Glo Bookshops earlier this week. One really begins to wonder when some of the publishing companies, be they books or other, are going to actually come out, be honest and actually admit that they no longer see the physical bookshops as a partner and instead see them merely as competition in the pursuit of of profit.
I would again call on all publishers and suppliers to head over to the Christian Retailing facebook page and read the suppliers pledge, to look at the words and think long and hard on what it means to work together, to be stronger together as was once proposed.
This especially at a time when the the PA and IPG have started to work together to oppose the Amazon takeover of The Book Depository and according to The Bookseller are:
Going further, Mollet said more should be done to investigate the fairness of the market share internet-only retailers have in comparison to physical bookshops. He said: “Whatever the decision in this particular case, we feel it is high time that competition authorities took a closer interest in the developments of the book retail market”
Though the particular situations we are discussing here do not totally revolve around internet only retailers the ethics at the heart of the situation surely remains the same and is something that must be questioned by any that espouse to believe in fairness, right doing and integrity I would propose.