St Albans to lose second Christian bookshop in as many months

St Albans Diocesan Resource Centre 'to close in the light of increased competition from online booksellers'

E-Round, Feb 2012: St Albans Diocesan Resource Centre 'to close in the light of increased competition from online booksellers'

THE DIOCESE OF ST ALBANS has announced that its bookshop at the Diocesan Resource Centre at Holywell Lodge, the Diocesan Headquarters, is to close down, leaving only a limited library service in its place once shop stock has been sold off. Following the recent closure of the St Albans branch of Quench, this leaves the St Albans Abbey Bookshop and Gift Shop as the City’s sole surviving Christian retail outlet.

Citing the now ubiquitous complaint of “increased competition from online booksellers” as the reason for the closure, the announcement was made last week in February’s issue of E-Round, the Diocesan newsletter, and goes on to pay tribute to Ron Upton, the bookshop manager:

Diocesan Resources Centre
The Diocese of St Albans’ Resource Centre at Holywell Lodge is to close in the light of increased competition from online booksellers but will continue to offer for loan a variety of teaching materials and equipment used by churches and schools across the Diocese. Remaining stock will be offered at reduced prices.

David Nye, Chair of the St Albans Diocesan Board of Finance, thanked the departing Resource Centre Manager, Ron Upton: “Ron is known to dozens and dozens of people across the Diocese for his knowledge of the book and magazine trade, his devoted ministry as a Reader and his friendliness. He has contributed an enormous amount. He goes with many prayers for the future.”

Susan Pope, Diocesan Secretary, added, “I pay Ron warm tribute for what he has given over the last ten years. He will be much missed by colleagues at Holywell Lodge and beyond.”

“To survive, shops have got to find a way forward…”

Echoing concerns about online competition, Peter Southern of Ichthus Christian Books, Northwich, has issued a wake-up call to the local community via the letters page of his local paper, the Northwich GuardianPlea to support Northwich’s shops as they face threat from the internet:

Why use up petrol, and time to make a journey to a shop that may not have the item required in stock when you can sit comfortably at home, browse a site that has every book or item in its store and that can send it within 48 hours? Plus the internet site is open 24 hours whereas a shop is only open 9am-5pm a mere eight hours.

To survive, shops have got to find a way forward, to make it a more viable proposition. Now Kindle has arrived, and once more customers are using the internet to acquire the books they want rather than visiting a bookshop. It’s a very difficult problem that shops have got to solve, and at present we at Ichthus are searching for answers. One thing we do know is that locals need to use the shops they have left or the high street will become a thing of the past.

Answers, please, not on a postcard but in a tweet, status update or comment below…

2 thoughts on “St Albans to lose second Christian bookshop in as many months

  1. Peter has mentioned Kindle in his post ~ this, along with the many other types of eBook readers available, is an increasing feature in the booktrade. I have seven of my books on Kindle, but they are also available as paperbacks in the two Christian bookshops still operating in Bournemouth. This prompts me to ask a question. Does not the author have a responsibility to make sure that one “outlet” does not destroy the other? On second thoughts, does an author have any say in the matter?

  2. Yet more sad news indeed.

    As to an answer – sadly don’t have one, I have some suggestions and idea’s but no concrete answers.

    Some of my suggestions are twitter, facebook, tumbler, mailchimp, blog, website, hive, affilliate schemes, networking, outreaching, educating, involving, promotions, new lines etc etc.

    The solution in as much as there may be one is certainly not likely to be any one thing but it probably is a combination of things.

    If I had to say anything was nearest to an answer in my estimation then I guess I would say it’s summed up these days in ’embrace change’.

    Actually when I think about it that’s probably the only real answer to most things, embrace change don’t run from it, hide from it or cower from it – that only gives it a chance to mutate into a seeming monster of epic proportion while we have our backs turned, instead we need to face it head on and see how we can work with it, dance with it, grab it and let it help us to change into something that grows with it rather than is consumed by it.

    We are children of a Creator God, blessed with His creativity and love, imbued with His spirit and blessing, change is in the very fabric of our beings, change is the ultimate act of creation, and when we embrace it His Spirit surely witnesses to us most clearly and guides us entirely.
    Let’s play, colour outside the lines, take wild voyages of imagination, be artistic and energetic, Daddy is there to guide us, perhaps we just need to go outside now and see what changes we can make and what fun we can have. Maybe that’s what we are supposed to be learning.

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