More Bookshop Closures Announced: CLC Kingston and The Good Book Shop, Belfast

AT TIMES LIKE THIS, I hate running this blog. But these stories must, I think, be told: we do both the Christian book trade and the wider Christian church a disservice if we let these things pass unremarked. So today, with a heavy heart, I pass on the news of two more Christian bookshop closures: CLC Kingston, due to close 11 January 2014, and The Good Book Shop, Belfast, due to close “no later than 28 February” 2014.

As regular readers will know, CLC Kingston is one of the former branches of Wesley-Owen rescued by CLC back in 2009, and the shop had a long history as Chapter & Verse under Steve Mitchell’s ownership before it became part of the Wesley-Owen group. Sadly, despite CLC’s best efforts with a refit and other strategies to draw in customers, economic realities have hit home with rent and service charges exceeding sales income and the shop is no longer viable:

The Good Book Shop’s story is similar in certain respects, with the shop having had a long history as Belfast’s APCK Book Centre before being taken on by the Church of Ireland. That story is told, briefly, in a post last year as the shop prepared to celebrate its tenth anniversary this year:

Just to clarify, the shop has been in existence a lot longer when it was trading as the APCK Book Centre. At that stage the shop was originally situated in Howard Street, before moving to Belfast Cathedral until it expanded and settled in its present position in Church of Ireland House. In 2002, APCK sold off its shops so as to remain as a publishing firm. Subsequently the shop in Dublin closed, and the future of the Belfast branch was held in the balance. But on 14th April 2003, the Bishop’s [sic] of Connor and Down & Dromore, made a deal on the APCK Belfast centre, and thus ‘The Good Book Shop’ began!

Now what should have been a year of rejoicing ends on a much sadder note:

Please pray for all the staff affected by these closures; and if you, gentle reader, are fortunate enough to still have a Christian bookshop in your area, please think carefully about your shopping habits: are the lower prices you can obtain through the likes of Amazon really worth what it costs in terms of the damage to local services and the impact upon people’s lives and livelihoods?

If you must buy Christian books and related products online, please consider doing so via one of the shops signed up to the network; and if your local shop hasn’t signed up yet, please encourage them to do so: it really is a win, win, win for all of us. Read more here: Fifteen Shops now live on the new network.