So…did any other booksellers get their weekly Ingram shipment in an Indigo.ca box? Apparently, Ingram ships orders for Chapters and Indigo (the Canadian equivalent of Barnes and Noble) and even adds enclosure sheets promoting the in-store Starbuck coffee chain. That would explain a lot about how they are able to not only offer such a wide title base, but promise to deliver in such a short time: They’re drawing on the warehouse inventory of the largest book distributor in the world.
But it also means that (a) every time I buy a book at Ingram/Spring Arbor, I will be reminded that this is the company that works hand-in-hand with the Canadian company that, if it had its way, would be a category killer to Christian books (or any specialty book niche) as does Amazon; and (b) since my store accepts deliveries through the front door, I may have to explain to my customers that,’No, we do not get our books from Indigo.’
To some of you of course, this isn’t news; but to me it is another reminder about the complexity of doing business and the strange alliances that are often forged.
The Canadian dollar ended the day in 93-cent (US) territory today, closing at 0.9398 with the result that it now costs 1.0641 to purchase U.S. dollars before bank charges of up to 2.75%. Follow the bank rate daily at the Bank of Canada website.
U.S. Christian bookstore chains Lifeway, Mardel and Family Christian offered customers discounted frontlist book, music and DVD titles to a degree unheard of on this side of the border. Pictured above, Family Christian had a total of 7 Chris Tomlin titles for $5, and offered the newest titles by David Platt, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer and Craig Groeschel at half price. Lifeway had the Courageous movie for $3.99, CDs by Sidewalk Prophets, TobyMac and Chris Tomlin for only $4, as well as top selling books like Harbinger and Not a Fan for only $4. Mardel offered a 60% price cut on the newest NIV audio bible, reg. $124.99 selling at only $49.99.
In Canada, David C. Cook was ready a month ago with an offering of Black Friday specials for Canadian stores, but avoided “A” list titles of the type U.S. retailers presented. When U.S. retailers and online vendors such as CBD offer deep discounts, it’s generally understood that authors and artists are taking royalty cuts, but this writer has never understood if this is a contractual obligation, or why any self-respecting author would feel it is in their best interests to have their titles sold so cheaply in print.
In this country, Boxing Day is still considered the prime shopping day of the year, however on Thursday night, the CBC had reported the gap between the two was narrowing, with almost as many planning to shop Black Friday, a shopping event that was unheard of in this country as recently as three years ago.
Religion News Service’s Jonathan Merritt continues to follow the allegations of talk show host Janet Mefferd — reported here last week — that author and pastor Mark Driscoll has plagiarized large sections of other books. There’s a saying in academic life that copying from one source is plagiarism; copying from two sources is research. But in fact, you can copy from one source if you want to as long as you cite your source; as long as you give proper attribution.
Mefferd has uncovered further examples, and posted the texts on a 27-page .pdf document. This really stretches the need for us to use the term “alleged” because,
- Some of the text excerpts are word-for-word, and
- There is a complete absence of footnotes
Mefferd however takes this one step further and alleges a desire to suppress the story on the part of Driscoll’s publishers — Tyndale and Crossway — and/or make her (Mefferd) look like the bad guy. On her show, she suggests the companies are putting profits over principles. You can listen to her radio show here. (Select 11.26.13 and choose hour #2)
Here is some of Merritt’s article, you can read it in full here.
Syndicated radio host Janet Mefferd sent shockwaves throughout social media when she accused megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll of plagiarism in a heated on-air exchange last week. In the last two days, however, Mefferd has turned up the heat with additional allegations. On Tuesday, she posted photocopied evidence that Driscoll borrowed material — this time, word for word — in another of his books, Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1&2 Peter. As Mefferd’s evidence demonstrates, Driscoll published several sections from D.A. Carson’s New Bible Commentary without proper citation.
Mefferd struck again on Wednesday, providing two additional allegations of plagiarism— both taken word-for-word from Carson’s New Bible Commentary and published in Driscoll’s book on 1&2 Peter. Carson has said that preachers who plagiarize are “stealing” and “deceiving.” Requests for a comment sent to the office of D.A. Carson were not immediately returned.
Last week, Mefferd claimed Driscoll plagiarized Dr. Peter Jones for at least 14 pages in his book, A Call to Resurgence. She has since released documentation in an effort to support these claims.
[click the above link to continue reading]
For further background on this story check the investigative blog, The Wartburg Watch.
UPDATE (11/30) — A post on the blog Spiritual Sounding Board reprinted a comment on Janet Mefferd’s site from a reader which purports to be a response from ‘Customer Service’ at Tyndale issued on Wednesday. It reads,
…Tyndale House takes any accusation of plagiarism seriously and has therefore conducted a thorough in-house review of the original material and sources provided by the author. After this review we feel confident that the content in question has been properly cited in the printed book and conforms to market standards.
I must confess having a hard time reconciling this statement with the material Mefferd’s .pdf file posting seems to clearly indicate. Mefferd’s radio show suggests that Tyndale has launched a “Resurgence” brand, therefore they have more at stake here than just the one title. Mefferd also attempted to get a response from Crossway, Driscoll’s other primary publisher, without success.
Follow-up question for industry types who read this blog: What would Tyndale House founder Ken Taylor think of all this?
This appeared on the blog of Brad Lomenick — click here to read at source — a major force behind the annual Catalyst conference:
I’ve worked on some great teams over the past several years, and seen great customer service in action. One of the places I learned the most about great customer service was Lost Valley Ranch, an incredible 4 diamond guest ranch in Colorado. Serving the guests was part of the DNA of the staff. We took great pride in our ability to create a great experience for our guests through unmatched excellent customer service.
Here are a few of the ways we did that through great customer service:
1. Treat someone like you would want to be treated- the Golden Rule. It really does work. And it makes sense. Common sense. Use it.
2. Remember someone’s name. Always. Especially when you’ve met them before or talked with them before.
3. Let your actions speak way louder than your words. Don’t just talk about it. Make it happen. Your work can be a great example of your attitude and commitment to service.
4. Anticipate. Stay a step ahead of your clients or guests. Don’t wait for them to ask for something. Be proactive. Figure it out before they even need it.
5. Go the extra step. Have a “+1″ type of attitude and demeanor. Not just anticipating, but actually doing more than what is expected or required of you. Make memories for your client or guest by wowing them with the “above and beyond.”
6. Engage in meaningful conversation. Listen really really well. Serving creates opportunity for impact- it builds a bridge. So make sure to connect with your guests or clients through conversation when it’s appropriate. Understand who they are by understanding what they read, what they watch, where they travel and what their interests are. If you deal with families, learn their kids names and hobbies. Little things add up.
7. Give permission. Make sure your entire staff and everyone in the organization feels empowered to respond immediately to a customer service issue. Empower your employees at every level in the organization to respond and resolve. Especially those on the front line of service. Give them freedom to say yes as often as possible.
8. Own the relationship, and the result. Your answer should never be “that’s not my job.” Take initiative to see the problem or the issue through to the very end. IF you have to hand the relationship off to someone else, make sure you literally walk them to that other person, introduce them, and hand them off well. If over the phone or through email, the same applies. Constantly make sure you are “walking” with that person through the process.
9. Look people in the eye. This one gets forgotten like #2 above. But makes a big difference.
The 1970′s saw the birth of the daily live Christian television talk shows, starting with programs such as The 700 Club, and along with those shows came the banks of telephone counselors waiting to counsel, pray with and process donations for viewers.
In later years, I was actually on the receiving end of those calls for two different ministry organizations, and as is typical — hindsight is always 20/20 — I wish I had known then what I know now. More specifically, I wish I had known that for every question viewers might ask, there were books by trusted authors that addressed major topics from a Christian perspective. While it will never happen, I wish that I was taking those calls today, and I could, in addition to being a listening ear and offering to pray with the individual, say, “You know you might really benefit from reading….”
Maybe someone should establish a national call-in line for such a person.
There are pastors out there today who probably don’t have the least inkling of the wealth of printed (and audio and DVD) resources that address subjects they are trying to deal with. The average bookseller is probably in tune with at least ten times the knowledge of available products. And that’s just off the top of their heads, without next appealing to various search engines, and then applying their wisdom as to what constitutes a trustworthy publication.
Instead, we’re left with the ‘Wild, Wild West’ that is the internet. People go online seeking advice, not necessarily knowing who is behind the websites they’re reading. Counseling from Christian organizations has gone online as well, but the telephone counselor has been replaced with a keyboard counselor who is probably suffering from the same dearth of knowledge as to Christian print and media titles.
There was, however, one place of refuge for the seeker of practical Christian advice, or deeper understanding of the scriptures: The Christian bookstore. Take the Christian bookstores out of the equation, not to mention the relative losses of people who worked in, managed, or owned such stores, and the gap between products and people continues to grow.
Of course, online vendors carry the same products, and online resources provide today’s consumer with a host of means to verify the spiritual credibility of a particular website or product, if they choose to investigate. But securing the connection between need and applicable resource takes a different route.
It’s too bad there aren’t people answering the phones and online inquiries who are well-versed in the current catalogue of Christian products.
Photo: 100 Huntley Street; David Mainse blog