More positive news to report today.
After two weeks of soft opening, an email was sent out on Thursday announcing the official opening of Inspirational Value Centre. The store is being managed by Derek Ouelette (pictured right) and as the name suggests and a quick look at the store’s Facebook page reveals, bargain books will play a big part in their product mix, many of which are being sourced from FDIR, the remainder book division of Foundation Distributing. The store is located at 2001 Provincial Rd, Windsor, the former Cameron’s Bookstore location.
The Canadian dollar started the week where it left off on Friday. Though slowly losing value against its U.S. counterpart over the past several months, exchange rates are relatively stable.
The graph below shows the cost of purchasing U.S. dollars. Today’s close was 1.1284 .
In a 12-minute interview with CHRI-FM’s Brock Tozer, Doug and Linda Sprunt remember the early days 33 years ago, and then explain the reasons why Ottawa’s only Protestant Christian bookstore will be shutting down after Christmas.
From Huffington Post to Christianity Today, the story of Mark Driscoll’s resignation as pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle was becoming fairly common knowledge by Wednesday afternoon. Religion News Service (RNS) reported:
Mark Driscoll, the larger-than-life megachurch pastor who has been accused of plagiarism, bullying and an unhealthy ego that alienated his most devoted followers, resigned from his Seattle church Tuesday (Oct. 14), according to a document obtained by RNS.
Elsewhere on their site, RNS included the full text of the resignation letter:
By God’s grace I have pastored Mars Hill Church for 18 years. Today, also by God’s grace, and with the full support of my wife Grace, I resign my position as a pastor and elder of Mars Hill. I do so with profound sadness, but also with complete peace…
…I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many things I have confessed and repented of, privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit…
…Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry. Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ…
For Christian retailers, the story began with charges of plagiarism earlier in the year, but this led to a host of other allegations concerning the management of the Seattle multi-site churches. For many years a leading voice among the “Young, Restless and Reformed” movement, Driscoll had books published with Tyndale, Crossway, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson.
The situation I described here on Friday concerning Christmas catalogues in my own store opened up a much larger can of worms. The original blog post was only the first three lines. Then the other paragraphs were added to fill out the rest of the story.
Now, we’ve decided to review every single part of every department and decide what it is we want to be doing as a business. If I were to guess, this is where it’s heading after Christmas:
- Greeting cards will be a thing of the past. At $1.00 for a single stamp, people aren’t sending cards, and younger generation customers never did. (We do have the option of going with a dollar-card format, and might do that, though we have to pick up the inventory in the U.S. at present.)
- We will continue with music for at least another six months only because we have so much hidden inventory tied up in loyalty coupons. (By this I do not mean coupons on product, but coupons that have already been redeemed while we really don’t have anything we need because those shelves are overflowing.) (To work, we would actually need to reconcile coupons on a weekly basis; a store simply can’t afford to be out of things while waiting for a quarterly redemption.)
- Books will move to a situation where eventually, every new release title will be a special order. Our store is filled with things which simply did not fulfill expectations and our order book is crammed with things people actually want, but things it would be unwise to carry in inventory. We’d like to stop ‘tithing’ to the publishing industry and instead give to our local church, like normal people.
- Giftware purchasing will end, except for Abbey Press. I don’t know what their secret sauce or magic formula is, but their product moves.
- Some individual departments will disappear. We’re already selling health books at 40% off. We had a 30% off month in our biography section earlier this year; though I hate to get rid of all those great stories.
- We’re done with flyers, catalogues and supplier promotions.
On the other hand, we see growth in our remainder and overstock book and DVD market. We simply never have any problems of any consequence with the nearly ten suppliers (almost all American) we use in that genre.
If any store doing the Christmas Joy catalogue is interested in an extra 500 unimprinted catalogues, please let me know as our staff are debating dropping the catalogue in view of the price changes.
This is one of the ridiculous situations that emerges when Canada’s book prices are indexed to the U.S. dollar. Decades ago, literary agents (i.e. lawyers) forced this situation where Canada is a extension of the U.S. book market.
However, Canada is distinct where they choose not to give us U.S. SuperSaver items, while at the same time allowing us to have the foreign ITPE editions of key bestsellers, which to this writer, represents an admission that we are indeed a foreign market.
Still, the production of an advertising flyer or catalogue creates an implied contract to provide the items to the dealer at the specified price. I think that would stand up in court. No judge would accept, “The U.S. dollar changed by one cent since we printed the catalogue and we can’t absorb the difference.”
And why do the dealers take the hit? Should not the U.S. publishers be propping up the distributor in light of the benefit of being in the catalogue in the first place?
Furthermore, my order didn’t get placed until after the price change, but before the extra 1% discount was granted. And what’s with that? They upped the prices by 5% but only changed the discount by 1%.
When our staff finalizes a decision on Tuesday morning, I’ll be pushing for tossing the catalogues into recycling.
Although this is a promotion for a website that doesn’t really translate well for the Canadian market, ChooseKidsBibles.com, I would still consider using this Zonderkidz video on my store’s Facebook page or website.
If your store sells magazines, you might want to check out two adjacent articles in the October issue of Christianity Today.
On page 24, an article titled Why Your Bible Was Made in China deals with the curiosity that while three quarters of Bibles manufactured in the country are for export, the good book in Chinese is a restricted commodity. Chances are that many of the Bibles on the shelves in your store were made by Amity Printing Company:
Choosing a printer comes down to “quality and competitive price,” said Tim Bensen, a buyer at Tyndale House Publishers. “We print all over the world,” he said. “Amity does good work.”
Printing Bibles is more difficult than printing other types of books, and requires a certain amount of expertise, he said.
Randy Bishop, director of Bible production at HarperCollins Christian Publishing, agrees. “Bibles have more steps in the production process,” he said. “However, the main feature that makes a Bible unique is thin paper. It takes a special expertise to print, fold, gather, and bind Bible paper.”
Along with providing skilled employment at above-market salaries, Amity maintains government standards in work practices and uses environmentally friendly materials, said Thorne. And the UBS share of Amity profits is used to subsidize Bible distribution in rural China, where Scripture is harder to obtain.
On page 22, a study of reading habits in three African countries reveals Africans Don’t Read African Christians.
The lack of prominent indigenous authors was also evidenced by the library holdings of five major Christian higher education institutions in Kenya, where only one African Christian (John Mbiti) ranked among the top 15 authors with the largest presence on the shelves. Kenyan Christian bookstores had a significantly different top 15, but only one African author (Dag Heward-Mills) cracked their lists.
That article is not online, but cites examples from bestseller lists in Angola and Kenya (where John Maxwell, Rick Warren and Joyce Meyer are mentioned) and Central African Republic (where Billy Graham is #4).
Are things any different in Canada? American authors totally dominate our bestseller lists, and despite historical affinity to the UK, the only British authors who chart well here are ones which have achieved recognition or are marketed through American publishers. The article concludes with the following paragraph, and I wonder if what it says is true for Canada as well:
African Christians are still teaching and learning from other African Christians, says Francis Omondi, canon of All Saints Cathedral in Kampala, Uganda. “[But] most of the reflections, experiences and learning over the years are not captured or documented,” he said. “Therefore relevant and contextual knowledge is not being retained in the community.”
This is post # 1,600 at Christian Book Shop Talk. Thank you for your support.