Archive for October, 2008

Baker Book Group Locks In With David C. Cook

Bethany House Publishing is back at David C. Cook.   The imprint, now part of Baker Book group was a staple during the years that Cook was better known to retailers as Beacon Distributing.  In a statement e-mailed to Canadian accounts today, David Lewis, executive vice-president of sales and marketing at Baker Books announced a number of final decisions had been made from feedback received from Canadian retail accounts.

“…The summary of your messages was;

1. That you wanted one Canadian distributor for our titles (not several).

2. That you wanted to retain the freedom to order direct from us and US Distributors.

3. That you wanted sales reps to visit your stores to tell you about new titles and specials.

As a result we have been talking to many Canadian businesses and shipping companies and such.  Below I’d like to summarize what we have decided – to this point.

1. David C Cook (DCC) will be our Canadian Distributor and Sales team to the CBA market.

2. Baker Publishing Group (BPG) along with Thomas Nelson have hired Gary Wall and Tessa LaRiviere to sell to General  Market accounts in Canada.

3. BPG will bill and ship to any account in Canada – including you.  However, we prefer that you use DCC and believe they will serve you well.

4. If you do order direct we will pay a commission to DCC for the work they will be doing to tell you about our titles.  We want them to be healthy and stable.

5. We will bill and ship in Canadian Dollars to help maintain pricing stability in the market.  We are planning to use a 1.25 factor rounded to the nearest $.99.

6. We will participate in Canadian consumer flyers along with DCC.

7. We have hired Ellen Graf-Martin’s firm to do publicity for our titles in Canada.”

Lewis added that the ability of stores to deal directly with their Grand Rapids office was an accomodation; their preference is that stores would order through David C. Cook in Paris, Ontario.

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Apparently the 30% Off Includes Wholesale Prices, Too

October 28, 2008 1 comment

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Direct U.S. Ordering — How is it Working for You?

In this discussion, we’d like to hear from staff at Canadian stores who have done direct ordering from the U.S. from any of the following:

  • Baker
  • Thomas Nelson
  • Anchor / Whitaker
  • STL

In particular,

  • How was the whole customs clearance process handled?
  • What were your final costs as a percentage of the inventory itself?
  • Did everything arrive in good condition?
  • Any other complications?

Categories: Uncategorized

The RGM Liquidation

October 28, 2008 3 comments

I’ve been following this story perhaps longer than some, but nothing prepares you for that large advertisement in today’s Toronto Star:  R. G. Mitchell — Since 1934 — BANKRUPT.

Everything is on sale this week for 30% off.

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Oh, Little Town of Orono

Spent about 40 minutes today hanging out with the warehouse gang in the various crevices that form the back of the shipping and receiving area at Foundation Distributing.   Who would have ever thought that Orono, Ontario — blink and you might miss it — would become the Canadian center of distribution for some of Christian publishing’s major lines?

The staff are busy working — an 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM workday is going to become normative — and new staff are slowly being added.   The staff seemed energized — not overwhelmed — by all that is happening.   One gets the impression that everyone is coping quite well the challenges and changes.

In the meantime, FDI has taken over almost all of the little, unassuming building on Cobbledick Street, which they now own; knocking down walls to push their way through towards what is becoming a major distribution facility.

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Dollar’s Drastic Decline

(…repositioning of currency thread discussion from October 10…)

It looks the dollar is going to close today down about a cent and a quarter-cent to be in 78 cent territory against the U.S. dollar.

News reports are telling customers not to worry about pricing because “retailers purchase stock six to nine months ahead.” Sorry, but in the fast-paced, new-release based business of books and music, that’s just not the case. Our prices are inflating NOW. If you purchase from Spring Arbor for example, and want to cover that 8% flat rate shipping cost with extra headroom you need to allow for a bank rate of about 1.29 (including their margin) and then add the 8%, which would leave you converting at 1.4000 whereas only weeks ago we were letting stuff slide by at par. The Wanda Brunstetter books at Foundation, which are 10.97 U.S. have been 13.97 CDN for a couple of weeks now. Is the end in sight?

Canadian retailers: If you pay by credit card, and your September statement was posted to your credit card on October 15th, then EVERYTHING you bought in September and ALREADY PRICED at lower conversions is going to HIT YOU VERY, VERY HARD. If you’re discounting any books to match flyers to which you were committed, you may be LOSING money on every copy you sell. If you promised pastor discounts or church bulk discounts on materials received in September, keep in mind that you may find yourself paying much higher prices. There are a lot of U.S. suppliers you may have on auto-credit-card payment, but many of them hold your payment to a later date.  Items receiving now, may not post until November 15th, or later depending on terms you’ve arranged.   Terms are no longer necessarily a good deal, because you don’t have a clue what the rate will be when you actually finalize the payment.

Categories: Uncategorized

David C. Cook Cooks Up Drop-Ship Deal With Baker Books

Product from Baker Books, which includes Chosen, Revell, Bethany, Spire and Baker imprints can now be ordered through David C. Cook in Canada.   The product will drop ship from Baker direct, but accounts will be billed through David C. Cook.

NOTE: An update of this information appears on October 28th…

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Another Way of Looking at What We Do

October 21, 2008 1 comment

I pulled this out of my personal blog, it was originally used on April 9th. You’re welcome to borrow it!

  • The Christian bookstore is like a supply depot in a war. And once in awhile, like David, employees find themselves on the front lines of the battle.
  • The Christian bookstore employee is like a bartender. People have issues and questions and want a place to talk and someone to listen.
  • The Christian bookstore employee is like a pharmacist. Like pharmacists in the UK, sometimes store staff are the ones to make the diagnosis and suggest something that might help.
  • The Christian bookstore is like a welcome center for people new to your community, or people seeking a faith connection for the first time. It is the gateway to the next section of their journey.
  • The Christian bookstore is a melting pot. People from a variety of denominations sharing an element of their spiritual life in one room, often at one time. The church without walls, without labels, the way God sees it.
  • Categories: Uncategorized

    Harvest House Signs up With Foundation Distributing

    With the acquisition of Canadian distribution rights for Harvest House Publishing, Foundation Distributing of Orono, Ontario has now solidified its position as the Christian book distributor of record for Canada.   This adds to Gospel Light, NavPress and Tyndale, which were announced previously, and joins such lines as Standard Publishing, Waterbrook, Multnomah, Barbour and AMG.    Staff at FDI must be working without sleep at this point!

    On a personal note, Harvest House has always been one of my top five favorite publishers.   Their books are solid doctrinally, their prices are reasonable, their prices tend to be stable, and they don’t spend huge amounts on marketing.  (A couple of new releases share a page in catalogs, and backlist pages are often printed in black and white.)   The Eugene, OR company celebrates its 35th anniversary next year.  It is currently best known for the Stormie Omartian The Power of a Praying… series.

    Congrats to FDI on a track record worthy of these publishers’ trust.

    + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

    Kick off your first Harvest House order with a generous quantity of the new B. J. Hoff title, Rachel’s Secret, if you haven’t already ordered it (Oops! Like I did) from the U.S.

    + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

    So who are your Top Five publishers?   Publishers, not distributors; though you might consider individual imprints.   Got favourites?

    Categories: Uncategorized

    Is It About Christian Retailing, or Is It About Strang Communications?

    In the most glaring act of navel-gazing ever, Christian Retailing’s latest issue kicks off its article about the closing of R. G. Mitchell in Canada with the third and fourth paragraphs concerned solely with what’s going to happen to distribution of Strang Communications.   Strang owns the Charisma House and Siloam imprints, but also owns the industry magazine.  There is no speculation or mention of any other publisher formerly distributed by RGM.    Sorry guys, but that’s not the product line that any of us here were holding our breath worrying about.

    Then there’s two paragraphs of comment from Mark Hutchinson at Blessings.   Blessings was its own story recently, and I guess when they flipped through the Rolodex for “Canada,” Mark was the only contact they had.   I can think of about ten people I would have referred them to — veterans of Christian retail in this country — who could probably speak to this issue with the experience that only comes with time.

    Remember, this is “trade” magazine, that is supposedly written by people who are well-versed in our industry.  This time around, they totally missed anything resembling a balanced report.    I would again urge people to read the story carried by The Christian Herald if they want a much better overview of what happened here.

    Categories: Uncategorized

    The CMC Merger: How’s It Workin’ For You?

    October 15, 2008 2 comments

    Is it just me?   I’m still waiting for an order placed Monday, October 7th at 10:00 AM.   Back in the good old days, I’d have that order the next day if I asked for “Rush” or the day after if I didn’t.   Customers are steaming.   Not sure what to tell the youth group that has a Skillet party planned for Friday night.   They should probably cancel.

    Categories: Uncategorized

    $35.00 U.S. for a Biblezine?

    October 15, 2008 1 comment

    Are customers truly going to fork out $35.00 U.S. for a 260-page Biblezine?   In the Good News Translation?   Spring Arbor has conservative quantities on order, despite the media push.  The product is an American adaptation of a Swedish version that shattered sales records in that country.   With full color on each glossy page, this would be a nice coffee-table edition, but for one drawback: like all Biblezines, it’s published in paperback.  The product is listed as “Bible Illuminated,” though the cover says, “The Book.”   Think it will work?

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