Archive for December, 2012

Christianity Today Book Awards

December 29, 2012 1 comment

Any similarity between the list and what you carry in your store is purely coincidental. (And all links in the story lead to Amazon. Sigh!)


Augsburg Fortress Launches E-Works

eWorks at Augsburg-Fortress

It’s like a visit from an old friend you haven’t seen in years.

Augsburg-Fortress Canada (AFC) has adopted the eWorks order entry program which was formerly used by R. G. Mitchell. We were among the first to try it before Christmas and re-keyed an order that had been placed previously by email. Having stock numbers helped greatly, and most titles were located quickly. Augsburg’s warehouse is extra-efficient, so the parcel landed at our store just one day later!

The site operates exactly as it did all those years ago, which means that there is no way to refine within search results. For retailers familiar with the system at Mitchell, the most significant things you’ll observe has nothing to do with the program itself, but more to do with how people have become accustomed to greater, more intuitive search results from Ingram, CBD, and (sometimes) Send the Light. If anything, eWorks is similar to B2B at David C. Cook Canada, which was great when it was first introduced, but also suffers from the inability to refine results. (I gave up on FDI’s site two years ago, so I can’t compare that one.)

Nonetheless, I’d recommend retailers — especially those who like keying in their own orders –consider using this system. Contact AFC for a login and password.

How Well Do You Know Your Music Department Trends?

December 22, 2012 1 comment

A recent article on the state of the music industry in The Globe and Mail (Dec 12) mentioned that mainstream market artist Beck had released Song Reader,  his newest collection of songs

a) for download only
b) on CD
c) on vinyl
d) none of the above

The answer is (d), he released them as sheet music;  20 never-before-recorded songs that will be released only in notated form.

In a Huffington Post article he explained his reasoning:

I think about music I recorded in the last 10, 15 years, and I can tell you there’s a lot of music that’s lost forever because it was on a hard drive. We have musical manuscripts from 400 or 500 years ago, so they may be things that last longer.

The article did say that

  • 64% of teenagers in the U.S. mainly listen to music on YouTube
  • of actual music purchases, CDs and vinyl are still prevalent


Categories: Uncategorized

Identifying Customer Need

Here’s an article from Thinking Out Loud that relates to Christian booksellers in understanding the various perspectives of the people who we interact with on a daily basis. Check out I Need To Know Where You’re Coming From.

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Explain To Me Again Why I’d Sell E-Reader Accessories?

Send the Light’s Thirsty Thursday promotion yesterday was an extra 8% off 6 selected e-reader covers from Lumen which retail for $19.99. Since the vast majority of us in Christian retail see the e-reader as a big part of our problem, would it not be somewhat traitorous to carry these?

Categories: Uncategorized

Scammers Should Try Different Titles

December 13, 2012 2 comments

Whenever I get emails from people in Africa or Asia telling me they’d like to order 200 King James Bibles or 25 Franklin Electronic Bibles, I immediately know what they’re about and quickly delete them.

However, I keep thinking the scammers would get a better response from those of us in Christian retail if they would order something we’d be more enthusiastic about selling. How about 200 copies of The Message, or 50 copies of Not A Fan or 75 copies of What’s So Amazing About Grace?

I could see us getting a little more excited about the possibility of shipping those. Maybe I should serve as an adviser or consultant to people perpetrating credit card fraud.

Christian Music Grammy Nominees

Here are the nominees in four of the five gospel/Christian categories that matter to people who read this blog:

36. Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance
Jesus, Friend Of Sinners -Casting Crowns
Take Me To The King -Tamela Mann
Go Get It – Mary Mary
10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord) – Matt Redman
My Testimony – Marvin Sapp

38. Best Contemporary Christian Music Song
Jesus, Friend Of Sinners -Mark Hall & Matthew West, songwriters (Casting Crowns)
10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord) – Jonas Myrin & Matt Redman, songwriters (Matt Redman)
When Mercy Found Me -Jeff Pardo & Rhett Walker, songwriters (Rhett Walker Band)
White Flag – Jason Ingram, Matt Maher, Matt Redman & Chris Tomlin, songwriters (Passion & Chris Tomlin)
Your Presence Is Heaven -Israel Houghton & Micah Massey, songwriters (Israel & New Breed)

39. Best Gospel Album
Identity – James Fortune & FIYA
Jesus At The Center Live – Israel & New Breed
Gravity -Lecrae
I Win -Marvin Sapp
Worship Soul – Anita Wilson

40. Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
Come To The Well -Casting Crowns
Where I Find You – Kari Jobe
Gold – Britt Nicole
Eye On It – TobyMac
Into The Light -Matthew West

The numbers are the Grammy Categories as shown at the NARAS website.

Categories: Uncategorized

Category Killer Claims Another Victim

December 11, 2012 1 comment

We really should have a funeral service every time a Christian bookstore dies. Whether it’s due to the monster named A-zon or simply a factor of changing technology, a loss to a community of a Christian bookstore is a significant loss of marketplace ministry presence, even when it takes place an ocean away from us.

…At the end of the story, there’s a link to this story, which contains this in the final paragraph:

[Amazon] has sparked outrage because despite having warehouses in the UK and employing 15,000 people, it drives all of its sales through Luxembourg. According to conservative MP Charlie Elphicke, last year Amazon’s UK sales amounted to £3.9 billion but the company paid just £1.9 million in tax – the equivalent of just 2.5% of its estimated profits, based on its global operating margin.

Book Trailers Not Delivering?

Activity at Christian Book Videos has been waning of late. The last post was three weeks ago. I’m not sure if this is due to a shortage of book trailers, or if perhaps the CBD-referrer site just wasn’t delivering the goods.

I still believe that if your customers can get to know an author — their voice; their mannerisms — they will want to read their books. To that end, I cannot recommend this idea enough; it’s a great place to start.

The Month of Remember

Eons ago in Canada, the CTV Network had a television show called “The Trouble With Tracey.” One of Tracey’s witticisms was that there should be an extra month where you could remember to do all the things you had forgotten previously. “September, October, November, December, Remember;” she intoned.

In a way, the retail cycle in North America creates a 13th month; or to put it the way most of us do, December is a double month. But really, because some reordering of core stock is essential, it’s better to look at the extra month model Tracey had in mind.

  • November – November 1 – 23
  • December – November 24 – December 10
  • Remember – December 11 – 31

You might divide the dates differently; but I think it helps to realize the season in terms of an accelerated retail cycle instead of just one busy month. Or as we put it, “The January shopper is entitled to as much selection as the December shopper.”  Some basic stock items have to be restocked as you go.

Categories: Uncategorized

Not Exactly What I Meant

True story. So I told one of my staff to be sure to remove the $5.00 off stickers from the Veggie Tales DVDs as we’re selling them at the lower price in the Christmas catalogue.

She did. I just happened to notice them when emptying out the garbage can at the front counter. Each one is worth about $3.00 wholesale. She didn’t realize that. Always explain everything fully.

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Concordia Returns VBS Back to Basics

I don’t usually repost items from Christian Retailing, since most of you read it; and I actually rarely link to it. But today, I decided the story was so vital, so important, that it actually appears for a much wider readership at Thinking Out Loud. Check out Concordia Decides Enough is Enough with VBS Entertainment.