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Word Alive Won’t Replace Send the Light

When all is said and done, Word Alive/Anchor Distributing can never be to Canadian stores what Send the Light (STL) was. There is just too wide a gap that separates the companies and the major stumbling block for stores like ours is the inventory base.

Anchor/Whitaker House is an unabashedly Charismatic distributor/publisher.

I say that as a person who has no problem with that, objectively. I have never said much about myself in the nearly 9 years I’ve been doing this blog, but I am Arminian, not Calvinist, and I believe in the limitless power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve had experiences in speaking in tongues, and while I may not identify with that style of worship as much these days, I do not discount the validity of those experiences.

So this isn’t about doctrine.

The problem is, my customer base is wide: Anglicans, Catholics, Lutherans, Salvation Army, Brethren, Alliance, Reformed and Pentecostal. They want to read authors that are simply not represented in the Word Alive/Anchor database.

The other problem is the website. Let’s face it, STL spoiled us rotten. You could scan the new release section daily and see new products. You could use images from the site for your website, Facebook, Twitter and print advertising. You got a detailed annotation on the book (everything Ingram offers except page length.) You could check your own stock against their top selling lists by genre, including both their own sales and the CBA lists. You got extra discounts on contract-distributed (i.e. Advocate Distribution) products.

Instead, we’re left with a 1990s style website at WA that gets the job done, but barely. (I really hope they’ll take the time to study the STL website carefully before it’s taken down; no login is required except to see discounts; another great feature inasmuch as I can allow certain customers to browse it.)

For small stores like mine, this is complicated by the fact we no longer have trade discount status at Spring Arbor/Ingram, having purchased less than $5K from them last year. (I guess I shouldn’t have been so loyal to Cook and Foundation.)

We’re faced with having to tell a lot of customers that certain products just are not available to us any longer; or going back to establishing accounts with fringe U.S. publishers individually, and paying insane shipping costs to clear product across the border.


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