Posts Tagged ‘Christian book distributing’

Foundation Folds Distribution into Anchor Distributors

October 22, 2019 2 comments

Canadian stores will consolidate ordering through Anchor/Word Alive

This is major news for Christian booksellers in Canada. Earlier this week we heard rumours of this, but today we received the official announcement. Rather than comment further, I want to run the press release exactly as it was sent to industry news outlets. I’m sure the finer details will play out over the next few weeks.

Bob Wood, Bob Whitaker, Pat Chown, (back) Jeremy Braun, Karen Fulton, Director of Operations Anchor Distributors

Foundation Distributing Inc. and Anchor Word Alive Inc. combine to improve efficiency and strengthen the Christian product supply chain

New agreement moves distribution of Foundation vendors to Anchor Distributors

ORONO, ON – October 22, 2019 – Pat Chown, Claire Prodger and Bob Wood, owners of Foundation Distributing Inc. (FDI) are pleased to announce an agreement moving all distribution and operations to Anchor Distributors in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, effective December 1st.

“We see this agreement as one that will aid current and new retailers in Canada in being more competitive against the growing online giants.  It allows for more cohesive marketing opportunities.” — Bob Whitaker, president of Anchor Distributors 

“Sourcing more product from a single location can provide better fill rates, save time, reduce freight costs and simplify day to day business. This agreement will strengthen the Christian Product supply chain and provide efficiencies that will benefit retailers in Canada.” — Pat Chown, partner, Foundation Distributing Inc.

“Anchor Distributors’ mission is to serve retailers by providing Christian and Inspirational resources to the market.  Anchor Word Alive and FDI share this mission and we’re working for a seamless transition. The 72 Hour Sale, 2 Day Sale and other sales and marketing programs will continue uninterrupted.” — Claire Prodger, partner, Foundation Distributing Inc.

“Bob Whitaker is a straightforward, forward-thinking person of integrity. There’s a common mission and purpose shared by the entire Whitaker, Anchor Word Alive team that made us confident this was the right path forward. This agreement is a progressive step for the Canadian market.” — Bob Wood, partner, Foundation Distributing Inc.

“Our customers in Canada are vital to the lifeline of our mission and business and this exciting change will allow us to continually improve to serve them better.” — Jeremy Braun, managing director for Canadian operations – Word Alive.

Anchor Word Alive Inc. is a Canadian subsidiary of Anchor Distributors (“Anchor”), which is a division of Whitaker Corporation established in 1970.

Send the Light Distribution Confirms Closing

Days after first reported by Christian Retailing, Send the Light (STL) Distribution confirmed its closing in an email to stores last night and on its website this morning with a very short note:

STL Closing

Needless to say, this will be devastating to small stores in the U.S. who used the distributor to consolidate orders through a single source, avoiding the paperwork and freight costs associated with dealing with individual publishers. Also affected are:

  • Canadian Stores: Many of the small publishers STL carried have no representation here; the company was also a good source for non-book items that Ingram (Spring Arbor) won’t ship to Canada.
  • Homeschoolers: It has to be presumed at this point that is also shutting down
  • Independent Publishers: This will hit former Advocate Distribution publishers hard, and as we’ve indicated elsewhere on the blog, if they choose Ingram Publisher Services, they’ve lost smaller stores like ours who have had our discount yanked for not reaching Ingram’s $5K (US) minimum.
  • Remainder Booksellers: Again, presumably Great Value Books (GVB) is also closing.

Not too long ago STL had moved into a new warehouse, and recently folded GVB into the larger company. Operations were streamlined, efficient and of great benefit to stores like ours.

We pray for the staff and management of STL in this time of transition, and for the many categories of people listed above who must now find other means of getting requested products.

A consumer-interest version of this story has been posted to our parent blog, Thinking Out Loud

Zondervan, Nelson Canadian Changes Relatively Seamless

On Monday morning, like many of you, I placed an order with the new — well, new to us — HarperCollins customer service team located just outside Scranton, PA. The process was thankfully relatively seamless. The same customer account numbers. The same ship day schedule. (Orders are being filled from Scarborough.) The same 7-digit confirmation numbers in the same sequence. The same free shipping.

In a memo released today, we learn that starting April 6th, orders will ship in parallel from both the Scarborough warehouse and direct from RR Donnelley. (If you get a parcel and it’s from them, don’t refuse it!) Chicago-based Donnelley is the world’s largest commercial printer, founded in 1864 with 2014 sales of $11.6B US, and HarperCollins is one of its clients. In addition to printing, it warehouses the product which eliminates an entire step in the distribution process, and reduces each book’s carbon footprint. The books may not be wet with printer’s ink when they arrive, but it means the capacity exists to ship titles literally ‘hot off the press,’ without having to be shipped to a HarperCollins warehouse and then entered into yet another inventory and location system. (This could a boon to those of you who like to smell the books when they arrive!)

Slowly, Canadian dealers will see more and more product coming through the Donnelley system, which will hopefully spell the end of the import-to-order system which has prevented Canadian stores from being competitive with consumer sites which ship within days, and also prevented HarperCollins from being competitive with independent distributors such as Baker & Taylor or Ingram (or in the Christian market, Send the Light and Anchor) who, if they have the product on shelf, can have it in dealer’s hands in as little as three working days.

Telling customers, “It’s going to be three weeks;” will, we’re hoping, soon be a thing of the past.



Canada’s Status as “International” Bookselling Territory Declines

I’m sure that for many a Canadian Christian bookstore, there have been times when the difference between a good day and a bad day hinged on the availability of International Trade Paperback Editions from Thomas Nelson, Zondervan and other Christian publishers.

Conversely, while I’m not given to physical violence, if I ever meet the first literary agent who changed the words “United States” to “United States and Canada” in contracts related to prices and royalties, I’m not sure that for my part, that meeting will be altogether peaceful.

In the former case, Canada is considered a “foreign” territory and is entitled to international paperbacks in lieu of the first edition hardbacks sold in the U.S.  Purpose Driven Life has always been a paperback here, as The Me I Want To Be and 66 Love Letters currently are as well.

But in the much more predominant — as in 95% of the time — second case, all Canadian pricing is in converted U.S. dollars, which means that in the past few weeks, prices on newly-arriving stock have been in flux daily.    Technically, even ITPEs from Thomas Nelson arrive priced in U.S. dollars which must then be converted.   We live in the constant tension between two currencies, and staff have to be conversant with both, and aware which one they are quoting to customers at any given moment.

This past weekend, I happened on the website for Australia’s large Christian retailer, Koorong, and did a number of category sorts by popularity.   On one, the number one title was the new Francine Rivers title, Her Mother’s Hope, clearly indicated as “Intl. Trade Paper.” Wait — What the fiction is going on?

Last night, after receiving confirmation that the Canadian distributor for Tyndale was aware of this situation, I went back to Koorong and tried Son of Hamas. Same deal.   I tried Heaven by Randy Alcorn which was ITPE here until a few months ago.    Still available as ITPE at Koorong.

So the question is, ‘Is this just a Tyndale thing, or is this the shape of things to come?’    If it’s the latter, I don’t think our Canadian Christian book industry can take another hit. I’ll prefer to think at this point that Foundation Distribution fought on behalf of us all and lost, because I can’t imagine a different scenario.

And to the geniuses at Tyndale who think this is a good idea, I’d like to remind you again that the Rivers title was showing at as number one title in the sort I did at Koorong; you’re not polling those kind of numbers of Canada.   Not in hardcover.

This is a very price-conscious market which is part of a retail culture that lies in an economic DMZ halfway between the British and the American book marketing models.   Publishers can help the industry here succeed, or they can do what Tyndale is doing and shoot the wounded.