Friday 25 May 2007

Food for thought...

We received the June 'Evangelical Times' this week. An interesting letter was printed, written by Gordon Hoppe owner of the Christian Bookshop in Pratt's Bottom Orpington. I think it is worth quoting in full:

Dear Sir,
Everyone enjoys a bargain but the growing practice of discounts being offered by authors and publishers on the sale of books at meetings, conferences and exhibitions is damaging bookshops.
While I applaud the selling of good Christian books on every occasion possible, it is not unusual to find books being offered at prices below those at which a bookshop can buy them. This can only add to the struggles of those seeking to maintain a presence and witness in the streets and shopping centres of our towns.

Bookshops provide a service to the churchgoing public by enabling them to examine, compare and purchase books. They will order books for customers and advise on choice. They normally give a small discount to churches, schools and charities and will provide bookstalls and 'sale or return' books for special occasions. They seek to assist the churches' witness in a given neighbourhood.
But they usually have rent, rates and staff to pay and cannot compete with these unnecessary discounts. May I suggest that authors and publishers cease this discounting and that the book-buying public make an effort to pay the right price for books they value?
I do, of course, have a vested interest in writing this letter. But my main concern is to ensure that the 600 or so Christian bookshops can survive - to continue to provide a service to writers, publishers and readers alike, and maintain a witness in a needy world.
Gordon Hoppe

Food for thought?

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