Monday, 18 January 2010

The Times

...they are a-changing. Markedly so in the booktrade. The high street bookshop has been under increasing pressure from on-line sellers such as Amazon for some time. Just before Christmas the Borders chain collapsed. The same trend has been observed in the Christian sector of the trade. Last year IBS-STL, the largest Christian media supplier in Europe, went bust. They owned the 40 strong Wesley Owen chain of shops. So the New Year has begun with much navel gazing. Is the traditional concept of a Christian Bookshop viable anymore? This has not escaped the notice of the national press, and last Friday 'The Times' newspaper published a very informative and thought provoking article. I recommend reading it - you can find it on Times online:-
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6990136.ece?
I don't agree with the idea mentioned in the article of the Christian Bookshop as a kind of church, or substitute for it. But it is a place of contact, potential spiritual communion (or conflict!) It is more than a mere marketplace, and yet has to be able to shape up to on-line marketers and direct selling from publishers. What do you think? Are we fit for purpose?
Jeremy

1 comment:

philgroom said...

I agree: as I've said in my own follow-up post, bookshops are not churches — in fact they can't be, any more than church buildings can be: the church is the people.

But they can become community hubs, places that help to bridge the sacred/secular divide — a doorway to church.

As I've also said before: not another profiteering presence but a prophetic presence, places where — if we're doing our job right — people who would never darken the door of a church building can encounter God.