Chip MacGregor

August 31, 2015

The View from the Bookstore (a guest post)


In response to the posts we’ve had on the Family Christian Stores debacle, we’re received a number great letters from people involved. Authors, editors, publishers, and agents have all written with their thoughts. But I wanted to share one note from a bookstore owner in Green Bay, Wisconsin, who I think offers some perspective on the situation. This is shared with her permission…

People have talked about how much Family has lost in this bankruptcy, what the vendors have lost, what the authors have lost, and I’m sure what you may have lost also. However, no one seems to have mentioned the problems this has caused for the entire independent Christian bookstore industry. We have read how the vendors had to have Family stay in business because “they needed to have someone to sell their books to.”
  I am a part of the Munce Group, and we still have nearly 500 independent stores. The Parable Group has a large group of stores, too. The Covenant Group has independent stores that have faithfully served the market for years. And there are many who are not a part of any marketing group. These were stores they could sell to also.
 These were stores who have been paying their bills, and have most likely been paying more for their product than Family did. We didn’t get consignment offers, and if we did we would have understood that product was not ours – it still belonged to the vendor.
  Family talks about all their profits going to widows and orphans. If there were no profits how many widows and orphans were helped? In contrast, many of these independent stores have ministered in their own communities, and brought the gospel to thousands of people? We will not know that until we all reach heaven and see who has been touched by our ministries.
  Who is going to champion for the independent stores? Many of us have been in business for 40 years or more, and continue to see our business eroded by a number of things, including vendors who have had to go out of business. We’ve had sales reps and inside sales people we’ve known for years lose their jobs over this situation. We’ve seen some of our companies have to close.  We’ve seen some of our bookstores have to close. And to top that off, the vendors now have less money to spend on our catalogs, and some of the distributors are having to make decisions that cut our discounts. The whole industry has suffered, and that includes the “forgotten independent stores” who have been quietly watching the industry implode around them.
  Thank you for the insightful blog. You are one of the only commentators on the Family situation who has presented an alternative view, recognizing the damage done to the entire industry. Keep up the good work.
  Your comments would be appreciated.
Karen Grosse
Lighthouse Christian Books
Green Bay, WI 54304
38 years in business this year
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  • Kristen Joy Wilks says:

    Thank you. I live at remote mountain Bible Camp and the closest bookstore we have in an Indy. I love it and frequent it to buy books for my 3 boys. It isn’t a Christian bookstore, but they will order in anything I ask for. We order stuff from Amazon all the time. I try to stop and order things from our local shop because I know them and like what they are doing. Keep it up. There are those of us out there that love our local bookstores, especially if they come with a coffee shop!

  • Peter DeHaan says:

    Thanks for sharing this letter and reminding us of a great alternative source for buying books.

  • Patricia Zell says:

    My prayers are with everyone affected by the manipulations of the owners of the Family Christian Stores. Christ spoke of the intense trouble that would take place prior to his return (Matthew 24), and he began with the warning, “… Take heed that no man deceive you” (verse 4). Then in verse 24, he made this powerful prediction: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” The way around deception is to love God with everything we have, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and to treat others the way we want to be treated. So, in the midst of this storm, be encouraged to throw your arms around God’s neck and never let go. He will see you through and you will come out of it stronger and your feet planted firmly on the rock of His absolute love. Remember, “… God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). Light will swallow up darkness, and victory will swallow up defeat.

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