Matt Wardman writes:
Rubies in the dust are becoming more common, and we now have at least five new independent bookshops set up addressing the market niches previously occupied by SPCK (Leicester, Norwich, Lincoln, Cardiff and Salisbury) and often run by ex-SPCK staff.
There are also a number of other independent initiatives that I don’t know enough about to add to this list.
The ex-Manager of the bookshop at Sarum College Mark Clifford is opening a new bookshop in Catherine Street in Salisbury. There is a report in the Church Times tomorrow.
Mark Clifford is chairman of the Booksellers Association’s Christian Booksellers Group.
Sarum Books on Catherine Street, Salisbury
From a previous Christian Marketplace report
“Clifford told Christian Marketplace that he had secured premises in Catherine Street in the city and was hopeful of being able to open by the middle of October. “I am currently finalising all the legal details with the lease etc. and hope to have everything completed in the next couple of weeks.”
The new shop is to be called Sarum Books and Clifford’s aim is to serve the whole community of Salisbury and maintain the supply of a wide range of Christian books across the theological spectrum.
Clifford said he had received a lot of support, particularly from his two main financial backers, and also from a number of Christian publishers and distributors alike. “I’ve also met the suffragan Bishop who has also been very encouraging and supportive of what I am trying to do and I also know that local clergy will prefer to have a shop in the main shopping area.”
In fact the new shop officially opens on January 3rd.
These new independent shops in locations where SPCK bookshops previously existed are preserving the “broad” emphasis of the old SPCK chain (and in my opinion are far more strategic for inter-communal relations than certain Prime Ministers carrying Korans under their arms when the media are around), so I’m keen to encourage them.
In Salisbury, I think it is likely to end up with the Sarum College Bookshop as a specialist academic shop, and Sarum Books on Catherine Street catering to a more general market in the City Centre.
The shop which used to be part of the SPCK chain is the one at 51 High Street, Salisbury and this may soon be called “Saint Stephen the Great” or “Third Space Books” or “ENC Ltd” or “SSG LLC” or whatever the name (or alleged name) is this month, after action by Trading Standards to – I am told – make them take down the SPCK name that they lost the right to use around 14 months ago. I think the sign finally came down about a week ago. I encourage you not to use the Saint Stephen the Great bookshop for all the reasons I have posted previously.
So, in summary:
- Please take a look at Sarum Books in Catherine Street, Salisbury.
- Avoid the Saint Stephen the Great Christian Bookshop in the High Street in Salisbury. Remember, it is run by unethical bullies.
- The Sarum College bookshop has changed in some ways but is still run by the college. Check this shop out too.
Don’t forget to order your secular books at the Christian bookshop too, if the service fits.