The atmosphere at CRE/CBC #CBC09 #CRE09

Phelim McIntyre writes:

As some of you may be aware the Christian Resources Exhibition and the Christian Booksellers Convention were under the same roof. I had the joy of bumping into Dave Walker (of Cartoon Church), Clem from Christian Marketplace and many publishers and booksellers. So what was it like from an SPCK/SSG viewpoint? Putting aside that for many the combination of the two events was a failure there was a HUGE sense of relief. I have never been hugged or shaken by the hand by so many people.

The news of the industrial tribunials being sorted, marching orders at Durham and the Charity Commission acting is, as one person put it “the light at the end of a very long tunnel”. Yes there are more battles going on, some of which I can’t mention because silence is the better part of discretion – but I can say that the dam is about to break.

As someone who, with Dave W, Dave K, Matt W, Phil Groom, Singleblog and others (you know who you are) has been at the forefront of speaking with the press (I was one of the naughty people who sent documents to the papers when I was at SPCK), networking ex-staff, blogging and so on I have been asked was it worth it? The answer is yes. Justice must be done. So to all of you who have not been told this but have been campaigning – consider yourselves shaken by the hand and hugged.

Some one did suggest that we organise a firing squad for the Brewers Grimm but changed their mind as a firing squad would be too quick. So someone suggested that as they see us as heretics we treat them as heretics and burn them at the stake. I see some Brewer effegies this coming Novemeber.

The Church Times has reported the news here http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/75134. This is a subscriber only page this week but will probably be readable next week. Christian Marketplace will also have something soon.

Just a final word from someone at CRE/CBC. “Don’t give up until they (the Brewers) are finished”. As I said, more is happening which we hope to be able to blog soon.

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14 responses to “The atmosphere at CRE/CBC #CBC09 #CRE09

  1. Was it worth the pain and suffering? Yes it was. Was it worth sticking up for those on Tribunal? Yes it was. Was it worth reporting the Brewers to the CC? Yes it was.

  2. Phelim, in case you’re wondering: I’ve just added #CBC09 and #CRE09 to the title. This means when twitterfeed kicks in this post will show in the CBC09 and CRE09 twitter streams.

    Great post: thanks.

  3. Phelim McIntyre

    Thanks Phil – sorry to have missed you on the Tuesday.

    ASBO – well said.

  4. Phelim

    Glad you got to CBC/CRE, for some of us it didn’t seem to be an option. Did we miss much?

    No firing squads or burning for the Brewers – we are not vindictive folks who stoop to their levels. That said a stint in the nick might be truly appropriate and valid.

  5. Phelim McIntyre

    Hi Pax – no you didn’t miss anything. I have contacted CBC/CRE to say that I felt it was a waste of time and money. Yes I was helping on a stand but I wasn’t able to do the stuff I would have done at either the CRE or CBC properly. Yes there are some booksellers who do not do CBC and only go to CRE, who need some form of bookseller presence there, but for the real business of CBC CRE got in the way.

    As to the firing squad issue, SPCK watch suggests using picture of them as the faces for guys this coming Novemeber.

    • I disagree. It was far from either a waste of time or money: for me it was worth its weight in people; and with free admission for all retailers, I think we can afford to be far more gracious about the problems.

      No, it wasn’t perfect, and I’ve highlighted some of the issues; but if CRE hadn’t stepped in we faced the very real prospect of no CBC at all — and CRE stepping in to rescue CBC is a far cry from the Brewers’ “rescue” of the SPCK bookshops!!

      An area where questions do need to asked, however, is the proposed (possibly finalised by now?) handover of Church House Publishing to Hymns Ancient & Modern: this means that the owners of the Church Times / SCM-Canterbury Press will have almost complete control of the voice of the Church of England.

      They’ve already got Dave Walker as blogger, which (reading between the lines) means that he finds it “really difficult to comment” on this development.

      Seems to me there’s a serious conflict of interest here: can the Church Times genuinely continue offer independent reporting on the C of E when its owners control the Church’s publishing division?

      The Bishops need to put strict controls in place, controls that are legally enforceable if push comes to shove, to prevent any possibility of a repeat of the debacle of the “Covenants” with the Brewers.

      Don’t get me wrong: I’m not likening Hymns Ancient & Modern’s owners to the Brewers. But when Dave Walker finds himself unable to comment on an important aspect of the inner workings of the C of E, careful questions need to be asked!

  6. Phelim McIntyre

    We will have to agree to disagree Phil. Having spoken to publishers there – from conservative evangelical to liberal – as well as other book trade related people the larger consensus was that it was a waste of money. The fact that so few booksellers had the time to attend training events so many of them were cancelled, because of the lack of accommodation and the clash of timetables. Then there was the issue that many publishers never found, or even had need for, the room set aside for private meetings with the trade speaks volumes.

  7. Having exhibited at both CRE and CBC, we have to say that this year it was much better. We had more trade interest than at any CBC (where people were only visible as they ran between sessions, and were just trying to grab freebies).

    This is the 8th year we’ve done CRE and it was the best year yet, numbers declined daily but there was still a buzz of excitement that’s been missing the last couple of years.

    Re: “Then there was the issue that many publishers never found, or even had need for, the room set aside for private meetings with the trade speaks volumes.” I agree, I couldn’t find it so I used the exhibitors coffee area instead.

    Sorry we didn’t get to meet up with you Phil, I had a copy of the Life Journey CD by Bainbridge/Fitzgerald on one side for you. Guess it’s going to have to go in the post now. 🙂

  8. Phelim McIntyre

    Mark – you are the exception that proves the rule. Being on a stand meant I was unable to get round to all the stands, but I know that some major publishers had next to no trade interest over the four days – even during the specific CBC days. These are not those who had to spread their staff over two stands, but those with one stand.

  9. Perhaps discussions about the pros and cons of CBC for the trade could continue on the UKCBD blog, please, rather than here?
    CBC09: Worth its Weight in People – But Did it Work?
    Thank you.

  10. Just another reason why this site should get the Bloggies award.

  11. Phelim McIntyre

    Phil – agreed. Is there some way to close comments on this thread and tell people to go to the UKCBD blog?

  12. Comments can be closed, but I’d rather not do that: people may have comments pertinent to SPCK/SSG that are appropriate to this thread.

    In the meantime, feedback is now being invited by CRE: CRE Feedback: Online Survey

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