Monday, January 19, 2009

The boil on the backside of British bookselling

I haven't said much about the SPCK saga in the last six months, not because I haven't been interested, but because there are some excellent people doing all the heavy lifting and pursuing the cause much more effectively than I can. Phil Groom has posted a summary here though - as we're some six months on from when it all started - and he communicates effectively why Christians should stand up and fight about it:

"…the closure of the SPCK bookshops has very little to do with the recession: they’ve been run into the ground by their unscrupulous new owners, who accepted them as a gift from SPCK on trust that they would invest in them and their staff and maintain them as Christian bookshops.

Instead, however, they attempted to foist illegal contracts upon the staff and drove them to despair with their reprehensible behaviour (most walked out in disgust; one had a nervous breakdown; another committed suicide), then proceeded to close shops down, clearing out the stock without paying the suppliers; they attempted a spurious bankruptcy filing in the USA, changed their trading identities here in the UK and continued trading in the stock they’d acquired from the shops they’d closed — all supposedly in the name of “Orthodox mission”. In September they sold the Exeter branch for £507,000 and — in direct breach of a legally undertaken covenant — have allowed it to become a jewellery store.

In the meantime, the staff they drove out have not received their wages and the suppliers whose stock they took have not been paid. So for me, the online campaign to expose these evil men and, yes, to bring them down, remains a truly worthwhile use of my time and energy."

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