My husband and I have just returned from seeing 18 suppliers in the States and the UK. We took 6 flights, hired four different cars and utilized train, bus and subway. We drove a total of 4 000 km and stayed in 16 different places. All this in 27 days. we were fortunately able to spend weekends with family and friends in both countries.
We sensed that Lord was with us on this trip. We enjoyed a good reception from all our our suppliers and were able to cement relationships. We took the time to explain the S.A. book industry in general and our book ministry specifically: the way we operate, the customers we serve and the challenges we face with the decline of the Rand. The result is that these suppliers are now aware of our outlook and our needs.
In turn each supplier was able to share their needs, how they operated and what was new on the market. This was a good opportunity to ask particular suppliers about distribution rights, out-of-print books, shipping costs and more. I am now better equipped to place orders that will offer you a good variety of titles at good prices. In particular I was made aware of ranges of children’s books, which I intend to order in time for year-end prizes and presents.
The States and the UK have both suffered the closure of many book stores due to competition from Amazon and other online stores. Although e-book sales initially rose sharply, they seem to have plateaued at about 15% of the market share on both sides of the Atlantic.There has also been a decline in sales because people are reading less. Entertainment and social media get in the way there as they do here. It seems it is a universal challenge to get people reading (and thinking!) again.
I trust that the Lord will enable us to practically implement all we have learnt to the benefit of all.