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TRADE ANNOUNCEMENT–  2nd November 2018

From: Alexandra McDonald, Commercial Director, SPCK

SPCK Announces Restructured Sales Team

In the face of a changing market, SPCK and IVP have had to change the way we work with our trade partners. Recent years have seen a rapid decline in the percentage of our sales coming from customers who require face-to-face sales visits, with a shift towards customers in the UK and internationally who prefer to work through receiving information digitally and remotely. In order to keep the books of SPCK and IVP accessible to prospective readers of Christian literature we need to adapt to the evolving world we face today.

It is with deep regret that we determined that we had too many sales people on the road working in the traditional face to face sales manner, and in consequence we had a very difficult decision to make. 

With reluctance, the positions of Raymond Witty and Samantha Cheddie have been made redundant, which is to take nothing away from the dedicated service that they have given to SPCK and IVP over the past years.  They have always gone above and beyond to ensure that the requirements of their customers were balanced with the needs of SPCK and IVP and all of us across the Society are truly grateful for all their hard work over the years.  It has been a privilege to work with them.

It is always difficult to say goodbye to friends and colleagues and we are very sad that circumstance has led us to need to take this step.  We note that we are one of the last Christian publishers to reduce our field sales force, but it is not a sustainable approach for us to keep at, in this current climate.  Alan and Julian will be taking up the reins for customers who were previously covered by Samantha and Raymond, and if they haven’t already been in touch, please do reach out to them.  
They can be contacted as follows:

Alan Mordue 07881 365557

Julian Gittings 07720 678350

We are also recruiting for a new office-based telesales executive. We expect this new structure will enable us to talk directly with more accounts, more regularly, than under the old arrangement.

We recognise that the process has taken longer than we had initially expected or hoped, but it was important to follow the procedure through, out of respect for, and with strict confidentiality to, everyone involved.  We are now able to be able to make the announcement to our wider community, and would like to thank everyone involved for their conduct during this painful process. Furthermore, we would like to ask all of our friends and partners to keep Samantha and Raymond in their prayers at this difficult time, as they move forward with the next chapter of their lives.

Sam Richardson, CEO of SPCK, said, “This change of our sales team structure has been a decision that we have not taken lightly. It is not about cost savings but is instead about aligning our sales effort with the current and future shape of the market. These changes will enable us to continue to support the work both of Christian bookshops, and of our client publishers, for the foreseeable future. We are very grateful for the support of our client publishers for these decisions.”

Dave Lewis, Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing, Baker Publishing Group, said, “In a Publishing world that continues to change significantly season to season, we are all compelled to adjust our staffing and our strategies to serve our authors, our accounts and our readers.  We support the recent changes that SPCK has made to their sales team and we look forward to a very robust Christmas season.  They continue to delight us with their excellent work as they serve booksellers in the UK market.  We are sad to see good people leave, but we understand the need to adapt quickly to a changing marketplace.”

Justin Paul Lawrence, Director of Sales, InterVarsity Press/USA, said: “I have had the privilege of walking alongside SPCK as they been simultaneously growing in sales and adjusting to the day-to-day realities of radically changing book market. Alexandra, Sam and their teams are laying the foundation for considerable longevity in the UK and the rest of the world. It has been a delight to begin to distribute their books in the United States and their work on our behalf in the UK has exceeded our expectations every year.”

Anthony Gosling, Executive Vice President of Business Operations, Crossway, said: “A rapidly changing marketplace requires organizations everywhere to constantly evaluate their business processes and models. Are they operating efficiently and achieving maximum impact for their work? Are they structured to serve their customers effectively—not just today, but in the future? A company’s answers to these questions can sometimes lead to difficult but necessary changes in order to sustainably position themselves for tomorrow’s marketplace. Crossway’s partnership with SPCK has been a tremendous blessing to our ministry and to the reach of our published resources in the UK market. We have come to know and love our colleagues at SPCK and recognize that the changes to the SPCK sales team are indeed unsettling for those impacted. Nevertheless, we are confident SPCK will do what is necessary to position themselves for success with integrity and compassion. We remain committed to and excited about our partnership with SPCK in the days ahead, confident that their sharpened focus will enable them to move into the future.”

Shane White, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Wm. B. Eerdmans (new partner publisher) said “Change is never an easy for an organization.   Saying goodbye to longtime friends and work colleagues is always filled with sadness and grief.   Over the past decade publishers have had to adapt to the changes that are a part of today’s retail climate.   I applaud Sam, Alexandra and the team at SPCK for analyzing the changes to their business, inventing new processes and making hard decisions.   The changes being make today by SPCK are laying the groundwork for decades of profitable success in the future.    I am looking forward to working with SPCK as they continue to grow and thrive in the ever-changing world of publishing.   It is a privilege for my team at Eerdmans to partner with SPCK.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our partnership.”

Melanie Carroll, Chair of the BA-Christian Booksellers Group said "Having had both Raymond and Samantha as Reps visiting me for both SPCK and IVP it is with great personal sadness that I heard of their redundancies, and obviously I, as I'm sure all other booksellers do, wish them both only the best going forwards from here. Though it saddens me to hear of more redundancies in our trade, I also do understand that in a time pressured world many within the Bookshops are using online and digital ordering much more in their businesses, and spend more time either on the shop floor themselves or out and about doing events and meeting their local community and so for some it becomes harder to meet reps personally. I am glad that SPCK & IVP have not gone over to an entirely digital or outsourced model as some have, and hope that the new telesales model working beside their remaining reps will keep alive the personal contact and helpful responsiveness that has always been at the heart of our trade relationships.”



Eerdmans & SPCK Enter UK Sales and Distribution Agreement - 2nd November 2018

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN—Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, an independent family-owned publisher since 1911, has announced a new partnership with the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) to be the exclusive distributor of Eerdmans titles in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Eerdmans Vice President of Sales and Marketing Shane White commented, “We are so excited to be working with Sam Richardson and the team at SPCK. SPCK is widely recognized as a market leader in the UK and Europe. We share SPCK’s vision of a world where everyone is transformed by Christian knowledge.”

LONDON – “We are privileged to be working with the Eerdmans list and look forward to helping them grow their sales in the UK,” said Sam Richardson, CEO of SPCK. “The Eerdmans list ranges from outstanding theological scholarship to a very high-quality offering for children, and our sales team is really excited to be selling it.”

PETERBOROUGH – “I am extremely pleased to be representing Eerdmans in the UK book trade. In the 30 years that I have been selling academic theological books as both bookseller and publisher I have gained an enormous respect for the traditions and extraordinarily diverse range of theological, patristic and biblical material that have been published by Eerdmans. In 1998 when I ran Durham Cathedral Bookshop I was privileged to be there when we made James Dunn’s magisterial Theology of St Paul the Apostle available to his students at Durham University and we sold hundreds of copies of the book. Since then I have followed the publishing programme closely and read many titles myself.

I believe the sales team at SPCK can bring new strengths to bear on the places where Eerdmans titles are available in the wholesale market, general bookshops, academic bookshops, academic conferences and a more diverse range of Christian bookshops.  I can see new markets opening for contemporary authors such as  John Barclay, Fleming Rutledge, Douglas Campbell, Miroslav Volf and Daniel Migliore among many others and I could not be more excited about this development!”

Alan Mordue, Sales Director

The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) is the largest Christian publisher in the UK and the third oldest British publishing house still operating today and now incorporates IVP. Through a diverse range of publishing and charity programs, SPCK aims to make Christian ideas and values relevant and accessible to people of all faiths and none. 

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company is an independent publisher of religious books, from academic works in theology, biblical studies, religious history, and reference to popular titles in spirituality, social and cultural criticism, and literature. Founded in 1911, the company has developed a reputation for publishing excellent literary and intellectual works that offer a myriad of responsible viewpoints from across the religious spectrum. For more information visit www.eerdmans.com.