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Anglican Book Centre to close

By Staff on October, 23 2012

It will be the final chapter for the Anglican Book Centre, which will close on January 18, 2013. The bookstore was founded more than 100 years ago. Photo: Marites N. Sison

Augsburg Fortress Canada—the bookseller for the Anglican Church of Canada—has announced the closure of the Anglican Book Centre (ABC), effective January 18, 2013. Patrons will now be served online and by phone (800) 265-6397.

Founded more than 100 years ago, ABC is an internationally known retailer of books, vestments and church supplies.  Sales were down by 28% in 2011, which is “below the break-even level,” said a joint statement released by the Anglican Church of Canada and Augsburg Fortress. “In spite of hard work and innovation, the trend has continued in 2012.”

The decline in revenues was attributed to competition from web-based book retailers and the increase in readership of e-books. “Religious book and gift stores across Canada have faced significant challenges resulting in the closure of 120 stores in the past 10 years,” said Andy Seal, director of ABC/Augsburg Fortress Canada.

ABC has been operating under significant financial strain for several years. Augsburg Fortress took over operation of the bookstore in June 2007, saving it from a planned closure. In October 2006, the committee in charge of reviewing the church’s budget had recommended that the historic bookstore be closed and the retail operation continue as an internet and telephone-based business only.

“At the time, we were all happy to delay the implementation of [the] decision,” said Seal. “But the time has now come where good stewardship requires that we put our resources into the Augsburg Fortress Canada call centre and website.”

Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, called ABC the “hot stove” of the church, a place “where people gathered to buy books and other things, and where often you would run into someone you wanted to see.”

Brianna Locke, ABC sales associate, said the bookstore’s closure represented “the end of an era.” So many people have enjoyed the fellowship and the personal experience of being in a bookstore, she said in an interview. “That’s something rare nowadays,” she added.

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October, 23 2012
Categories:  News

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