AT News Team, October 9, 2013
The Adventist Review released a news bulletin this morning announcing that Pacific Press Publishing Association, one of two publishing houses operated by the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the United States, will return responsibility for the 25 bookstores that it operates to the local conferences where they are located. This decision was made at a board meeting last week.
The board “voted to request termination of the management agreements” for the stores, which it has managed “over the course of nearly 15 years,” a statement from the organization said. The outlets served “nearly half of the North American Division membership.” A plan to terminate management agreements for the stores should be in place by December 31, 2013, the statement indicated.
“The board recognized that the current business model for these management agreements has experienced challenges due to changing trends in technology and the way people access information,” the PPPA announcement said. Pacific Press took over the operation of the stores from local conferences because the conferences had decided they could no longer subsidize the outlets and few of the stores were making a profit.
An Adventist member who has worked in the publishing industry told Adventist Today that the bookstore business all across the country has been in decline for more than a decade due to the boom in online book sales. "The Adventist Book Centers were mostly located in or near conference offices and away from general commercial traffic and in most cases offered a narrow range of inventory." One exception, he noted, is the Potomac Conference Adventist Book Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, located in a large shopping center.
This decision is viewed by other observers as a consequence of the fact that merger plans between Pacific Press and the Review & Herald Publishing Association have been called off. Pacific Press said it would not leave any local conferences or members without easy access to church materials. “We are committed to making all quarterlies, magazines, books, and music easier than ever to order,” says Dale Galusha, PPPA president. “For most products, the local church won’t even notice a change in how they are ordered or delivered.” These materials are available online at www.AdventistBookCenter.com.
Pacific Press is a suburb of Boise, Idaho, and produces books and magazines for all ages. The company, which has been in operation since 1874. It moved from the San Francisco Bay area, where it was originally, to Idaho in 1984. That move was intended to reduce operating costs and a few years later Review & Herald moved from Takoma Park to Hagerstown, Maryland, for the same reason.