Thursday, October 8, 2015
I am not sure of the answer to that, but this year's event in the middle of September certainly felt like more of a retreat than in previous years. As well as being a showcase for publishers, it is an opportunity for people, especially shop managers who often feel as though they are doing what they do all on their own, to find encouragement from others in the ecosystem. Bookshop managers come away (retreat) from their daily round to see what's new, but also to have genuine Christian fellowship with people who share their passion to get the word of the gospel out to readers, and to support ordinary Christians in their daily lives. Christian bookshops are the church on the street, open weekdays to anyone who wants to come in, and most don't look like churches or have that element to discourage people from entering; they're shops. And those who work in them are often ready to advise the unsure, encourage the discouraged, and to pray with those who seek that.
The other thing is that for delegates there are usually wonderful offers and free books from the publishers, for whom this is an unequalled opportunity to promote their products.