David C. Cook Canada rebrands as Parasource
by Lisa Hall-Wilson
The March 2016 purchase of Augsburg Fortress Canada by David C. Cook Canada created a Canadian-owned entity, based in Paris, Ontario, that is now the largest independent Christian product distributor in Canada. In September, the company unveiled its new corporate name: Parasource Marketing and Distributing.
In the past, these behind-the-scenes changes in Christian distribution in Canada would have gone unnoticed by retail customers. It didn’t much matter to consumers where Christian retail store owners received their product from or where they placed special orders aside from availability or price issues. However, in less than 10 years, many Christian store chains and distributors have gone out of business due to economic issues, the popularity of eBooks, and a change in the way people shop. Consolidation was essential for survival in the changing marketplace.
Earlier in 2016, both David C. Cook Canada and Augsburg Fortress Canada were sold by their U.S. parent companies to their Canadian management. As the rapidly-changing American marketplace demanded their full attention, U.S. publishing companies likely did not see their distribution nodes in the smaller Canadian marketplace as essential properties.
Previous to this current merger, both companies had a long history of acquisitions in Canada, following the piecemeal collapse of other distributors. Augsburg Fortress had distributed Upper Room Books and was the main distributor for Lutheran, Anglican and United Church resources. David C. Cook Canada had bought CMC Distribution (a Christian music and DVD distributor) in 2008. The company also bought Scripture Press Canada, acquired the rights for Gospel Light and Lifeway Curriculum, and had exclusive distribution deals in Canada with Baker Books, Moody, and others.
As a result of this merger, Parasource now represents over 25 major Christian book and curriculum publishers, over 35 Christian music and media labels, eight Christian card and gift suppliers, and over 17 Christian resource suppliers. Parasource is able to bring shipments from these publishers and other suppliers across the border in volume lots and those savings will be passed on to customers.
Parasource – which expects to have their new web store up and running February 2017 – is looking to leverage their wide array of Christian resources into becoming a one-stop shop for churches and Christian retailers. Before, churches and Christian retailers may have had to deal with several distributors (and catalogues) and now they can get much of their Christian resources from one place and one catalogue.
The company directly serves churches and para-church organizations, Christian consumers in Canada across many denominations, as well Christian bookstores and other retailers, such as Amazon and Chapters. Their customers include bookstore owners, seminary professors, Sunday School coordinators, ministry leaders, individuals looking for anything from curriculum, books, devotionals, Bibles, music, movies, ministry supplies, or giftware.
Parasource President Greg Tombs insists this merger is not about putting the local Christian bookstore out of business. “If people want to continue shopping at their local Christian book store, please do that. There is a place for Christian book stores in our communities, but not every community has one anymore. People shop differently than they have in the past. We want to provide quality service using our unique expertise within the Christian market in Canada.”