Book Club Associates (BCA) (founded 1966) is a mail-order and online bookseller in the United Kingdom. The company came to dominate the mail order book club business in the U.K. in the 1970s and 80s through extensive advertising in Sunday newspaper colour supplements and became the largest mail-order bookseller in the U.K. The firm was recently restructured and sold after problems developed in sales and customer services.
BCA was formed in 1966 by the acquisition by W.H. Smith and Doubleday of The Reprint Society and their book club World Books.
The company has operated a variety of general and specialist clubs over the years, including:
- The Mystery and Thriller Club
- Just Good Books
- The Softback Preview
- The Fantasy and Science Fiction Book Club
- The Military and Aviation Book Society
- World Books
and many more.
In 2008, following rationalisation, the company ran seven clubs, having run as many as twenty just two years earlier.
Customer service problems
The company started to receive adverse comment in national newspapers around 2006 following the emergence of customer services problems and the aggressive pursuit of disputed customer debts by debt collection agencies. These problems were blamed by new Chief Executive, George Saul, on the outsourcing of the customer complaints function by previous management. In 2005, BCA's handling of complaints was criticised by trade regulator the Direct Marketing Authority. In 2007, the Office of Fair Trading accepted undertakings from BCA that it would revise its advertising to make it clearer.
In 2008, BCA was sold by owners Bertelsmann to Aurelius, a German company, who restructured the firm and sold it to The Webb Group in March 2011.
- ^ The Competition Commission: Book Club Associates and Leisure Circle A report on the merger situation 1988. Chpt. 2, p. 8.
- ^ a b Money surgery: Book Club Associates? Now I've got their number telegraph.co.uk, 8 February 2006. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- ^ Relocation of BCA prompts shake-out by Alison Flood, thebookseller.com, 15 February 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- ^ Book Club Associates' customer service slammed by DM Authority by Daniel Farey-Jones, brandrepublic.com, 21 July 2005. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- ^ Press releases 2007 - OFT accepts undertakings from Book Club Associates. Office of Fair Trading, 13 July 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- ^ Aurelius to bring in BCA 'task force' by Katie Coyne, thebookseller.com, 22 December 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- ^ Book Club Associates sold to Webb Group by Lisa Campbell, thebookseller.com, 8 March 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2011.