Album Listings No Longer Being Updated

We use it ourselves for getting song title info and remembering to stay on top of new releases. But today, the absence of new titles at caused us a bit of angst, as customers came seeking the new Thousand Foot Krutch CD and the album by Brian Doerksen’s new band, The Shiyr Poets. We  had a hunch that a few releases were missing, as the monthly listings seemed to be shrinking over the summer.

However, other parts of the site, such as the news page, continue to have fresh stories; furthermore the news page regularly exceeds similar Christian music news pages in the U.S.

The new release thing is frustrating though, as we share it with customers at least once a day. The benefits include identical pricing between the site and our store and opportunities to hear 30-second excerpts from a few songs.

The two CDs mentioned above are also missing at

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Saturating the Market with Overstock is not Counterproductive

remainder book publishingSome Christian publishers’ products turn up on remainder websites and overstock lists more than others. Baker, Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, etc. all spring to mind with occasional appearances by Waterbrook, Broadman and FaithWords.

Other Christian publishers are conspicuous by their absence: David C. Cook, InterVarsity, Tyndale, NavPress, etc.

As a retailer I want to promote frontlist product, but at the same time, we live in price-sensitive times where anything that gives that bookstore an edge is helpful. So offer both an outlet store presence and a full-service bookstore presence in our community. The right blend is crucial. That’s been the key to survival.

The publishers who do offer us overstock have made a friend. Several friends actually, as customers discover new authors and book brands.

And — I can’t stress this enough — many of the overstock titles end up being reordered at full price as word-of-mouth promotion raises awareness.

To those publishers who are willing to toss out a few bestsellers as overstock, we thank you. To those who divert any overstock to other channels — especially one or two online vendors — raise this topic in the boardroom or at least consider bringing back the yellow-tag SuperSaver concept that was more popular a few years ago.


ESV-Only Movement Emerging

Important Editorial

The people who read the NLT, NIV or the NKJV may have their preferences, but they generally aren’t the type of people to tell you that their translation of choice is the only game in town. But increasingly, we’re seeing ESV readers of various ages and denominations being adamant, dogmatic and even militant about their choice. It’s easy to see an ESV-Only group emerging and emerging quickly, with most coming from Reformed or Calvinist Baptist backgrounds.

Action Bible ESVThat whatever market forces have compelled David C. Cook Publishing to release The Action Bible, a comic-book format Bible for children in an ESV format, available this January, is genuinely disturbing.

One of the joys of operating a children’s book department is that the story of Noah’s Ark is Noah’s Ark regardless of your particular doctrinal slant. We have Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness customers who aren’t too enthusiastic about the rest of our store, but will gladly embrace just about anything in our kids book section. I always tell customers that, “The distinctions really disappear as you browse these shelves.”

For Cook, obviously there is enough profit at stake to justify striking a new edition. But where does this end? How many of Christian publishing’s top titles now have the potential to be offered in ESV-friendly editions with all the references changed?

Retailers need not worry about this. Increasingly, Reformed and Baptist customers are buying through their own channels. In some markets, such as ours, they abandoned mainstream Christian retail a long time ago.

Are there circumstances under which I might stock the new edition in January? Yes, if there were repeat inquiries I might do this, but it would be at the sacrifice of inventory levels on the regular edition — the one that heretofore has been good enough for everyone else — so the publisher is going to be no further ahead.



Christian Authors Abandon Majors for Boutique Publishing

Over the past few months, we’ve noticed a trend whereby well-known authors who were once signed to major imprints are now releasing books independently with distribution provided by Ingram or Send the Light.  Here are a few examples:

  • David and Neta Jackson (the Yada Yada series) have utilized their Castle Rock Creative moniker for their new Windy City Neighbors series [Note: see comments for a clarification]
  • Robin Jones Gunn has released the Christy and Todd – The Married Years series under their own Robins Nest Publications
  • Francis Chan’s new book, releasing next week, You and Me Forever is listed exclusively with Send the Light, with Claire Love Publishing the designated imprint
  • John Bevere’s last two books on the Holy Spirit and on Marriage are exclusively with Messenger International, along with some curriculum by John and Lisa

The Francis Chan situation interests me as a blogger, because normally, I would review his books, but clearly there is no way of doing this short of trying to track down a contact.  This means social media on the title may be lacking, and many in his fan base may be unaware of the release.

Love Well is Refreshingly Honest

Love Well - Jamie GeorgeI’m only about 80 pages in, and so I don’t want to offer a full review, but I am thoroughly enjoying Love Well: Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck by Jamie George (David C. Cook). I had been sent an Advance Reader Copy of this book, but what got me pulling it out of the stacks was this interview on 100 Huntley Street that aired on Friday:

9781434707284 $14.99 US/$16.50 CDN

Dove Award Nominees

From the website Hear it First, a full rundown of the top songs, albums, performances, producers, etc. in a variety of categories including rock, Southern gospel, rap, pop, inspirational, bluegrass and country! Click here to read.



Song of the Year – Cat 1

“Fix My Eyes”for KING & COUNTRY, (writers) Seth Mosley, Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone (publishers) CentricSongs/2 Hour Songs/Warner Tamerlane/Kilns Music/Shankel Songs/WB Music Corp/Method To The Madness

“Hello My Name Is”Matthew West, (writer) Matthew West (publishers) Songs of Southside Independent Music Publishing/External Combustion Music/Songs for Delaney/Warner/Chappell Music, LLC

“Hurricane”Natalie Grant, (writers) Natalie Grant, Matt Bronleewe, Cindy Morgan (publisher) SeeSee Bubba Songs/Tunes Of R And T Direct/Razor & Tie Music Publishing, LLC/Sony/ATV Timber Publishing/Forest For The Trees Music/Checkpointchicky Music/Seems Like Music/Music Services

“I Can Trust Him”The Perrys, (writers) Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey, (publishers) PsalmSinger Music/DaySpring Music/Songs From The Inside

“Lord I Need You”Matt Maher, (writers) Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Maher, (publishers) sixsteps Music/Sweater Weather Music/Thankyou Music/Valley Of Songs Music/ songs/EMI Christian Music Publishing

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”Hillsong UNITED, (writers) Matt Crocker, Joel Houston, Salomon Ligthelm (publisher) Hillsong Music Publishing/

“Overcomer”Mandisa, (writers) David Garcia, Christopher Stevens, Ben Glover (publishers) Ariose Music/9T One Songs/Meaux Mercy/LarryDavid Music/Capitol CMG Publishing/Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing/D Soul Music

“Revival”Karen Peck and New River, (writers) Kenna Turner West, Karen Peck Gooch, Don Poythress (publishers) Christian Taylor Music/ClearBox Rights/Integrity Worship Music/Eight Oaks Music/Karen Peck Music

“Say Amen”Brian Free & Assurance, (writers) Jason Cox, Michael Farren, Kenna Turner West, (publishers) Christian Taylor Music/Winding Way Music/ClearBox Rights/Farren Love and War Music/Wordspring Music

“That’s Why”Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, (writers) Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey, (publishers) Ernie Sig Sound Music/Hefton Hill Music/PsalmSinger Music/Universal Music-Brentwood Benson Songs


Artist of the Year – Cat 6

Casting Crowns, Beach Street Records/Reunion Records

Hillsong UNITED, Hillsong Music

Lecrae, Reach Records

Mandisa, Sparrow Records

NEEDTOBREATHE, Atlantic Records

Switchfoot, Atlantic Records


New Artist of the Year – Cat 7

1 Girl Nation, Reunion Records

Andy Mineo, Reach Records

Ellie Holcomb, Full Heart

Hillsong Young & Free, Hillsong Music/Sparrow Records

Love & The Outcome, Word Entertainment


Worship Song of the Year – Cat 19

“Future/Past”John Mark McMillan, (writer) John Mark McMillan, (publisher) Meaux Jeaux Music/Raucous Ruckus Publishing/

“Lord I Need You”Matt Maher, (writers) Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Maher, (publishers) sixsteps Music/Sweater Weather Music/Thankyou Music/Valley Of Songs Music/ songs/EMI Christian Music Publishing

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”Hillsong UNITED, (writers) Matt Crocker, Joel Houston, Salomon Ligthelm (publisher) Hillsong Music Publishing/

“Open Up The Heavens”Meredith Andrews/Vertical Church Band (writers) Meredith Andrews, Jason Ingram, Stu G., Andi Rozier, James MacDonald, (publishers) Word Music, LLC/Sony/ATV Timber Publishing/Open Hands Music/Stugio Music Publishing/Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing/HBC Worship Music/Sony/ATV

“The Only Name (Yours Will Be)”Big Daddy Weave, (writer) Benji Cowart, (publisher) Word Music, LLC/HowieCowie Publishing


Contemporary Christian Performance of the Year – Cat 3

“Fix My Eyes” - for KING & COUNTRY, Fervent/Curb, (producer) Seth Mosley

“Hurricane”Natalie Grant, Curb Records, (producer) Bernie Herms

“Lord I Need You”Matt Maher, Essential Records, (producer) Paul Moak

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”Hillsong UNITED, Hillsong Music/Sparrow Records, (producer) Michael Guy Chislett

“Overcomer” – Mandisa, Sparrow Records, (producer) Christopher Stevens & David Garcia

There are 42 categories altogether. Information is also at the Dove Awards site.

Knowing Who Is Your True Competitor

Canadian suppliers in the Christian book trade, such as David C. Cook, Foundation, Augsburg and HarperCollins may feel competitive pressures when stores “buy around” sourcing product from U.S. suppliers who often process orders within the hour. However, the true competitor isn’t seen in that model.

Rather the competitive pressure comes from vendors selling direct to consumers who promise product in their hands and at their doorstep often within 24 hours. Distributors: If that’s what retail frontliners are facing, that’s what you are facing.

Now comes word that Barnes and Noble is experimenting with same day shipping in the U.S.

That’s the direction our industry is going, and for the independent retailers who read this blog, that’s the direction our Canadian suppliers at the very least need to be perceived as moving toward.

Categories: Uncategorized

Light Unto My Path: Forty Biblical Reflections

Fr. Victor Abimbola Amole is a Catholic Priest currently working at the Immaculate Conception Church, Sutton West, Ontario; just north of Toronto. He is a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and regularly publishes articles in various journals and newspapers.

Light Unto My Path - Fr Victor AmolePublisher Marketing:

Christians are those who listen and hear the Word of God. In Light unto My Path, author Fr. Victor Abimbola Amole offers forty clear and engaging essays based on biblical themes that directly reflect on the word of God. Drawing inspiration from forty years, ten of those in the priesthood, Amole presents profound thoughts and spiritual wisdom regarding some of the most important topics that challenge the faithful today. He offers clear and engaging ways of relating to what is at the heart of the gospel. These reflections, interwoven with anecdotes and stories, focus on making a simple, systematic, and practical exposition for the spiritual enrichment of all Christians. They are suitable for use either by the lay faithful who desire to deepen their communion with the Lord who is the Word, or by ministers and clergy who need ready and apt ideas to speak on different biblical themes.

Fr. Victor adds:

The Christian faith teaches us that Christ Jesus is the Lord of history in whom the scriptures find their ultimate fulfillment. He is the “joy of man’s desiring”, the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the crown of the New Testament. Taking time to do some lively reflection on the scriptures is therefore ultimately turning to Jesus, the saving Lord of history, in whom all preoccupations and worries find fitting answers.

These forty reflections, finely interwoven with anecdotes and stories, are suitable for use either by the lay faithful who desire to deepen their communion with the Lord who is the Word, or by ministers and clergy who need ready and apt ideas to speak on different biblical themes.

There is no doubt that in the scriptures we find that loamy soil which fructify into life the kernels of Christian faith. Light Unto My Path was written with this fact in view, providing a succinct and rich view of the Christian life as nourished by the Word.

This 148-page book from Lulu Publishing is available to retailers from Ingram at a short discount using ISBN 9781483412061. Retailers in the GTA can contact Fr. Victor to arrange to get the books without Ingram handling and exchange charges.


John Piper’s Son on being John Piper’s Son

Apparently I got quite enthusiastic reviewing this at Thinking Out Loud this weekend. A video, a book cover shot, an author pic, and a related infographic…

I would not want to grow up in the shadow of a famous person, let alone a celebrity in the present Evangelical/Christian milieu, so after listening to several episodes of The Happy Rant Podcast, of which Barnabas Piper is one of three hosts — I decided it was time to see how iconic Calvinist John Piper fared in his son’s book, The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity.

The Pastor's Kid - Barnabas PiperDespite a rather intense introduction from the elder Piper, no family secrets were revealed, in fact there is such a universality to this story that perhaps it should be titled, The Church Leader’s Kid, or The Board Member’s Kid, or The Sunday School Teacher’s Kid, or even The Usher’s Kid. (Note: This list was not presented in descending order; I am not implying that ushers are any less important than board members.) The point is that all of us who grew up in church sometimes feel undeniable pressure to be good.

The book itself is rather light reading, though this is not a light subject. The younger Piper comes at this from various perspectives and with absolute transparency. The ministry life is an individual calling, but as I know from my own household, spouses and offspring get dragged into that life whether they want it or not.

The immersion into ministry life for a child is not simply a matter of meshing a church schedule to a school and sports schedule. The expectations are gigantic.

In some sense the “Bible expert” identity is one that PKs can’t help. It takes very intention effort not to learn biblical facts and references when it is your parents’ full-time job and home life both. We absorb biblical knowledge passively whether we care to or not. And the higher expectation naturally follows.

When you combine this ever-present reality with the fact we are the progeny of clergy, a further challenge arises — PKs are often expected to be theologians (sometimes by our parents, usually by the church). This is distinctly different than being a “Bible expert,” someone who knows the facts of Scripture. Being a theologian is a discipline, a cause, a passion. People expect that one of our great passions will be the systematized exploration and explanation of God. And while it is good for everyone to give careful thought to the things of God, the expectation of “theologian” placed on PKs is much more than that. (pp. 52-53)

The book also is strong in its examination of the relationship of the PK to the pastor/parent.

American church culture has created a double standard for pastors. They are expected to be dynamic leaders, teachers, counselors and organizational heads. And one of the job qualifications is that they be dynamic family men. These two demands would not necessary be at odds except that both far surpass reality. Pastors are expected to be superior in both roles, even when they are at odds with each other. (p. 119)

If the church wins the battle for the man’s time, the family (i.e. especially the kids) lose. “What we get are the leftovers. When that happens, while he may be seen as great pastor, he is a flop as a parent.”

Barnabas Piper and John PiperThere is more than a direct hint from Barnabas that his famous father really isn’t drawn to any particular hobbies. In a rare candid paragraph he laments that “…to this day, I still yearn to have a shared hobby with my father, something as simple as golf or hiking. Such little things have big meanings.” While I am not a pastor myself, I saw myself in this section of the book, especially the notation that, “…what he loved was studying, theology, writing and preaching — not exactly the hobbies to share with a twelve-year old.”

That’s possibly why I said the book really has a more general application, especially for Christian men. I know men aren’t big consumers of Christian books, but the 137 pages of core content here includes 21 essentially blank pages (something publisher David C. Cook is frequently guilty of) so at least the guys will feel they are making progress as they read.

As universal as are the parenting issues this book speaks to, the very designation “PK” shows that the issues are unique.

You can tell we have a reputation because we get our own abbreviation. You don’t see a teacher’s kid getting called a “TK” or a salesman’s kid getting called an “SK.” (p. 23)

There are two things that are absent from The Pastor’s Kid which I feel are worth noting.

First, Barnabas is the son of both a famous preacher and a famous preacher’s wife. (Some churches even refer to the Pastor’s wife as the church’s “First Lady,” in the same sense as the wife of the U.S. President.) Perhaps he is saving this for a sequel, establishing a brand. (The Pastor’s Wife followed by The Pastor’s Cat and Dog.) It’s also possible that Noël Piper wisely suggested something like, ‘Leave me out of it.’ Either way, there is only a passing reference to his mother.

Second, and more importantly, while the subject frequently arises, there isn’t nearly enough direct treatment of what Barna Research refers to as Prodigal Pastors’ Kids. Perhaps their circumstances make them overly visible, but we all know PKs who have gone off the deep end, either theologically or behaviorally. (See infographic below.)

Those two things said, this is still an important book and one that every elder, board member needs to read, as well as passing it down the line to kidmin and ymin workers who deal with the PKs in Sunday School, midweek club, or youth group.

Thanks to Martin Smith of David C. Cook Canada for a chance to come late to the review party and still get a seat! For another excerpt from the book, see the second half of this devotional at C201.

Barna Research - Prodigal Pastors' Kids - from infographic

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Why It’s Safer to Stay With Major Publishers

Control the WeatherHere’s the publisher marketing on a 2013 title a friend encountered…

…To have victory over potentially bad weather, and keep from reaping its devastating effects on your property and family, there are steps that every “believer” or person of faith needs to know and to take in advance. In “Guide,” [Ilene] Saidel will teach readers how to use what God has already given them to command the weather. Walk in your authority and protect your life and family from “intruders.” See the protection of God on a whole new level.”

I don’t think this would resonate with people who have been in areas of the United States that have been impacted with flood, drought, tornadoes and hurricanes. Praying for rain is one thing; having control over the weather is something only God can do, and many theologians and Biblical scholars believe that while God can intervene at will, many times the natural consequences of a fallen earth are allowed to play out.

At times like this I am reminded that bookstores like ours are safer to stay with the major publishers — Baker, Zondervan, Harvest House, Cook, Tyndale, etc. — and even then it’s good to use discernment.

You may have a market for books like this one, but generally speaking, the axiom is true that “the cream rises to the top.” You also don’t want to be inadvertently promoting errant doctrine that might lead people astray.

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