C.C.I.C. Serves Scarborough’s Large Chinese Market

It had been an extremely long time since I last dropped in on C.C.I.C. Bookroom and the visit yesterday wasn’t planned. But something about the block looked familiar and behold; there was the store.

Their ministry is to the Chinese community in Scarborough and Markham. Bookshelves like the ones pictured below abound and frankly, I had no idea what I was looking at. There is a very small English book section. I had heard that the next generation of youth attending ethnic churches were English speakers so I asked if that translated (no pun intended) into younger people buying the English titles, but was told sales on those are quite slow. Some sections of the store however — greeting cards, children’s music and videos, etc. — are English by default, though I wish I’d snapped a picture of a bilingual piece of giftware.

Store owners and managers would do well to visit stores like this one and Tyrannus Books in Thornhill simply for (a) the educational value of seeing another type of Christian store and (b) the encouragement that comes through the reminder we’re part of something bigger; that Christianity stretches around the world. Stores like this also frequently find themselves stuck with slow-moving English inventory and if you arrive on a day that the manager is in the store; they might be willing to sell you some product. It may not be a bargain purchase, but you’ll be helping a ministry to one of many ethnicities we have in Canada.

C.C.I.C is located at 3880 Midland Avenue in Scarborough. 416 297 6540 ccicebookstore.net

Categories: Uncategorized

Top Ten Books – Part Six – NavPress

Though their sales and marketing is now merged with Tyndale, the publishing arm of The Navigators is still very much a distinct imprint.

NavPress Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/23/17 *

  1. Trusting God – Jerry Bridges
  2. A Compact Guide to the Christian Life – Karen Lee-Thorp
  3. Respectable Sins – Jerry Bridges
  4. Real Life Discipleship Training Manual
  5. Crushed: Why Guys Don’t Have to Make or Break You – Jessie Minassian
  6. When Man Began to Call on God – T.W. Hunt
  7. The Story of Me (book 1) – Stan Jones
  8. Before I Was Born (book 2) – Carolyn Nystrom
  9. Backwards Beauty – Jessie Minassian
  10. The Cry of the Soul – Dan Allender

*Doesn’t include a host of NavPress study guides and the many titles in the Becoming a Woman of… series by Cynthia Heald. We didn’t count pocket books, but #1 right now on this list was Surprise the World: The Five Habits of Missional People by Michael Frost.

We don’t usually do this in such detail, but if you flip the list over to Ingram demand instead, you get:

  1. Calm My Anxious Heart – Linda Dillow
  2. Growing Strong in God’s Family – Nav Staff
  3. Wounded Children, Healing Homes – Jayne Schooler
  4. The Discipline of Grace – Jerry Bridges
  5. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Home – Donald A. Whitney
  6. What’s the Big Deal (book 3) – Stan Jones
  7. Abba’s Child – Brennan Manning

…and so on! A very different list.

NavPress Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/23/17 *

  1. Trusting God w/ Study Guide – Jerry Bridges
  2. Calm My Anxious Heart – Linda Dillow
  3. Pursuit of Holiness w/ Study Guide – Jerry Bridges
  4. What’s the Big Deal (book 3) – Stan Jones
  5. A Praying Life – Paul Miller
  6. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (updated) – Donald A. Whitney
  7. How to Stay Christian in College – J. Budziszewski
  8. The Fruitful Life – Jerry Bridges
  9. Before I Was Born (book 2) – Carolyn Nystrom
  10. The Practice of Godliness – Jerry Bridges

*Excluding discount product, study guides, mass markets, audio products and Message Bibles.

We’ll do one more of these this week, probably Thomas Nelson. I don’t carry B&H or Crossway in my store as I consider them denominational publishers. Past that we’re getting into more obscure imprints.

Remembering Lance Muir of Ontario Christian Books

Ontario Christian Books is a unique store. Located in Streetsville, which is now part of Mississauga, the store especially resonated with scholars and pastors looking for academic books, especially obscure titles and commentary sets. In my brief career as a sales rep in the 1980s, I remember leaving the store one time thinking to myself, ‘Everyone else is buying box sets and breaking them up; this store buys individual books and creates sets.’

Store manager Lance Muir passed away at home on Good Friday at age 75. The store website announcement includes, “All of us at Ontario Christian Books will miss him more than we can say. We know that many of our customers enjoyed interacting with him in the store.”

The obituary in the Toronto Star notes the visitation is at, “Turner & Porter “Peel” Chapel, 2180 Hurontario St. (Hwy. 10, N. of QEW), on Thursday, April 27th, 2–4 and 7–9 p.m. Funeral Service will be held at Chartwell Baptist Church, 1880 Lakeshore Rd. W., Mississauga, Friday, April 28th, 2 p.m.

“If desired, remembrances may be made to Teen Challenge Canada or Princess Margaret Hospital.

“Online condolences may be made through www.turnerporter.ca

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Top Ten Books – Part Five – InterVarsity Press (IVP)

We continue our look at what’s happening in real time with various publishers. I wish we had the time to do this every quarter or even every month. It makes for interesting discovery. I’d also like to put together a list from the three major Canadian distributors (Parasource, HarperCollins and Foundation) of ITPE titles. Are my suppliers reading this?

Today a publisher I had the privilege of working for in (technically) two different cities: Toronto and Markham before their absorption into the R. G. Mitchell family.

IVP Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/20/17 *

  1. The Soul of Shame – Curt Thompson
  2. Sensible Shoes – Sharon Garlough Brown (fiction)
  3. Know Why You Believe – Paul Little
  4. Hearing God – Dallas Willard
  5. The Road Back to You – Cron & Stabille  (Enneagram)
  6. The Seven Deadly Virtues – Todd Outcalt
  7. The Gift of Being Yourself – David Benner
  8. Barefoot – Sharon Garlough Brown (fiction)
  9. Keeping Place – Michel Jen Pollock
  10. The Fight – John White

*Items #1 and #2 on the list were actually the little booklet My Heart Christ’s Home. (See note on the list below as well.) We don’t count pocket books but the mass market edition of Basic Christianity was #8.) There were not as many study guides showing on this list as we expected. So eliminating the aforementioned titles, #10 was actually #13; quite a difference from the list to follow.

If you switch the list from Spring Arbor Demand to Ingram Demand, #1 is Strengthening the Soul of Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton, but the titles which follow are similar to what’s above.

IVP Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/20/17 *

  1. Knowing God – J. I. Packer *
  2. Too Busy Not to Pray – Bill Hybels
  3. Discipleship Essentials – Greg Ogden *
  4. The God Shaped Brain – Timothy Jennings (preorders)
  5. Impossible People – Os Guiness
  6. Sensible Shoes – Sharon Garlough Brown (fiction)
  7. The Road Back to You – Cron & Stabille  (Enneagram)
  8. Know What You Believe – Paul Little
  9. Barefoot – Sharon Garlough Brown (fiction)
  10. Hearing God – Dallas Willard
  11. Delighting in the Trinity – Michael Reeves (IVP Academic)
  12. The Good and Beautiful Community – James Bryan Smith *
  13. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook – Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

*Lots of explanations needed here. For IVP, we changed the discount threshold to 50% for various reasons. The exceptions are indicated by an asterisk, and we added 3 additional titles for the purists who wanted the usual 44% discount at CBD to apply. Missing also are a host of study guides. (You can ask for a recent rank order list of those from Parasource anytime or check your print IVP catalogue for the ranked list on the inside back cover.) For that reason, #13 here is actually #40 on the overall CBD list. Also, FYI, #1 on their list was the 5-pack of the My Heart Christ’s Home booklet, which should always be in stock at our stores.


For your personal devotions, check out IVP’s Hard Sayings of the Day page. 

For a window into a whole different world of InterVaristy Press check out what’s happening at IVP UK

For the top selling study guides at IVP, check out their Bible Study page  (their amazing LifeGuide Finder has mysteriously vanished off their website.)

Categories with Short Shelf Lives

Even in the Christian bookstore market, where our core message is unchanged in 2,000 years, certain book genres have a short shelf life, such as:

  • Family life books on coping with technology. I write this just as a new one is releasing. I know the author (Andy Crouch) and am looking forward to stocking it. But in this category, anything five years or older is probably out of touch with whatever is trending, though the principles may still apply. Good luck if the book references “your AOL account.” Most of these fall into the marriage or parenting sub-category.
  • Prophecy titles. I don’t read a lot of these, but I notice some of them turn up on remainder lists after only twelve months. I suppose you only have to get it wrong on a single page and then they stone you. Okay, we don’t actually stone writers, but having the print copies turn up at 99-cents on CBD is probably just as painful.
  • Personality-based books. Have you noticed all the Duck Dynasty product that’s reduced right now? Also many times that “rising” Hollywood celebrity or sports star fails to achieve the fame that publishers promised when pitching the books. Or the book has sales potential in the U.S. that never successfully makes the border crossing, except maybe in Emerson, Manitoba, which doesn’t have a lot of bookstores.)
  • Youth Ministry texts. Remember that game where you pass the Life Saver on a toothpick? Well, if you wanted grow your youth group, it probably worked in the 1950s (at least in the more progressive churches of that day) but today it might even have liability issues. Even a year later, these books only work when student pastors take the ideas and modify them.
  • Too good to be true trends. You didn’t think the adult coloring book thing would last forever, did you?

Did we miss any?

More to Cover Art than Just the Cover

One of the distinctives of the Christian book market is the ongoing strength of our backlist. I would venture that our per-capita rate of perennial titles is higher than any other book genre.

The downside of this — and I have been recently made aware how guilty I am of this — is that our vast libraries of books are often spine out rather than facings. (It was interesting to note last week that in the new Amazon retail stores, all books are face out, without exception.) The picture above, for something we did on Facebook called “Tozerama,” shows how many of our stores’ shelves appear, and how our customers have to turn their heads sideways to read titles.

So while we often “judge a book by its cover” and consider the sales potential of a title when the sales rep shows us the planned cover art, in many of our stores it’s the spine of the book that makes it stand out, especially months later when it has left the “New Releases” section.

So when Tim Underwood posted the link to this story on Twitter today, I knew it was worth sharing with readers here. Do you think that publishers in the Christian market consider how we shelve our books?

Click to read The Overlooked Art of Designing a Book Spine at medium.com.

 

HarperCollins Timeline Integrates Its Christian Publishing Divisions’ Histories

In 1817, James and John Harper open the modest printing establishment of J. & J. Harper, Printers, in New York City; which means this is an anniversary year. A BIG anniversary year!

To celebrate, the company has created a special website 200.hc.com which is divided into five sections. Of special interest to readers here is the Timeline page, which includes histories of divisions added through mergers and acquisitions, such as Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. As you’ll see however, Thomas Nelson goes back a long time too, with a history that’s not so shabby. And Zondervan isn’t exactly a new kid on the block.

Title page from the Collins King James Bible, circa 1839.

Top Ten Books – Part Four – Tyndale House

Are you enjoying this series? I hope so. Lists like this represent a very brief snapshot however. You always need to know the time frame by which the list is compiled. On Ingram’s Bestseller page, you’re seeing the one day before. It’s a great look at the Top 100 in real time. But on their Top Demand page, you’re seeing “a rolling 12-month period.” I suspect CBD’s listings are being constantly updated in real time.

Today’s publisher is the iconic, independent Tyndale House Publishers.

Tyndale House Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/11/17 *

  1. Without Warning – Joel Rosenberg **
  2. A Child’s First Bible – Kenneth Taylor
  3. Kingdom Woman – Tony Evans
  4. The Four Seasons of Marriage – Gary Chapman
  5. Heaven – Randy Alcorn
  6. A Tale of Three Kings – Gene Edwards
  7. Ready to Wed – Gary Smalley
  8. Jesus on Leadership – Gene Wilkes
  9. War Room – Chris Farby
  10. Land of Silence – Tessa Afshar

*Spring Arbor demand list; excluding study guides, mass markets and Bibles. On Ingram list, Tale of Three Kings was #1, followed by Without Warning, Child’s First Bible, The First Hostage (Rosenberg) and Kingdom Woman. Sometimes the lists are closely similar while other times they diverge greatly.

**Title is hardcover in the U.S.

Tyndale House Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/11/17 *

  1. Without Warning – Joel Rosenberg**
  2. Deep Extraction – DiAnn Mills
  3. Heaven – Randy Alcorn
  4. The Coming Apostasy – Mark Hitchcock + Jeff Kinley
  5. One Year Book of Devotions for Boys
  6. Life Recovery Workbook
  7. Maybe It’s You – Candace Calvert
  8. Bread of Angels – Tessa Afshar
  9. Sisters of Sugar Creek – Cathy Liggett
  10. Counter Culture – David Platt

*Excluding discount product, study guides, mass markets, audio products and Bibles. On a search for Tyndale Kids, the #1 title is One Year Book of Real Life Encounters With God (2003) followed by a number of OYB children’s titles.

**Title is hardcover in the U.S.

Top Ten Books – Part Three – Zondervan

We’re continuing to explore two different types of Top Ten lists. Our goal is to feature standard trade paperbacks and hardcovers. We probably wouldn’t be doing this series if publisher websites were more forthcoming about bestsellers and had a separate section for new releases. As it stands, they are mostly selling what’s new, which is why the CBD and Spring Arbor lists provide a healthy balance. In both of the first two lists below there are three (different) titles which I’ve never stocked.

Zondervan Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/9/17 *

  1. Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? – Rick Warren
  2. The Broken Way – Ann Voskamp *
  3. The 21 Day Financial Fast – Michelle Singletary
  4. The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel
  5. Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family – Kara Powell
  6. Christian Beliefs: 20 Basics Every Christian Should Know – Wayne Grudem
  7. Boundaries – Cloud and Townsend
  8. If I’m Found – Terri Blackstock
  9. Unglued – Lysa TerKeurst
  10. No More Faking Fine – Esther Fleece

*US edition is hardcover. List omitted Bibles, video, low price, and curriculum study guides. Item 10 here is actually #25 when all are included.

Zondervan Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/9/17 *

  1. Keep It Shut – Karen Ehman
  2. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – Nabeel Qureshi
  3. If I’m Found – Terri Blackstock
  4. No God But One – Nabeel Qureshi
  5. The Broken Way – Ann Voskamp *
  6. Upon a Spring Breeze – Kelly Irvin
  7. Who Made God? – Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler
  8. Listen, Love, Repeat – Karen Ehman
  9. Let’s Be Real – Natasha Bure (pre-orders)
  10. Made to Crave – Lisa TerKeurst

*US edition is hardcover. List omitted Bibles, video, low price point (Case for Christ mass market would have been #3) and curriculum items; as well as a very large number of items CBD currently has on sale at discounts higher than our cutoff which is 44%. (We consider many of their 45+% titles to be blowouts, and their $5 price point to be unfair competition.) Item 10 here is actually #63 on their full list, but their listings are skewed with so many specials.

Zonderkidz Top Five at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/9/17 *

  1. Beginner Bible
  2. Jesus Storybook Bible
  3. Case for Christ for Kids
  4. Tiny Bears Bible
  5. Little One, God Made You Special (board bk)

*Does not include low price items, Bibles, high discount items and a very large number of Beranstain Bears!

Zonderkidz Top Five at CBD – accessed 4/9/17 *

  1. Jesus Storybook Bible
  2. Found – Sally Lloyd Jones
  3. The Ultimate Boys Book of Devotions
  4. Jesus Storybook Bible (new padded cover deluxe edition)
  5. Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing – Sally Lloyd Jones

*Does not include low price items, Bibles, high discount items and a very large number of Berenstain Bears! Item 5 here is actually #45 on their list.

I wonder if anyone ever interviewed Jan and Mike Berenstain and asked, “So, how did the bear family get their name?”

 

 

It’s Time to Standardize “Large Print” and “Giant Print”

A few weeks ago I encountered a Bible with an 8.5 point font being passed off as large print. I’m quite sure my customers would disagree. Of course there’s more to readability than just point size. There’s also,

  • the degree of inking in the print process (can vary even within a single Bible)
  • the space between lines (leading)
  • the type of font used (sans serif fonts seem to be cleaner)
  • the bleed from the page(s) underneath (paper thickness)

Customers with reading difficulty are quick to mention all of these as well as differing opinions on red letter editions. (On your computer, does that stand out more, or does the black stand out more?)

We definitely are in need of a uniform industry standard which all publishers must conform to. If publishers won’t agree to do this, we at least need the point size indicated on the product packaging.

Top Ten Books – Part Two – Baker

As we said yesterday, there’s a real dearth of data available for stores that want to manually check their inventory to make sure they’re not missing something, or possibly not giving enough profile to a title that’s doing well elsewhere.  Today we’re looking at Baker (the imprint, not the entire publishing group.)

Baker Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/6/17

  1. Grace is Greater – Kyle Idleman
  2. Replenish – Lance Witt
  3. Grieving with Hope: Finding Comfort as You Journey – various
  4. Simple Christianity – John MacArthur
  5. The Mystery – Lacey Sturm
  6. The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross – Arthur Pink
  7. Growing Young – Kara Powell
  8. Resolving Everyday Conflict – Ken Sande
  9. Forgiven and Set Free: Post-Abortion Bible Study – Linda Cochrane
  10. Good Faith – David Kinnaman

Baker Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/6/17 *

  1. Grace is Greater – Kyle Idleman
  2. Imagine Heaven – John Burke
  3. 50 People Every Christian Should Know – Warren Wiersbe
  4. Switch on Your Brain – Caroline Leaf
  5. Play the Man – Mark Batterson (preorders)
  6. A Visual Guide to Gospel Events – various (Baker Academic)
  7. The Invisible War – Chip Ingram
  8. Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling, 4th edition – David Kruis
  9. So What’s the Difference, updated and expanded – Fritz Ridenour
  10. The Real God – Chip Ingram

*trade book titles (not downloads) at 44% discount or less

It’s interesting that only the #1 title repeated on both lists; compared to yesterday’s where many were consistent between CBD and Ingram’s Spring Arbor demand list.

Top Ten Books – Part One – David C. Cook

I often rant that given that the book industry is a subset of the larger entertainment business, our suppliers need to give us better information about what is selling in the form of charts. Since that’s not forthcoming anytime soon, I’ve taken it upon myself to do some Top Ten lists. For Ingram this is easy because you can go into “View Publisher’s Titles” and then rank them by Spring Arbor stores’ demand. With CBD, we simply eliminated all their downloads and high discount items (cutoff was 44%).

We’ll cover major publishers here, so Cook, Baker, Bethany House, Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, B&H, etc., as well as others you request by email. I think these lists can be more helpful than the full CBA list, because it can help in doing inventory checks or filling out orders. (I wish I’d done more of this while new year restock offers were in effect.)

David C. Cook Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/6/17

  1. The Action Bible
  2. Forgotten God – Francis Chan
  3. Jesus is Alive – Cuddle and Sing – Debby Anderson
  4. Action Bible New Testament
  5. Baby Bible Storybook for Girls
  6. Jesus Loves Me – Cuddle and Sing – Debby Anderson
  7. Crazy Love – Francis Chan
  8. Cold Case Christianity – J. Warner Wallace
  9. It Hurts to Lose a Special Person – Amy Ross Mumford
  10. The Picture Bible

David C. Cook Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/6/17

  1. Jesus is Alive – Debby Anderson
  2. Cold Case Christianity – J. Warner Wallace
  3. Bible Knowledge Commentary – Walvoord & Zuck (2 vol.)
  4. The End of Me – Kyle Idleman
  5. Jesus Loves Me – Debby Anderson
  6. Forgotten God – Francis Chan
  7. I am N – Voice of the Martyrs
  8. Forensic Faith – J. Warner Wallace (pre-orders)
  9. Living Crazy Love – Francis Chan (workbook)
  10. Sacred Search – Gary Thomas