Home > Uncategorized > CBD Add Niche-Market Reformed Boutique

CBD Add Niche-Market Reformed Boutique

It looks familiar, right? Look a little closer.

If the people at online/mail-order Christian book retailer CBD (Christian Book Distributors) were paying attention to the recent Tim Challies poll — and I’ll bet the rent that they were — they realized they are not as big a player in the Reformed/Calvinist book market as they would like to be.    This is a crowd that increasingly prefers to buy from their own.

While the Challies.com survey revealed that just under 50% had made an online purchase from CBD in the past two years, only 8.8% considered the company their “most often” choice; with Westminster Books scoring 9.7% and Monergism garnering 6.6%.   Of course, the commanding lead was held by Am*z*n, with a whopping 69.6%.

So it’s not surprising at all that we see the launch of CBD-Reformed (tag line:  Serving the Needs of the Reformed Community).  The company is hoping to win back customers at a time when the Reformed book-buying market clearly outstrips the former market-leader, the Charismatic market.

Does this distinction matter?   Time will tell.   As the screenshot shows, there’s no attempt to disguise the fact that this is simply a boutique within the same old CBD.   They’ve simply isolated certain titles, authors and publishers within the existing framework; and in fact, one’s order cart transfers back and forth between the Reformed site and the main site.

What does all this say to brick and mortar retailers?

A Christian bookstore trying to be all things to all people may have a Charismatic or Renewal section; there may be a Roman Catholic section; but I’m willing to bet many have never considered a Reformed or Calvinist section.   Reformed publishers greatly dominate our industry already, with Eerdman’s, Baker, P&R, and even Zondervan owing their beginnings to Reformed roots.   (Elsewhere however, Zondervan rated a low 20% on the question of publisher credibility.  With stats like that you could assume some Reformers have come to despise the company, and sure enough, asked in the reverse, the company got a 64.6 ranking for “low credibility” nearly double that of Nelson at 32.6%.)

But perhaps there is a need for a Reformed section in our stores given the current climate.    What then does that say, if you walk into a store that has Catholic, Charismatic and Reformed sections?   Shouldn’t the Christian bookstore be a melting pot, where divisions disappear, and books are classified solely on their distinctions as prayer, devotional, family, commentaries, fiction, etc.?

Or I suppose you could segregate some inventory and just call it the “Crossway” section.

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