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Archive for October, 2012

Nelson – Zondervan Consolidation Impacting Canada

The announced departure last week of an inside sales rep at Thomas Nelson’s Canadian marketing agency, Canada Direct, is seen as foreshadowing other changes in the Canadian market due to the acquisition of Nelson by HarperCollins. It was November 2nd last year when this blog first published reports of the acquisition, but with a number of hurdles overcome, we now seem to be moving closer to a streamlining of marketing and fulfillment for the two publishers. Details, as they say, to follow.

Meanwhile, the merger and acquisition machinery keeps rolling with speculation last week about a merger between Penguin and Random House confirmed on Monday. Random House owns the Christian book group consisting of Multnomah and Waterbrook Press.

New Kingsbury Title Pegs CDN MSRP at Par; Dollar Goes Below Par

October 29, 2012 1 comment

I had to look twice to see it, but there it was on the inside flap of The Bridge, the new Karen Kingsbury Christmas novel: U.S. $19.99 / CAN $19.99. Perhaps Howard Books has done this on a few other titles, but this was the first time I’d noticed.

But is it bad timing? Today for the first time in a long time the Canadian dollar is trading below par. The dollar began the week trading at 99.98 cents at 11:00 AM Monday. To see noon and end of day currency rates check and bookmark this Bank of Canada website.

Are Music Departments a Thing of the Past?

October 28, 2012 3 comments


The above is the featured music page of a large Toronto Christian bookstore. Last week we were told that in a couple of larger stores in Western Canada you have to strain to see the music department. Music sales have been declining for years, but are we now witnessing the beginning of the end?

From The Author of the Bestselling ‘Not a Fan’

October 27, 2012 1 comment

Gods at War by Kyle Idleman — Coming January, 2013

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Awakening of Hope: A Book You Can Recommend

I’ve just finished reading a book which is such a wealth of insight and teaching, I might just start at page one and begin again. I’ll do a review of it later at Thinking Out Loud, but suffice it say to my fellow readers that this is a book that you can recommend wholeheartedly to that slice of your customer base that reads “good books” and “deep books.”

The Awakening of Hope : Why We Practice a Common Faith is the work of Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Zondervan, paperback) who many of us got to know through the Common Prayer book of liturgical readings co-authored with Shane Claiborne, who also writes the intro to this one.

The book is structured around the features of monastic community.  Okay, I saw that eyes glazing over thing you just did. But this book is a mixture of equal parts church history, missional ministry, community living, world missions, etc.

But the part that you as fellow retailers need to know is that Jonathan’s writing bears an uncanny similarity to another Zondervan author, Philip Yancey. To be specific:

  • written from experiences made possible by extensive travel in that present-tense style used by travel writers
  • honest and personal
  • rich text — any one paragraph could stand on its own for study and further consideration
  • relevant to the situation we find ourselves in, which probably isn’t a monastic community
  • healthy doses of scripture verses that are somewhat cross-indexed or juxtaposed

It’s not enough to stock this book, you need to get staff to read it so you can recommend it. I’d suggest picking one of the features of monastic community which forms one of the chapters and then choosing the one that interests you so you have the feel of the style and pacing of the book.

Then recommend it to those customers who like to go deep, but perhaps have never heard of Jonathan, or Shane Claiborne for that matter.

For my consumer review, including a link to an excerpt of the book, click here.

Thanks to Mark at HarperCollins Canada for encouraging me to give this title a spin!

Interest Rises in 3-year-old IVP Academic Title

October 25, 2012 1 comment

Okay, maybe where you live six copies isn’t a big deal; but when the interest comes from people who aren’t really connected to each other, I take it as significant. The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton.

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James Rubart Delivers Again on 4th Novel

I may never pray the same way again. Seriously. And all this from reading a work of fiction.

Soul’s Gate is the fourth novel from James Rubart, author of Rooms, The Book of Days and The Chair; and he continues to excel with each new release.

For this book, he digs deep into the unseen realm(s) of the battles ordinary people wage each day against invisible spiritual forces. ‘We wrestle not against flesh and blood,’ right? In so doing, Rubart has brought to market a story that rivals the original in this genre, Frank Peretti’s landmark title, This Present Darkness from the late 1980’s. (C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters notwithstanding.)

But this is not exactly fantasy. The book revolves around four people whose lives are not that different from yours or mine. Yes, there are things that take place that I believe Rubart would say exceed possibility — such as inferred from the title — but his take on praying with great, expectant faith is also down-to-earth and practical. You could call this Life application fiction, though I think the phrase is already copyrighted. It definitely can change your prayer life.

Reviewers often mention the page count of a book — 372, if you need to know — but this is a book that adds value with every single page. During the first few chapters I was already given multiple ideas to process, and am considering restarting at chapter one once my wife is finished.

There is also a very strong Christian presence in each situation and character and the narration places a high value on scripture. This is the book you hand to someone who wants to know what a work of Christian fiction looks like; what makes it distinct.

My only concern is that after accepting a review copy I discovered this is the first in a series of Well Spring novels. A series. Something I swore I would never do, especially as someone for whom non-fiction, doctrinal books are dominant on my shelves. ‘I will read this first one,’ I told myself, ‘and then move on to other writers.’ By the half-way mark, I decided such was not the case.

I’m hooked.

Soul’s Gate will resonate well with Christian readers, but I wouldn’t stop there, as the book may work well with people who enjoyed that other popular Christian fiction title from last few years which also featured a cabin on the cover. If you know what I mean.


A copy of Soul’s Gate was provided to Thinking Out Loud by Thomas Nelson and is available in paperback wherever good books are sold.


For some other reflections I had after reading this book, click over to this article at Christianity 201.

Un-Bestsellers List

October 22, 2012 2 comments

Couldn’t help but notice two new additions to the Ingram Top 100 list (the first two below) forming a bit of a pattern:

  • Unreconciled, The — Christian fiction by Eric Young published by Ambassador Emerald; $16.98 paperback  9781620201053 (which was #7 on today’s list from the weekend)
  • Unforgettable: God’s Relentless Heart for His Daughters — Stephanie G. Henderson, published by CrossRoads  $13.99 paperback  9781462721276
  • Undaunted — The Zondervan Christine Caine title which is also available as a DVD
  • Undaunted — The Josh McDowell title which is also available as a DVD
  • Unglued — The Lysa Terkeurst title which is also available as a DVD

Confused yet?

UPDATE: Okay, I forgot:

  • Unstoppable — Nick Vujicic

FURTHER UPDATE: This can’t be happening:

  • Unconditional — Eva Marie Everson, a Sept release from B&H

Cook Canada Kills Christmas Compact Disc Discount

October 17, 2012 3 comments

The Christmas CD market must be terribly consequential, otherwise the music industry wouldn’t crank them out at the rate they do. In the final days before December 25th, Christmas albums fly off the shelves, but for retailers it’s hard to know which ones will click, and it’s painful to be out of stock. The whole thing is a bit of a crap shoot, compressed into a very short span of time.

That’s where the CMC-originated 50% discount on Christmas DVDs and CDs was a big help to retailers who were willing to take a chance purchase their product sales final. When David C. Cook Canada (DCC) purchased CMC they continued this concept for four years. True, there was leftover product, but the product that did sell sold at a healthy margin; a margin helpful if the following season saw the same titles at a slightly lower list price.

Combine this with CMC’s “Red Hot Rush” concept — which Cook also retained — and you had a winning formula for maximizing Christmas music sales during the weeks your store was at peak performance.

Now we learn the discount program is history, just at a time when the sale of physical music needs all the help it can get. To some it will seem that DCC has decided to play Grinch. For more of us, this will certainly temper Christmas music buying which is already cautious going into the final quarter of 2012, and it will also have a small impact on the year’s bottom line.

Nelson and Zondervan to Consolidate Fiction Publisher

From Publisher’s Weekly (PW):

PW has learned that as part of the recent reorganizations of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan—which have been combined to form the HarperCollins Christian Publishing Group—fiction has been placed under one publisher, Daisy Hutton, from Thomas Nelson in Nashville. Fiction marketing will now be handled by a single team at Thomas Nelson; fiction editors at Nelson and Zondervan remain separate and in their current locations. Zondervan did not have a dedicated fiction publisher prior to the reorganization; those duties belonged to Annette Bourland, who remains senior v-p of Zondervan Book Publishing.

Book Industry Under Microscope

Unfortunately, I tend to toss out the newspapers as I read them, and I tend to read them up to a week after they were printed; but there’s no denying that the book industry has experienced a lot of coverage in Canada’s leading newspaper, The Toronto Star. A story on a specialty Women’s bookstore that’s closing. A story on a store that was the ‘set’ for a viral YouTube video. A story on a bookseller who felt the heart of bookselling was lost online, and went back to having a physical location. A report on the deal being struck by Google Books to access titles of several major publishers. And all this in the past two weeks.

For an industry some consider ‘down for the count,’ we certainly seem to fascinate the press.

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Endorsements

This week after church my pastor asked about the endorsements that appear on the back covers (or inside flaps) of Christian books. He feels there is a credibility gap, noting that (a) he has observed that often the endorsements on a particular imprint come from other authors having books on that same imprint; (b) there seem to be certain ‘go-to’ authors who turn up endorsing just about everything; and (c) the comments often contain an undeserving number of superlatives that suggest to him that perhaps the endorsements concerned come from people who didn’t actually read the book in question.