Source: Retail, Jly 27/14
Every time a new Joyce Meyer title releases in hardcover, I am reminded of the discussions I had with Hachette Book Group’s people in New York City about five years ago concerning the use of International Trade Paper Editions (ITPEs) in the Canadian Christian market. I don’t know who set up these talks, and of course it was all done by telephone, but I know one of the calls was nearly an hour in length as I explained how Thomas Nelson and Zondervan and a number of other publishers make it a regular practice to offer A-list titles in ITPE in the Canadian market, as they do in Europe and Australasia and South Africa.
The books do exist. Joyce Meyer’s forthcoming title is listed at Koorong at $18.99 Australian dollars and a paperback edition of You Can Begin Again is currently on sale there for $15.99 Australian.
My belief is that the U.S. first-edition hardcovers cut into the sales potential here in a big way. Yes, some people are willing to pay, but my guess is that this could be as little as a quarter (25%) of what the sales would be if the ITPEs were available. Of course, there are royalty issues and the whole problem whereby literary agents have deemed Canada simply an extension of the U.S. market, hence the price fluctuation with changing currency rates. But sales are sales, money talks, and I have a hard time believing that HBC would rather stand their ground and let sales dollars evaporate that do the logical thing.
Hachette Books, Joyce Meyer Ministries, if you’re reading this; you’re shooting yourselves in the foot. Canada is not the 51st state. This is its own market with its own spending patterns. Joyce, you have a reputation of having books that are always too expensive for many of the people you say your ministry exists to serve. It’s an absolute travesty.
And if asked, in my humble opinion, it’s a travesty on both sides of the border.
In the meantime, if you care, open the Canadian market to these titles. Better yet, pick just one of Joyce’s forthcoming titles and see the difference for yourselves. I dare you!
A Provident Pictures DVD featuring Kirk Cameron, Tim Hawkins and Chelsea Noble Cameron that was formerly available only through Family Christian Stores in the United States is now being made available to retailers in Canada through David C. Cook. Mercy Rule is a family-friendly baseball movie in which Cameron and his wife Chelsea play husband and wife in the film. Canadian retailers can order the $18.99 CDN DVD on B2B using item # 311470.
Canadian Christian retailers who think the market here for high-end Bibles is dead might be surprised to see the final stats for the Bibliotheca project on Kickstarter. Bibliotheca is an elegant four-volume issue of the ASV, American Standard Version. The original goal was $37,000, but the project greatly surpassed that:
In other words, 5.35% of the orders identified as Canadian. As a retailer, it astounds me that nearly 800 Canadians would want the ASV in any format, let alone at $105 USD including shipping. But it also amazes me that there even were 800 Canadians wanting to own the set.
It signals to me that the market isn’t as tight as we often believe it to be. It’s also possible that social media (Twitter, etc.) connected buyers who might not frequent our somewhat Evangelical-based retail stores. It’s also possible that some of these purchases are speculative, hoping the esoteric book set might be worth more in the collector’s or antiquarian book market.
Of course, sadly, this is yet another project which bypasses the CBA retail market; it represents more dollars spent outside our stores; and it’s also another item that people will be seeking down the road and no amount of searching in Ingram or BookManager will locate it.
UPDATE: This project did not escape the notice of Michael Hyatt who wrote extensively about the significance of this for all publishers.
The Golden Age of Publishing
This article appeared earlier in the month both at Books and Culture and at Philip Yancey’s blog. It keeps being mentioned so I thought I would include the opening section here as a teaser and then let you click whichever source you prefer to read the whole thing.
I have lived through the golden age of publishing, first with magazines and then with books. I began my career at Campus Life in 1971, and in ten years saw our circulation leap from 50,000 to 250,000. Like many magazines, Campus Life eventually bit the dust as advertising dollars migrated to flashier (and cheaper) online sources and consumers no longer responded to direct mail offers and renewal letters.
For almost four decades (yikes!) I’ve worked as a freelance writer, feeling enormously blessed to make a good living by writing about issues of faith that I would want to explore even if no one bought my books. Every year my royalties go down, though with more than 20 books in print I can still pay bills and find publishers willing to sponsor new books.
The changes in publishing, especially Christian publishing, stood out sharply to me when I stopped in at the largest annual Christian book convention in June. At one time 15,000 attended that trade show, a convention so large that only a handful of cities could accommodate it. Now less than 4,000 attend, and in Atlanta it occupied a corner of the huge convention center. A couple hundred delegates attended a luncheon in which I participated on a panel with Ravi Zacharias and Ryan Dobson; ten years ago the same luncheon would have filled a thousand-seat banquet hall. Though name authors had book signings, the only lines I saw were for two stars of Duck Dynasty.
Book publishing is going through massive changes. Almost every month bookstore sales fall below the total from last year … and the year before. Of the 5,000 Christian bookstores in the U.S. open in the 1970s, barely half that number have survived. What happened? …
…to continue reading click either of the two links in the introduction…
Switching the ISBNs on Regal, the trade line of curriculum publisher Gospel Light, makes sense following Regal being acquired by Baker Book Group. But customers, online vendors, distributors, brick and mortar stores, and curators of databases are dealing with the transition with titles often showing as out-of-print or discontinued when they are not.
The solution? First: Check to see of the publisher is indicated as Regal or Gospel Light. Next: Look for a secondary, updated, or superseded listing before giving up. Finally: If you have the option to do so, print new barcodes for product still in your system.
Problems like this are minor but sometimes frustrating. Some stores still have Biblica Books product in their stores after the line was acquired by InterVarsity Press a year ago. In a grocery environment, where sales volume and the issue of best-before dates mean product has to move through the system quickly, this becomes less of an issue. Many times a product is resized before a new code is introduced.
In my own store, barcode scanning is impossible because, as an outlet store, we often have the same title as both a regular-priced item (often acquired in the months following first release) and as a sale-priced item (when acquired in the overstock or remainder market). Of course, many stores simply use a generic code at this point, which appears on the customer receipt as “SALE BOOKS $9.99” as a general category.
In Canada, we also have the issue of currency conversion. Sometimes stock is replenished before existing stock has fully run out, so you have the same ISBN at a conversion of 1.1000 X US sitting next to stock converted at 1.2000 X US.
Finally, to add insult to barcode injury, some other retail sectors are now re-barcoding their stock with numbering unique to their company to avoid the situation where customers come in with smartphones, scan the codes, and comparison shop with online vendors, or simply use the physical store as a showroom for an online purchase that’s been predetermined. By changing the numbers, the process shuts down somewhat.
We were recently contacted by Live Christ Clothing, based in Ajax, Ontario and offered to run their press release so more people would hear about this Canadian based clothing company. They have designs that are available in a variety of child, youth, ladies and men’s sizes on various types of garments.
Live Christ Clothing is excited to announce the official launch of its faith based apparel company and online store (www.livechristclothing.com). Live Christ is more than a brand; it’s a lifestyle. Amidst a culture that promotes various ideologies, the message of Live Christ Clothing is bold and unmistakable – to truly live life, you must live Christ.
Established by Philippians 1:21 [“to live is Christ”], the vision of Live Christ Clothing is to inspire others to find life and live life. With its always-intentional design philosophy, Live Christ Clothing is sure to capture attention and create opportunities for its customers to share their faith.
Live Christ Clothing provides products for the entire family including men’s and ladies t-shirts, hoodies, polos, track jackets, youth t-shirts, kids t-shirts, infant onesies and select accessories.
With its bold colours, unique designs and inspiring biblical messages, Live Christ Clothing offers a distinct blend of faith and fashion.
Live Christ Clothing, originally founded as FUGEN Apparel, is a family owned and operated company based in Toronto. Through its clothing, inspirational blogs and Live Christ campaigns, Live Christ Clothing is destined to advance the message of God’s kingdom.
When the current Pope chose the name Francis, it ignited a lot of interest in St. Francis of Assisi. Eager to Love, a new book by ecumenical teacher Richard Rohr was the top of the Spring Arbor Top 100 book list for Tuesday. I always enjoy reading this list (if I remember) each day to see what other stores are buying.
From the publisher marketing:
…Francis found an “alternative way” to follow Jesus, one that disregarded power and privilege and held fast to the narrow path of the Gospel. Rohr helps us look beyond the birdbath image of the saint to remind us of the long tradition founded on his revolutionary, radical, and life-changing embrace of the teachings of Jesus.
When yesterday’s top demand list is sorted by release date, these are the ten newest titles appearing on the top 100. This list is not a ranking, as Eager to Love is #1
|Controlling Husband: What Every Woman Needs to Know||Welch, Ron||Fleming H. Revell Company||06/17/2014||13.99|
|Family of Jesus||Kingsbury, Karen||Howard Books||07/01/2014||19.99|
|Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity||Hatmaker, Jennifer||NavPress Publishing Group||07/01/2014||14.99|
|Blood on the Altar: The Coming War Between Christian vs. Christian||Stearman, Gary||Defender Publishing||07/15/2014||19.95|
|Warden and the Wolf King||Peterson, Andrew||Rabbit Room Press||07/27/2014||22.99|
|We All Need Forgiveness||Mayer, Mercer||Thomas Nelson Publishers||07/29/2014||3.99|
|Being Thankful||Mayer, Mercer||Thomas Nelson Publishers||07/29/2014||3.99|
|Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds||Wilkin, Jen||Crossway||07/31/2014||12.99|
|Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi||Rohr, Richard||Franciscan Media||07/31/2014||21.99|
|Thank You, God||Wigger, J. Bradley||William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company||08/01/2014||16.00|
Although approaching this from a different perspective than that we might take as booksellers, it’s interesting to see how Mike Leake frames the problem with the realistic plight of Sam, a young man looking for answers:
“Maybe there really is a God.”
Young Sam has had this nagging sense in his heart for a few weeks now. But he’s always been an intellectual, so he’s not the type of guy that just goes on feelings. So he does what he always has done when he wants to find the answer to something—he goes to his local library.
This time he’s going to study the claims of Christianity against the claims of new atheism. He’s a little more familiar with what the new atheists teach. But he figures he had better check the books out anyways. It’s a familiar section for him and so he quickly pulls some of the more popular books off the shelf. He loads Harris, Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and a couple others onto his arms.
Next he finds himself in a rather unfamiliar territory—the somewhat scant section in the library on Christianity. A few faces seem familiar—these are guys that he’s seen on television, so he figures they must be the best representatives.
On top of his books on New Atheism he’s loading himself down with books by Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, another book called the idiots guide to Christianity, a book written by one of the popes, and a book about the history of Christianity.
Christianity doesn’t stand a chance.
No Fault of the Library
This is not the fault of the librarian. She picks books based upon bestseller lists, professional reviews, and requests from patrons.
The books that are most popular in Christianity (sadly) are usually not intellectual or scholarly treatments. Truthfully they are more akin to self-help books than anything to do with the gospel. But most librarians don’t know this. They often have meager budgets and so if they are going to stock something in the non-fiction section then they need to be sure that its something that will be checked out. If Joel Osteen is a best-seller then it’s a pretty safe bet that somebody will want to read it.
But none of this bodes well for people like Sam trying to learn the truth about Christianity. We need to help our librarians and young learners like Sam at least be able to give the gospel a fair shake…
[…continue reading at Borrowed Light…]
The disconnect between what’s in your local library and what’s in your local Christian bookstore is always a nagging question. It’s the same question that plagues the Canadian market where stores like Chapters or Indigo don’t stock Christian bestsellers as do their counterparts at Barnes & Noble. Consequently, there are no filters for what constitutes entry into the “religion” section and customers might get seriously sidetracked into books that are cultic or not even Christian at all.
In 2010, David Gregory’s futuristic The Last Christian introduced a world where core memory transplants were a medical possibility. In 2012, James Rubart’s Soul’s Gate broke down the wall between the visible realm and the spiritual realm. And based on the cover and a few things I was able to grab online, Ted Dekker goes all sci-fi in the 2014 young adult release Hacker, which involves hacking into the most sophisticated computer ever produced, the human brain.
But Colleen Coble? Somehow, I found it a stretch to imagine the historical fiction writer delving into a complication from a transplant that I doubt most mystery writers have even considered:
“Cell memory is really true,” says Colleen Coble, whose new book, Seagrass Pier (Thomas Nelson, July), features Elin Summerall, a heart transplant recipient who has violent flashbacks she soon realizes are memories of her donor’s murder. Coble has experience with the phenomenon: “A friend had a transplant and aspects of her personality changed from that moment.”
Seagrass Pier, the second (sic *) book in her Hope Beach series, pits Elin against a stalker who wants to put a permanent end to her flashbacks. Though others discount her story, Marc Everton, an FBI agent on leave who doesn’t know he’s the father of Elin’s daughter, believes her.
The book is a return for Coble to contemporary Christian fiction, which she says is her real love, and a sign of how much Christian fiction has evolved in the past five years. The early days of prairie stories and perfect characters are over, Coble says. “There is a huge ability [now] in Christian fiction to write imperfect characters, to write about all of us. There really is no forbidden topic; we don’t have to shy away from anything.”
Continue reading this story at Publisher’s Weekly.
Colleen is quickly emerging as one of Christian fiction’s most prolific writers with a strong back catalog and many new series titles already scheduled.
*Note to retailers: Publisher’s Weekly’s story has an error. Seagrass Pier is actually book three in the Hope Beach series. Readers might want to start with Tidewater Inn (July, 2012) then move on to Rosemary Cottage (July, 2013) and then read Seagrass Pier.