Archive for September, 2014

Fans Upset Over Recasting of Veggie Tales Characters

New VeggieTales character updates

The images have been available on Facebook for nearly a week now, and Veggie Tales fans are not happy. The occasion of the recasting of the characters is Veggie Tales In The House, a new series releasing on Netflix.  Read the article at Breathecast. Then, check out all the various comments on Facebook. VT fans are loyal, and many are parents of autistic children who are not connecting with the metamorphosed versions of Bob, Larry and the gang.

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Love Finds You In…Series Goes to DVD

Love Finds You In Sugarcreek DVDAfter mining works of Janette Oke for Amish movie screenplay material — including adding a few prequels or sequels based on the characters — Twentieth Century Fox has discovered the Love Finds You In series as a source of new material.  Love Finds You In Sugarcreek, Ohio by Serena Miller was published by Summerside Press but is out of print though possibly pending the release of the movie tie-in edition.(There was a tie-in edition issued when the movie aired on UP though I believe the other Twentieth Century movies aired on the Hallmark Channel.)

The 3-minute trailer below seems to offer many of what have to be pivotal scenes. I don’t know how many spoilers (or half-spoilers) it contains, but be warned! (There is a 2-minute alternative available.) For Canadian stores, the DVD is on the David C. Cook Christmas catalogue.

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Dollar Ends the Week in 89-Cent Territory

September 26, 2014 1 comment

The Canada/US exchange rate as reported Friday night on The National on CBC-TV

exchange rate Sept 26

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2015 Awards for Small(er) Christian Publishers

Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is accepting nominations for the 2015 award.

Award_SealThe Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award honors books produced by small publishers each year for outstanding contribution to Christian life. Nominations are accepted in 14 categories: General Fiction, Romance, Historical Fiction, Biography, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Bible Study/Theology, Christian Education, Children’s Book 4-8 years, Children’s Book 8-12 years, Young Adult (12+ years), Gift Books, and eBook Exclusive.

  • Books must be published by a small publisher or independently published author with annual revenues of $400,000 or less.
  • Nominated books must be Christian in nature and intended for the Christian marketplace.
  • All nominated books must be printed in English and for sale in the United States.
  • Any small publisher or independently published author can nominate titles for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.
  • Each book can only be nominated for one category.
  • Nominated books must be published in 2013 or 2014.
  • Nomination fee is $45.00 per title.

To view the complete eligibility guidelines and to nominate your books, visit Nominations must be received by November 15, 2014.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is the sponsor of this book award.

reblogged from Marketing Christian Books

California School Purges Christian Content from Library

From Todd Starnes at Charisma News:

It was nothing short of a Christian purging.

That’s how the Pacific Justice Institute described what happened at a California charter school. They allege the school removed any book from its library that was either written by a Christian author or had a Christian message…

…A parent, who was visiting the Temecula campus of the Springs Charter Schools, discovered the library  purging last month.

“She was told by one of the library attendants that the library has been instructed to remove all books with a Christian message, authored by Christians, or published by a Christian publishing company,” read a letter PJI sent to the charter school…

…One of the books deemed unacceptable was The Hiding Place, the biography of Corrie ten Boom. Ten Boom was a Dutch Christian who helped many Jews escape the Holocaust. She was later imprisoned by the Germans for her actions…

…”We are a public school, and as such, we are barred by law from purchasing sectarian curriculum materials with state funds,” she wrote in a letter to the Pacific Justice Institute. “We only keep on our shelves the books that we are authorized to purchase with public funds.”…

…Heaven forbid the children find a Bible in the library…



Read the entire article at Charisma.


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Print in eBook Terms: The Advantages

I’m obviously biased, but I am all in favor of advertising like this that also promotes the viability and flexibility of print literature of all kinds. Even if they’re advertising their advertising!

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Drew Marshall to Feature HCCP Authors

Drew MarshallAfter its first-ever summer hiatus in eleven years, The Drew Marshall Show returns to air this week (9/20) in the Greater Toronto Area on Joy 1250 radio from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST and launches into a new season with a commitment to feature interviews with Thomas Nelson Zondervan, and HarperOne authors for the next eleven weeks.  The program can also be listened to live online at Drew’s website.   Below is the full schedule showing the air date first, and then the book street date.  About five days after the show airs, the individual interviews will be available in the program archives. The Drew Marshall Show is considered an edgy spiritual talk radio program and Drew is known for bringing out things in interviews that other program hosts would never dare to touch.

Sept 20th 2014: Season Premiere
Jesus>Religion | Jefferson Bethke | Thomas Nelson
Trade Paperback |9781400205394 | $19.99 | Oct 7 2013

 Sept 27th 2014
Misfits Welcome | Mathew Barnett | Thomas Nelson
ITPE | 9780718021900 | $19.49 | October 7 2014

 October 4th 2014
Before Amen | Max Lucado | Thomas Nelson
ITPE |9780718016371 | $15.99 | September 30th 2014

 October 11th 2014
Me, Myself and Pie | Sherry Gore | Zondervan
Hardcover | 9780310335566 | $29.99 | October 7 2014

 October 18th 2014:
Walk to Beautiful | Jimmy Wayne | Thomas Nelson
ITPE | 9780718031558 | $19.49 | October 7 2014

 October 25th 2014
Storm | Jim Cymbala | Zondervan
ITPE | 9780310342106 | $19.49 | October 7 2014

 November 1st 2014
The First Phone Call From Heaven | Mitch Albom | HarperOne
Paperback | 9780062294401 | $19.99 | October 21st 2014

 November 8th 2014 (TBD)
Hurricane Hazel | Hazel McCallion | HarperCollins Canada
Hardcover | 9781443434713 | $33.99 | October 21st 2014

 November 15th 2014
Vanishing Grace | Philip Yancey | Zondervan
ITPE | 9780310342120 | $16.99 | October 21st 2014

 November 22nd 2014
The ZimZum of Love | Rob Bell | HarperOne
Hardcover | 9780062194244 | $31.00 | Ocotber 28th 2014

 November 29th 2014
The Crazy Game | Clint Malarchuk | HarperCollins Canada
Hardcover | 9781443432467 | $32.99 | October 21st 2014


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Curriculum Consolidates at Cook

Years ago, when our store sold Sunday School Curriculum, we had one particular church that had a free market approach, allowing individual teachers to choose from curricula that they liked. So three different suppliers were involved. It was, to put it mildly, all very tedious.

Today, that would not be a problem, as David C. Cook Canada announced several weeks ago that they would be fulfilling orders for Standard Publishing, and Gospel Light.  For the record, the lines they represent now include:

David C Cook
Reformation Press
Scripture Press
Gospel Light

If you are already logged in to Cook’s b2b site, these links take you to a .pdf of order forms for the Winter 2014-15 quarter. To the best of our knowledge, this leaves Concordia still with Foundation, Group Publishing still with Word Alive, and Augsburg plus a variety of United Church and Anglican Church resources still with Augsburg-Fortress Canada.  (Corrections to that are welcomed.)

It also means that Cook now has a relative monopoly on curriculum and Christian music and greeting cards. They are the supplier that no Christian bookstore can exist without! But that also means the various departments in your store can combine orders and save on shipping costs.

Our store has a minimum shipping threshold with Cook.  We’ve seen shipping as high as 8% of net, but as the orders get larger it drops very quickly into as low as the 3% range.  That doesn’t mean you have to create orders of a certain size. For example on Monday we submitted an order for a single title that they only had two copies left. It locked it in, but didn’t generate new shipping.

So while changes over the past few years have meant that many of the individual suppliers we once dealt with are now longer around, increased efficiency means lower freight costs, and fewer payments to issue at the end of each month.


Tim Underwood: A Passion for Christian Publishing

When you read Tim Underwood’s Twitter feed, check his profile at LinkedIn, and correspond with him, there’s no escaping his passion for our industry. Name the province and Tim can recite a list of stores and the names of the owners.

Tim blends a variety of experiences starting from when he was raising his own support at The Navigators which gave him an understanding of how parachurch organizations and denominations operate, to his tech work with web design, to his MBA which helped him grow his understanding of business and marketing.

Tim worked his way through the ranks of R. G. Mitchell (RGM) until its closure — six years ago today as it works out — as a brand and marketing manager. Then he became a first round draft pick when the agency Graf-Martin started which does the behind the scenes promotion and publicity for many of the books (and now movies) that our stores carry.

If you want to really know Christian publishing from the inside out, Tim is the guy to get to know; either for Canadians wanting to better understand how things work south of the border, or Americans wanting to better understand how things function north of the 49th.

About a month ago I felt compelled to ask him if we could do an interview here at Christian Book Shop Talk…

~Paul Wilkinson

Tim UnderwoodPaul: What is your current title and what are your current responsibilities at Graf-Martin?

Tim: Integrated Communications Manager (which highlights that we try to integrate all marketing and publicity pieces to increase effectiveness). I look after the digital marketing of what we do, but I also work with strategy and publishing. My love continues to be in the publishing industry. Our clients now include small businesses, non-profits, ministry, authors, and publishers and entertainment (movies).

Paul: What factors or circumstances led you to this particular place?

Tim: The fall of RGM. Ellen Graf-Martin started her own agency, I did some retraining in inbound marketing, and then Ellen urged me to consider joining with her as we had worked together well at RGM.

Paul: This is obviously a critical time for publishing and book retail; what changes do you think are happening more subtly than are widely reported?

Tim: Although it is not going unnoticed, I think the direct publisher-to-consumer channel is happening more widely than really reported. You are seeing more of the larger publishers experience their livelihood taking place [in that sector] and now digital enables this more than ever. That and the increasing dislike of Amazon and the inability of retailers to manage digital.

Paul: The Christian market has historically had some unique traits (i.e. the relative strength of its backlist versus frontlist, though that has changed recently); what do you see as the particular blessings and challenges we face?

Tim: The continued blessings are that local retailers know their customer unlike any publisher or distributor will because you have regular and honest face to face interactions that can often be described as ministry interactions. There is something different and special about that. The business counsel here is how can this be fostered and maintained? How can this be self-sustaining? What models will provide for that? More church-store integrations, community-store integrations? What can this look like into the future?

Paul: Do you have any independent projects you’re working on right now?

Tim: On the publishing side we are working with World Vision Canada to help with their publishing and I am the one who creates the eBooks. In fact, I have a couple of eBooks I am working on this week. I am also helping a couple of Christian authors with their websites, including SEO, search engine optimization (becoming found better on Google).

Paul: This was an unusual year for Christian film projects and Graf-Martin worked on publicity for a couple of these; do you see this continuing into 2015, or was this year an aberration?

Tim: Because we are seen as providing unique access to the Christian/faith/family marketing in Canada — no one else doing this the same — for publishers and film production, this might continue into the future as we become more well known to the movie production houses.

Paul: How do you manage to track down all the various articles on your Twitter feed?

Tim: I am a researcher and content curator at heart. That coupled with my interest and love for the publishing industry and other trends. It keeps me reading and posting what I read.


Price Gap for Select Retailers is Simply Too Great

September 13, 2014 2 comments

The Canadian list price in the CBA market for the Heaven is for Real DVD is $35.99. We’ve tracked the Wal-Mart price since release, and it has been as low as $21.99 in some stores (with a free Blu-Ray) and fairly steady at $23.99.

We’ve assumed it’s high for reasons associated with its U.S. MSRP. Nothing can be done, right?

But then we discovered Foundation Distributing’s 72-Hour participants are offering it for $24.99.  Eleven dollars less.

Don’t get me wrong. Flyer program participants spend a lot of money to purchase and distribute flyers which in turn create wider awareness of the product and secondary, spillover sales well after the sale has ended. They deserve a break.

But the gap is simply too great for this retailer to fathom. It leaves me feeling that somehow, in some indirect way, we would be subsidizing the cost to the other retailers.

We don’t sell the Heaven is for Real DVD in our store. Not with Wal-Mart a mile away.

And definitely not with fellow Christian retailers leaving our customers with the sense that we are ripping them off, especially after we’ve told them that $36 is the price of the product. Nobody needs that type of price discrepancy circulating in such a specific market. It makes us look either completely dishonest or like fools who can’t properly run a retail enterprise.

No matter how matter-of-fact or dollars-and-cents we think our action is, there is an underlying morality to everything we do.

Moving forward, we are increasingly focusing on feature product of our own making, not what this industry tells us we have to sell.

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Customers May Not Identify New Project as Brian Doerksen’s

The staff member who checked in the CDs was surprised when I told her that the album was actually a new project from Brian Doerksen. In the U.S. market, I supposed there would have been a sticker attached to the shrink-wrap, “New from Worship Leader Brian Doerksen.” Here, we’re relying on word-of-mouth to accomplish that, I guess.  The following is from my consumer review which appeared at Thinking Out Loud:

Brian Doerksen and The Shiyr PoetsThe Shiyr Poets (pronounced ‘sheer’) takes a word-for-word approach to the book of Psalms, but with a conversion to modern English from the Hebrew and with the addition of recurring choruses as keeping with the structure of modern music. In many ways, bringing these texts into our century captures the heart and anguish of the Psalmist in ways we might miss with a cursory reading of the text.

The band is the latest project from worship leader Brian Doerksen composer of Refiner’s Fire, Come Now Is The Time to Worship, You Shine, and Faithful One. The sound is consistent with past Doerksen albums, a gentle, more intimate sound. (Foreshadowing this project was the song Fortress 144 from a few years back; a song Brian said was written especially to be a song that men could embrace in a corporate worship setting.)

On Songs for the Journey, Volume One the goal is to begin working sequentially through the book of Psalms, hence this album covers the first ten, with two bonus tracks. Yes, this is an ambitious project! The group used crowd-funding to partially underwrite the launch of the first project and probably would need to do that again to create successive volumes, as this has not been produced for a major label.

You can listen to an audio sample from Psalm 3, at the band’s website by clicking here, or watch a video from a Christian television program here and here. The physical album is currently only available in Canada, but elsewhere customers can download it from iTunes.

Again, there’s a lot going on in the Psalms that we miss, and this project accurately captures both the tension and the wonder.

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IVP CDs Offer Stores Greater Exclusivity

Michael Card - CD series based on the Gospels
Chances are, whatever outlets compete with your bookstore for physical CD sales by Christian artists, they don’t deal with InterVarsity Press (IVP).  I’m just sitting down to do a review for Thinking Out Loud for one in Michael Card’s series that I especially asked to hear, and now realizing that there is a sense in which Christian bookstores have these somewhat exclusively.  The four titles are available through David C. Cook in Canada.

9780830838011 Luke: A World Turned Upside Down CD
Supplier #: 0830838015
Artist/Author: Card, Michael
9780830838028 Mark: CD
Supplier #: 0830838023
Artist/Author: Card, Michael
9780830838035 Matthew CD
Supplier #: 0830838031
Artist/Author: Card, Michael
9780830838042 John: The Misunderstood Messiah CD
Supplier #: 0830836675
Artist/Author: Card, Michael


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