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Crossroads Cedes Online Store to ChristianBook.com

Crossroads eStore at Christian Book

Et tu, Crossroads?

Crossroads Christian Communications has delivered the worst blow possible to Christian retailers in Canada. The broadcaster, which probably has the greatest influence on customer awareness of published works has partnered with Massachusetts-based Christian Book Distributors (CBD), which almost since its inception in 1978 has been a thorn in the flesh of Christian retailers on both sides of the border.  CBD’s assault on the sales of Canadian Christian bookstores long predates the internet, but the web has accelerated their reach into this country.

The site, crossroads.christianbook.com is one of many boutique sites the company operates. Because the media has limited access to the Hendrickson brothers no one is likely to know how many of these exist. Some of the more publicized ones include one for The Navigators discipleship ministry which gets extra discounts on NavPress titles (we were unable to crack the URL for that one) and the exclusive distribution contract CBD  has with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.  Because the New Calvinists are so critical of the broader Christian publishing market, they created cbdreformed.christianbook.com, a variant on their main site purged of non-Reformed products, and so they could buy through their own channel.

Clicking the eStore tab at crossroads.ca, redirects to the CBD site. At the Crossroads page, which will invariably be dominated by Canadians, customers are warned that prices are in U.S. dollars, shipped from the U.S., and that shipping charges apply.  Typically, CBD charges Canadians 25% shipping.

But it could be argued that despite this, the new partnership is going to train thousands and thousands of people how to order from CBD. One dealer wrote to us, “I flipped through several different products, and quickly came to notice that the prices were extremely low, and not even within a range that I could price match and still turn a profit. Yes, there are shipping costs, but with the deep discounts on the products we still can’t compare.”

CBD has been unrelenting in its quest for dominance of the market. A Google search for just about anything published in any Christian genre turns up a link to christianbook.com at the very top of the sponsored links. It gets worse: Because my own store website is powered by WordPress, advertising for CBD often appears on the site; and if you don’t have AdBlock, you may have also seen their ads right here at Christian Book Shop Talk. (We have no control over those ads.)

Canadian authors who have appeared on Crossroads’ flagship program, 100 Huntley Street would need to negotiate for their products to be carried by CBD. In our initial overview of the site, no Canadian authors or musicians were visible. 

For its trouble, Crossroads gets a donation page on the CBD site, but that page does not attempt to make it clear that those donations are also in U.S. dollars.

The decision by Crossroads Christian Communications is a major betrayal by fellow Canadians we would have thought would be supportive. While the Bible cautions against a harbouring a retaliative spirit, you would have to think twice before cooperating with anything the ministry wants to do in your local area. 

If they ever decide they need me, honestly, the answer is going to be ‘no.’ 

Crossroads has betrayed an already hurting Christian retail market in this country, proving the adage that Christians do indeed shoot their wounded.

To the best of our understanding, under Mass. law, christianbook.com and Christian Book Distributors (CBD) are distinct entities. However, we’ve used the terms interchangeably here. The Hendrickson family is also involved in Hendrickson Publishing; both companies are based in Peabody, MA.

  1. trish ellis
    February 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    hi –have just been trying to access your book store re; buying Holy Yoga c.d. and book feeling a little frustrated any tips to make this work? thanks Trish.

    • February 7, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      This is a trade blog for publishers, authors, retailers and distributors.
      This is not a bookstore.

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