Nabeel Qureshi has been a key member of the team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, and has written several books for Zondervan including Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and No God But One released just yesterday, the same day as he posted this on Facebook:
Dear Friends and Family,
This is an announcement that I never expected to make, but God in His infinite and sovereign wisdom has chosen me for this refining, and I pray He will be glorified through my body and my spirit. My family and I have received the news that I have advanced stomach cancer, and the clinical prognosis is quite grim. Nonetheless, we are going to pursue healing aggressively, both medical and miraculous, relying on God and the fact that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.
In the past few days my spirits have soared and sank as I pursue the Lord’s will and consider what the future might look like, but never once have I doubted this: that Jesus is Lord, His blood has paid my ransom, and by His wounds I am healed. I have firm faith that my soul is saved by the grace and mercy of the Triune God, and not by any accomplishment or merit of my own. I am so thankful that I am a child of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed in the Spirit. No, in the midst of the storm, I do not have to worry about my salvation, and for that I praise you, God.
Unfortunately this means I am no longer able to engage in traveling ministry for the time being. I am canceling almost all my speaking events, with a few exceptions. From this point on until such a time as the Lord might choose to heal me, I intend to blog or vlog about my journey with cancer, transparently offering my heart, thoughts, and struggles in case they might encourage others and glorify God. I will no longer be with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, though it has been an absolute privilege to be on the team for the past 3 years. My third book, No God But One: Allah or Jesus?, launched today, and I still intend to write my next book, 20 Questions Muslims Ask and the Answers that Convert Them. Beyond that, the Lord knows.
Friends and family, may I ask you to fast and pray fervently for my healing? I do not profess to know the will of the Lord, but many of my close friends and confidants are convinced that this is a trial through which the Lord intends to bring me alive and refined. May His will be done, and may I invite you to seek Him in earnest, on your knees, fasting on my behalf, asking our Yahweh Rapha for healing in Jesus’ name.
And as you pray and fast, “I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:18-20)
For His Glory,
Ed Cyzekski writes:
The last thing in the world that I want to do is write about that dating book—the one where the author now admits he had no actual experience in putting the book’s ideas into practice. He’s pretty sure that it’s wrong (calling it “speculative”), has been hearing people out, and even has started to formally collect feedback.
With no personal malice toward that author, I would very much like the rest of my life to pass without hearing about him or his dating book again. His book caused so much shame, judgment, and confusion in my own relationships that I’d like to assign it to the dust bin of history and move on. I’m just one of many Christians who grew up with this book and have spent significant time trying to work through the fall out…
[at this point there are links to five such stories]
…There are clearly better things to do than discuss books written by self-admittedly unqualified authors that have wounded us, the people we love and care for, or our evangelical brothers and sisters.
Here is my problem: That dating book is still for sale, and the simple fact that this book is for sale hints to me that everything we have feared about the Christian publishing industry may be true. Putting the most positive spin on this I can manage, the publisher of this book is at the very least unwittingly acting in a way that proves our worst fears…
While normally we would end here, I do know there are some of you who simply won’t click through, and I want to you to see where this ended:
As much as I want to go my separate way from the author of this dating book and personally never hear from him again, I am grateful for the steps he has taken. I hope that he can move from remorse to actual repentance for his actions by also publicly calling for the removal of this book. I hope and pray that he can find his way again as a pastor, author, husband, and father. I just hope to God he doesn’t write another dating book.
At the very least, the publisher of this dating book owes us an explanation for why the book is still for sale. If the many stories about the damage of the book or the author’s admitted flaws about its content aren’t enough to prompt the suspending of this book, then we need to know what in the world the people at this publisher are thinking. Until they take action or offer an explanation, it sure looks like this dating book is only in print because it’s still making money, not because it makes the body of Christ stronger.
Waterstones is a British bookstore chain with 275 locations and employing around 3,500 (Wikipedia). They created this little diversion:
I’ve said it before but I’ll be more concise this time:
If each of your suppliers isn’t emailing you once a week with graphic images for use on your store website, Twitter, Facebook, and newsletter, something is wrong.
You need those. More than anything else. Here’s a couple on the house:
I think many may not be aware that this is a relaunch of a familiar product with 90 3D images. I’m not sure if the older edition will continue to be available.
I like this one because it ties a backlist title into a current bestseller. (Wallace appears in the movie.)
While Answering Jihad wasn’t as strong, Seeking Allah… did very well, as I suspect this one will.
Maranatha! Music did a great job with this graphic. We’ve done particularly well with Top 25 Songs of Grace, it’s a bit more mellow and makes a great gift for anyone. But the whole series is great value for customers.
This is an example of a graphic element which allows you to be current knowing that the payoff is several months down the road when the DVD releases.
I hope this inspires you to seek out graphics like this on your own. Following your major publishers and record labels on Twitter is a big help if you need a source for these.
Just for fun, we thought we’d see how the current month’s Top 50 Book List from the Christian Bookseller’s Association in the United States breaks down by Canadian distributors. Hey, you have your hobbies, I have mine, and mine is being a bookstore nerd. Here’s what we came up with:
HarperCollins Canada 23
David C. Cook Canada 11
Foundation Distributing 8
Word Alive 4
*Titles which may also be available through Word Alive, or Ingram (Spring Arbor) or other sources. Click the image to choose from one of ten different bestseller charts, we used the books-only list.
Note: 6 of the HarperCollins listings were different editions of Jesus Calling, so you could argue their true total is 18. (In our own store chart, we only give each title a single ranking.)
I’m not sure if I would begin cleaning this up, or simply toss the whole thing in the dumpster and start over!
I also have to admit, we don’t have the caption at right in our store. But alas, I didn’t get to see the card that went with this because… well, the reasons are obvious.
When I am given books to read, unless it is a proven author, I often wonder how the title will fare in the marketplace. Will it sell? So it was a bit unusual to offered a review copy of something with a cover that reads, “Over 600,000 sold.” With all the Regal Books titles which ended up at Baker, why the promotional push for this one in particular?
Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets is a book our store has always sold but I had never taken the opportunity to crack the pages. Its arrival in my mail this time is because of a re-launch of the title, acquired from Regal Books, by Bethany House, a division of Baker Books. I was a little unclear as to the reason for this. Although the cover changed, the price did not, and in comparing the two versions, the book seems to be entirely the same other than page number variance because of differences in typesetting. Nowhere do we find the words “Revised Edition” or “Updated Edition.” I won’t complain; I wanted to read this!
Dutch Sheets is a rather remarkable individual whose unusual and many times miraculous adventures in prayer are most inspiring. In many ways, the language and tenor of this book make it a very charismatic-friendly title, so similar to other such books I read early in my Christian life. But we’ve always stocked this in the prayer section, not the charismatic section. You could do both.
The book is strangely cessationist-friendly at the same time, which may account for its sales over the years. Sheets makes it clear that he believes in praying in tongues, but says he will refer throughout the balance of the book to praying in the Spirit. That terminology may still ring of Pentecostalism for many, but it represents an attempt to reach a broader audience and he does something similar toward the end of the book as well.
The book is really half testimonies and half teaching, and the Hebrew and Greek roots of familiar Bible passages are examined. Sheets says that a meeting takes place in prayer as we stand before God on behalf of situations or others in need of God’s intervention. Some of the exhaustive catalog of scripture verses won’t be looked seen in the same way after reading this.
Perhaps in moments of desperate or anxious prayer, we all become a little more Pentecostal; trying to see the hand of God move in the situation which presents itself. We want a miracle. Could it be that there are no cessationists in fox holes?
First published in 1996, this book has endured two decades and is a contemporary classic and a must-stock item in our stores.
The full title is Intercessory Prayer: How God Can Use Your Prayers to Move Heaven and Earth. (Bethany House, 304 page paperback, $14.99 US/$18.49 CDN.) Discussion/reflection questions follow each chapter and there is a short leader’s guide at the back of the book. Also sold separately is a study guide which has also been recently repackaged. A repackaged eight-session DVD is releasing in a few days, with each segment containing 30 minutes of teaching. Finally, a youth edition is also available.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc
Today, Christian Book Shop Talk celebrates its eight birthday and enters into its ninth year of serving Christian bookstore owners, managers and staff; Christian publishers; Christian authors; and all from a uniquely Canadian perspective.
We thank those of you who faithfully read each day, and those who send comments, either on or, in most cases, off the blog; especially those of you who tip us off about stories or details we missed.
I especially thank those in the industry who share insider stuff with me, even though each information tidbit is followed by, “…but you can’t print that on the blog.” Sigh!
As we head again into our busiest season, we wish all of you God’s wisdom and blessing in your stores, and pray that all of us will be sensitive to the ministry opportunities which literally come through the doors each day.
This time it was the downtown Ottawa Chapters we visited, just steps away from the Parliament Buildings. It was there we snapped the picture above. Deepak Chopra in Christianity? It wasn’t the only such oddity. I can’t imagine being a shopper in that store and not having the information I possess. A person truly could end up reading just about anything. I pray that God gives the seekers in that aisle an unusual measure of discernment.
It’s also interesting how shoppers (or it could be staff) do some editing of the displays. As shoppers walk into the store, the first thing they’re supposed to see is a Donald Trump title, but someone had turned all the copies to face backwards. So much for that planogram. Over the years, we’ve had staff members who have deliberately downplayed certain titles because they didn’t agree with them, or had misunderstandings as to what the product was about or why we had stocked it. One time I repeated came in to find copies of the same item behind the counter for no specific reason. If you find yourself readjusting the same title over and over again, look for frequent customers as a possible agent of cause, or a staff member with a doctrinal axe to grind.
But back to our headline: Chapters desperately needs someone who doesn’t work for the Christian publisher’s distributors, who can step in and help them come up with a better categorization of their products. They need that person soon.
Last week we had an opportunity to visit Inspirational Value Centre, the store which Foundation placed in the former location of Salem Storehouse in Ottawa. In addition to books distributed by the company — albeit it nowhere near an exhaustive stocking of the entire catalogue — there was product from David C. Cook, HarperCollins and Book Depot. We took a few pictures for you…
I had another picture of the store as seen as you walk in but it didn’t work out. The store is a backsplit, the lower level is now all Children’s products, which I didn’t photograph. As stated in the video caption, for serious book buyers the inventory is extremely limited. With few other options, the Chapters locations in the National Capital Region currently fill the gap. Because it’s not a full service outlet and everything is mostly cash-and-carry, the wholesale division doesn’t benefit from the customer feedback you get in a normal retail environment, as Scripture Press did when it owned the chain of EP Bookshops in Toronto, in terms of the type of content customers are seeking. For me, that type of data would be a major win for a wholesale distributor. (Clarification: The store is now accepting custom orders; see the comments section.)
Generally however, given the constraints of the history and uncertainty as to long-term sustainability, I think this concept works, but I don’t know the sales numbers or the overhead costs. At what point have you exhausted customer interest in a limited number of SKUs? The front facings on shelves are very much the antithesis of my own store, which is all about having depth of material on various subjects.
I’ll be the first to admit the balance is probably found somewhere in the middle.
Everything at STL is now 90% off. Keep in mind that shipping costs to Canada as a percentage will seem rather high. There are still good quantities of key titles. A great chance to put together your own sale, perhaps?
One thing is certain, inventory containing Buy-5-Get-1-Free Loyalty Coupons from David C. Cook are at least 18 months old, the program having expired at the end of April, 2015.
We decided to play this to advantage this month, and have another plan in mind for that product for September. In the meantime, here’s what we came up with: