Archive for August, 2017

Looking in all the Wrong Places

She is an ordained pastor through a large Canadian denomination.

Up until this, I would have considered her a loyal customer.

But she was shopping for Fall curriculum for her small group at the local Mission Thrift Store.  She had found an old book — and I’m not saying it wasn’t a worthy resource to use — and now wanted me to order ten of them.

You know what comes next, right? Long out of print. To be expected. With all due respect, you were shopping in a thrift store.

I decided to be proactive on this and I put together an email for her — and ten other women — using this page at CBD as a source. True, each video identifies them — there are probably generic Zondervan and Nelson versions on line, but time was a factor — but I trust the people I sent it to would order it from us. (Request it and I’ll send you the email I sent them, which you can steal and send to your customers, or use to get ideas.)

Back to the charity shop, I shudder to think people don’t realize that hoping to find your church’s adult elective curriculum in a second-hand store is rather foolhardy.

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An Example of Losing “Sweet Spot” Pricing

We’ve written four times previously about the idea that there is a key pricing point for certain items, and once you get beyond that you’ve lost the customer. I also noted this seems to apply more with low-price staples than with high end Bibles. Most recently we mentioned Rose Pamphlets, when their price crested above $5. I wasn’t entirely correct on this; we noticed that some customers don’t care, but if you buy 3 or more in my store and the price reverts below $5 anyway.

This time around it’s the God I Need to Talk to You About… series of booklets from Concordia. This series has about 24 titles, and we have them in two places and customers seem to locate them in both. Sometimes they come in asking for them. However recently three factors converged to put them at $2 CDN each.

  • Change in distributors
  • U.S. List price increase
  • High Canadian dollar

These little booklets aren’t that big. I think $2 is too high, so we modified them to $1.79 in our store, with a slight discount if you buy 4/$6.99. (Down from 5/$6.99.) Any more, and we can’t do it, especially with the online competition from Christian Book (who actually sometimes run advertising on this blog because we’re using a free WordPress service.)

…There are times you get to add a little to a MSRP and there are other times you need to subtract to keep the product moving. This is an example of the latter. In a foreign market environment, I think we need to think in terms of DSRP (Distributor Suggested Retail Price) as a reminder that just as they chose a number, we can choose one as well.

In today’s example, hopefully the dollar will respond, or the publisher will hear about the situation and make concessions to the Canadian distributor.

I created the graphic to reintroduce the series to my Facebook customers. A bit of glare perhaps, but feel free to steal it. You can probably do better!

Another troubling question: Why did Parasource choose $2 and not $1.99?

Save you looking: Word Alive says $2.49, so the CDN price may already be a concession. That’s still way too high for what you get.

Last call: Ingram has some 6-packs left at the old 99 cents US list price.

Entire Inventory of New and Forthcoming Titles Available at Word Alive / Anchor

The people at Anchor/Word Alive were quick to respond when I mentioned that Send the Light had featured a new release section that allowed you to view a 60-day window of product according to release date. They immediately posted their own new release link showing January and February, 2017.

But it never updated. So today I got creative and manipulated the dates in the page URL itself and voila! It worked.

Here’s the link I’m currently browsing:

(I chose a 120 day window today, because some of their dates are database entry dates, not release dates. So I’m seeing June to September.)

With so much independent book and giftware product, this helps me see a mix of unusual product. If your store is large, specific buyers can filter the results by product type. You may also see things our domestic suppliers never mentioned to you.

I’ve contacted Anchor again about this and suggested they make the fix.

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Canadian Pastor Offers Strong Apologetics Title

Mark Hildebrand from HarperCollins Christian Publishing Canada just called to tip me off about new title by a new author which is performing extremely well. The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity by Mark Clark is released through Zondervan in paperback and retails for $21.99 

Publisher marketing:

The Problem of God is written by a skeptic who became a Christian and then a pastor, all while exploring answers to the most difficult questions raised against Christianity. Growing up in an atheistic home, Mark Clark struggled through his parents’ divorce, acquiring Tourette syndrome and OCD in his teen years. After his father’s death, he began a skeptical search for truth through science, philosophy, and history, eventually finding answers in Christianity.

In a disarming, winsome, and persuasive way, The Problem of God responds to the top ten God questions of our present age, including:

  • Does God even exist?
  • What do we do with Christianity’s violent history?
  • Is Jesus just another myth?
  • Can the Bible be trusted?
  • Why should we believe in Hell anymore today?

The book concludes with Christianity’s most audacious assertion: how should we respond to Jesus’ claim that he is God and the only way to salvation.

Mark Clark is the founding pastor of Village Church in Vancouver, Canada. Starting in 2010 out of a school gym, it is now one of the fastest growing multi-site churches in North America. Mark combines frank and challenging biblical preaching with real-world applications and apologetics to speak to Christians and skeptics, confronting questions, doubts, and assumptions about Christianity. His sermons have millions of downloads per year from over 120 different countries.

Zondervan | 272 pages | 9780310535225 | 17.99 USD 21.99 CDN

IVP UK Titles Now Available in North America

As reported last month at CBA Online, InterVarsity Press in the U.S. and their UK affiliate are back swapping titles. I say back because when I worked for IVP in Toronto years ago, we would regularly receive shipments from England. Until the article published, I was unaware that they had ever stopped doing this. (Some titles listed in the article below may not be included in Canada if another publisher holds Canadian rights.) Click the link in the title below to read at source.

IVP brings UK titles to North America

InterVarsity Press USA (IVP-USA) expanded their partnership with InterVarsity Press UK (IVP-UK) and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) to bring titles from the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada.

In 2015, SPCK made IVP-USA books available to bookstores in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe through Macmillan Distribution Limited (MDL). Now IVP-USA will distribute SPCK and IVP-UK titles throughout North America.

Titles that will now be available to North American readers include:

  • Creation, Power & Truth by N.T. Wright
  • A Celtic Liturgy by Pat Robson
  • A trilogy of classics in spirituality and spiritual formation, which includes The Living Flame of Love by John of the Cross, Introduction to the Devout Life by Francis de Sales, and Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich
  • Places of Pilgrimage by Ian Scott Massie
  • Come, Lord Jesus by Stephen Motyer
  • Aidan, Bede, Cuthbert: Three Inspirational Saints by David Adam
  • But is it True: Honest Responses to 10 Popular Objections to the Christian Faith by Michael Ots


Summer Reading

My friend Lorne Anderson posted this a few days ago…

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The Next Big Colouring Book Trend

I looked at this forthcoming Harvest House title twice and couldn’t help but think, “What if all the women doing colouring books are getting bored and are ripe for the next big thing?”

I just think some might be tired of butterflies and stained glass windows and want to channel their inner Andy Warhol into a Campbell’s Soup can or something more resembling commercial art? Or perhaps break away from the pastels and rock out some primary colours?

Harvest House says this is for ages 8-12. I’d have to order one and check out the contents and also see if the paper stock is up to adult colouring book standards.

But I think I’m on to something here. Or crazy; which we already knew. I’m sure someone has a reason why this won’t work, but maybe someone else will get the idea and run with it.

80 pages | 9780736971034 | Harvest House | September release | $9.99

What’s Gnu?

Graphic is sized to 500px for Facebook and Twitter use

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Church Libraries: Bookstore Friend or Foe?

There was a time I regarded local church libraries as competition to the bookstore. As long as people were reading books there for free, they weren’t buying them, right? But as the years have gone by I’ve softened a little and come to see that anything that gets people reading is a friend not an enemy.

The pictures above and below are of the library of one of the two churches I am involved with. Many years ago they took an area for hanging coats and turned it into this. Right in the lobby. Front and centre as you exit the sanctuary. The couple who run it work hard to keep it current. The video screen is turned on after the services playing an episode of What’s In The Bible or Veggie Tales for the kids. I’ve borrowed books, periodicals, videos and audio discs from it myself, as well as donating a few things. Duplicate donations are collected for Christian Salvage Mission.

Know what? This church has a culture of reading. That spills over into the bookstore. They told me that one out of every ten people in the church has borrowed the book Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. Did they all finish it? Doesn’t matter. The point is that I would never have sold that number of copies of that book 700+ page book to that number of people. And it creates an awareness of so many things: Church history, biographies, Metaxas, etc.

On our store website we have a church page, and on this church’s listing it says something like, “Winner of our Church Library Award.” We don’t actually have such a reward, but it speaks volumes that I’m willing to endorse and encourage what they’re doing when years ago I considered church libraries much differently.

We’re on the same team, working toward the same goals.


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Eric Wright Completes Mystery Trilogy

I’m not accustomed to the place where I grew up figuring into books in my store, but there it was, a Toronto reference to a character “driving down the Don Valley Parkway.” But the story gets even closer to home because author Eric Wright is also a customer at my store and his daughter and her husband attend the same church as we do.

After a series of non-fiction works, Wright switched to fiction and while the three stories have quite different settings, they are linked through Toronto reporter Josh Radley. Here’s how our local paper introduced Rust Bucket, the latest book in the series:

The very real issue of human slavery is told through the fictional adventures of protagonist Josh Radley in Eric E. Wright’s new novel Rust Bucket.

Interviewed recently from his home, Wright pointed out this is the third story in a Josh Radley trilogy, following The Lightning File and Captives of Minara.

In The Lightning File, Radley is a reporter for a Toronto paper.

“In the course of it, he gets fired, so he goes on to work freelance,” Wright said — and this freedom gives him ample scope to get involved more deeply in the adventures he encounters.

In Rust Bucket, he puts off urgent cancer treatment in order to pursue the story of a beached freighter that contains not only an alarming cache of explosives and drugs but also a human cargo bound for enslavement in factories, farms and brothels.

The press release for Wright’s book said that an estimated 24-million people worldwide are exploited by unethical businesses of all kinds. The human cargo in the freighter Josh Radley investigates includes a tribal girl from Pakistan whom Josh and his wife happen to know.

As it happens, Wright and his wife lived in Pakistan for 16 years, while he worked as a missionary teacher.

“Although we normally think of Pakistan as a Muslim country, there’s a minority of Christians who need ministry,” he said.

“I started an extension training program and, in the course of that, I learned more about their culture.”

The slave-labour problem seems to be much more widespread than one would like to think, Wright said. “Probably not as much in Canada, although criminal elements are realizing — you sell cocaine, you sell it once. With human beings, you can use them again and again and again, and it’s very profitable for business owners and brothels. There was a lot of it in Pakistan, landlords taking advantage of poor people who were sort of enslaved.”

His dedication is “to all those who struggle to end human trafficking as well as the victims of this horrific crime.” …

…continue reading the second half of the story at Northumberland Today

For order information visit

We previously covered releases of other books by Eric Wright here including Riptide and Captives of Minara.

Toronto Area Author’s Story Is Known Worldwide

Known simply as “The Girl in the Picture” which is also the title of a previous book published by Penguin, Kim Phuc’s story gets another telling when Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace releases October 3rd from Tyndale House.

Get out! Run! We must leave this place! They are going to destroy this whole place! Go, children, run first! Go now!

These were the final shouts nine year-old Kim Phuc heard before her world dissolved into flames—before napalm bombs fell from the sky, burning away her clothing and searing deep into her skin. It’s a moment forever captured, an iconic image that has come to define the horror and violence of the Vietnam War. Kim was left for dead in a morgue; no one expected her to survive the attack. Napalm meant fire, and fire meant death.

Against all odds, Kim lived—but her journey toward healing was only beginning. When the napalm bombs dropped, everything Kim knew and relied on exploded along with them: her home, her country’s freedom, her childhood innocence and and happiness. The coming years would be marked by excruciating treatments for her burns and unrelenting physical pain throughout her body, which were constant reminders of that terrible day. Kim survived the pain of her body ablaze, but how could she possibly survive the pain of her devastated soul?

Fire Road is the true story of how she found the answer in a God who suffered Himself; a Savior who truly understood and cared about the depths of her pain. Fire Road is a story of horror and hope, a harrowing tale of a life changed in an instant—and the power and resilience that can only be found in the power of God’s mercy and love.

~from the release sheet page at

Canadian stores should pre-order the biography from Foundation Distributing


New Bookstore for Quinte Region

After years of store closings, it’s good to report new store openings. Annette’s Books and Gifts at 94 College Street West in Belleville, Ontario located next door to a large Christian Reformed Church will feature Christian Books, giftware and used merchandise on consignment. The owner is Annette Eastwood. When we dropped by last week, work was yet to begin on the interior, but outside signage announced the soon-to-open store. We’re not sure how the ice cream cone fits in!

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