Home > Uncategorized > Are Canadian Christian Bookstores Too White?

Are Canadian Christian Bookstores Too White?

It wasn’t a direct question from the customer, but a comment that got me thinking.

I started doing a mental inventory of the number of BIPOC authors we have in our store. Musicians, easier; writers, much more challenging.

My store isn’t in a large urban centre. Many smaller town Christian bookstores are located in areas where are very WASP-ish, and even if the ‘P’ (for Protestant) is no longer relevant, the ‘W’ for white, and the ‘AS’ for Anglo-Saxon definitely applies. To that end, I think my inventory matches the demographics of my community, but I do get customers from the GTA (or as it’s now expressed, the GTHA).

The other challenge is that Charismatic authors no longer drive book sales to the same degree they once did. Many black Christian authors are also Pentecostal or Charismatic.

Still, our industry in Canada is largely an extension of the American Christian book industry, and I was surprised when I started to survey the various departments in my store, the short-list was, well, very short. Almost embarrassingly short; and I am unaware of harbouring any bias or prejudice when it comes to making inventory purchasing decisions.

ChristianBook.com has a listing for Black Christian Authors. I compared that list to my inventory, and I must confess, I did not recognize at least half of the names. At the ECPA list, accessed today, there were three African American authors who stood out, and one Hispanic. So this isn’t just a Canadian thing.

What about your store? Does your collection of books on offer match the demographics of your city or town?

I’d like to think I could be doing better.

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