Home > Uncategorized > Publisher’s Weekly Tracks 25 Years of Christian Publishing

Publisher’s Weekly Tracks 25 Years of Christian Publishing

In conjunction with its 150th anniversary, Publisher’s Weekly, the industry’s leading trade magazine has published a series of articles which look at various genres in bookselling. Veteran writer Cathy Lynn Grossman looked at religious publishing, mostly emphasizing the growth and present state of Christian bookselling.

As the article begins, it notes the growth of religious publishing overall:

…Religion publishing was valued at $1.2 billion in 2020, the most recent annual estimate in the StatShot Annual Report from the Association of American Publishers. It’s a tally combining sales from religion presses and religion books from other sources. …this reflects a revenue increase of 10.8% for religion presses between 2016 and 2020, and an increase of units by 7.4%, reaching 179 million units…

But of course we also know the downside:

…In 1983, PW reported that 3,290 bookstores and 605 publishers and suppliers expected to do a billion dollars in business at a 9,000-person CBA [Christian Bookseller’s Association] show that year. By 2005 the organization was down to 2,256 members, and in 2016, membership was half that. The CBA finally shuttered in 2019 following longtime president Curtis Riskey’s departure and an entrepreneur’s takeover the year before.

There are fewer than 1,000 Christian bookstores today, including Catholic and church bookshops nationwide, according to the Noble Group, which provides outside sales representation to vendors in Christian retail. Williamson points out, “At one time, as much as 80% of Christian books, which are a majority of all religion book sales, moved through Christian retailers. Today, no more than 20% of Christian books are sold by that channel…”

I would encourage you to read the entire article, and if you have any staff in your store who are relatively new encourage them to check out the piece as well.

► To continue reading, click this link.

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