Posts Tagged ‘baker books’

I No Longer Have the Perspective of Other Canadian Stores

I find myself beginning the year in a very different place from the rest of the longtime readers here; a place that leaves me wondering if my own store is now significantly atypical as to disqualify me from writing about industry events and trends.

If you’re not part of the Facebook group, basically in mid-December I decided it was time to cancel all of my backorders with Parasource and pursue a different route. I didn’t want to burn my bridges with them entirely, but their senior management took it all to mean I was running out on my account balance; a thought which, truthfully, had never occurred to me.

When I saw that the account balance was the sum total of their concern for the issue I raised, I realized there was probably no turning back. And yes, days later, just to show that we’re made of better stuff, we paid the balance in its entirety, including invoices which had not yet become due.

I am not in any way advocating something as radical as this for other readers here. There are three reasons I was in a position to make this decision.

First, I don’t have the same commitment to Dayspring greeting card racks as the rest of you. At one point, with 13 racks — eight of which were on a control program — we had the third largest greeting card store in Brockville. But the two racks I have left in Cobourg aren’t all that necessary, and there’s an entire younger demographic which doesn’t send cards at all.

Second, it’s been about a decade since I had any standing orders for curriculum or dated Christian Education supplies. Many churches in our area either use denominational curriculum, or use other resources to improvise. In this area, I had no business to lose.

Third, it had been a long, long time since we worried about doing printed sale flyers. Our entire approach has involved an email newsletter, Facebook, our website, and in-person shopping. We asked — several times and several different publisher distributors — if we could have the HTML elements from the flyers to do an entirely virtual — if slightly abbreviated — version of the catalogues, but it never happened.

By abbreviated, I meant that I was willing to take a fair mixture of the three categories represented in most flyers, (a) loss leaders, (b) major releases, (c) secondary and tertiary level titles the publishers are trying to introduce; but maybe just not so many, i.e. eight of each type with a limit of 24 titles. Personally, I think the future of this type of promotion does not lie in printed materials.

One thing I was not prepared to do moving forward was negotiate or be granted discounts of up to an extra 10% on goods that I could buy from the other distributor with 50% less freight costs.

I made the decision somewhat both impulsively and after thinking about it since the end of the summer. If I’d planned it more carefully, I might have bought some “70th Birthday” cards, but otherwise, I have no regrets so far. Our customers were made aware of the decision in a newsletter item which ran over two weeks.

Since I don’t do direct buys from Dicksons, Kerusso, Precious Moments, etc., and because my Canadian Bible Society account has been inactive since before the pandemic started, it means I’m operating with just HarperCollins, WordAlive, PenguinRandomHouse, and SpringArbor. (I seem to like companies without spaces in their names!)

There’s a name for running on such a tight supplier base: Efficiency.

For most of you, ‘Don’t try this at home.’

Book Probes our Need for Heroes and Celebrities

Other than a couple of references to Justin Bieber, and a few instances where the Canadian aspect of the Ravi Zacharias story is mentioned, there are not a lot of Canadian angles to this book, but I’m including my review from Thinking Out Loud here at Christian Book Shop Talk in case your store did well with A Church Called TOV or Jesus and John Wayne, and you have customers wanting to delve into the events of the past decade one more time.

Review: Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the Church by Katelyn Beaty (Brazos Press, 2022)

Katelyn Beaty is one of a number of writers who has been part of the Christianity Today (CT) orbit, as I was briefly, and generally speaking, I find that people who come out of that environment have a healthy and balanced perspective on issues facing the church, and are often granted access to information which provides for additional insights.

Celebrities for Jesus is very much (almost) equal parts

  • history lesson
  • analysis
  • memoir

As a (recent) history lesson, because of my involvement over the years with this blog and its attendant attention to Christian news stories, there was a sense in which Katelyn and I had much of the same information. As soon as she stated something, my brain would signal ‘Yes, but you really need to mention ___________,’ only to find her doing so in the very next sentence.

My wife reminded me that not everyone has the same knowledge. While it’s true that some of the stories she covers in this book were part of Jesus and John Wayne by Kristen Kobes Du Mez and A Church Called TOV by Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer (which we reviewed here and here respectively) there was coverage of situations and people that were beyond the scope of both books, and at least one name that caught me off guard given the context.

Generally speaking, the context was American, which left me wondering as to the preponderance of superstar pastors in other places. (We do hear occasional stories from South America and Africa; but these were not mentioned.) Is the case of Christian celebrity somewhat unique to the United States?

This brings us to the next part, analysis. This is where I felt the book shines the brightest, especially when the author compared the present state of Christianity to its Biblical ideals.

We do fall short in various ways. Our willingness to confer celebrity shows a flaw in our character, long before the man or woman in question has a misstep. Our stories are looking for heroes.

In each chapter, I never questioned Beaty’s qualifications to offer us some of her perspective. My only wish is that she had explored some of these things further and deeper, which would have resulted in a welcomed longer book.

Finally, there was memoir. On page 158, speaking about the high rates of deconstruction and “faith detox” among her peers, “I sometimes wonder why I am still a Christian.”

That could be said about so many that work or have worked at CT or similar environments such as Religion News Service or Relevant, and get to see the spectacular crashes of individuals and ministry organizations close-up.

And yet, she celebrates that something “about that early faith… that could blossom into an orientation that could withstand doubt, the loss of dreams and cultural pressures.” Absent the more progressive identification of an author such as the late Rachel Held Evans, she still shares that honest vulnerability as she’s wrestled with all she has seen and heard.

Celebrities for Jesus covers its topic well. I even wonder if this needs to be required reading for those younger leaders whose desire to do something great might materialize more about building their kingdom instead of God’s kingdom?

It might have helped a few people not trip up.

Celebrities for Jesus is published by Brazos Press, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for which its author is also employed. A review copy was made available through publisher representative Graf-Martin Communications who provide publicity, marketing and brand development for clients from their base in Elmira, Ontario, Canada.

More Social Media Graphics

NavPress – Canadian author – See our review on January 13

Baker/Bethany – Journal and Study Guide also available

Donna VanLiere (Christmas Shoes author) – Harvest House – Book 3 is March release

NIV Artisan Collection Bibles

NIV Artisan Collection Bibles

The Wonder of Creation – Room in lower centre/left to add store info

Tyndale: See previous graphics for alternative image

Order from Goodseed

CA Gifts – Mugs with matching fabric coasters (Some graphics here appearing to be cut off on the right margin are in fact intact when copied.)

Wall/Tabletop plaques – approx 8 designs – Word Alive

Scented candles from Abba – approx. 10 different styles – Word Alive

Harvest House Kids – mid February release

Canterbury Classics journal – Book Depot – blue one may be sold out

Books for Seekers – Nelson/Zondervan

Word Alive Press – Eastern Ontario authors

Revell – New Release Tuesday – January 2022

Generic 720px x 180px header

  • None of these graphics were created specifically for this blog post, but I do appreciate hearing about where you are using them.

Brant Hansen Spoofs Book Trailers

I reviewed the book here a week ago, but wanted to share this as well.

Hamilton, Ontario Pastor Introduces Forthcoming Title

Kevin Makins is the pastor of Eucharist Church in downtown Hamilton, Ontario and he’s chosen a unique way to introduce his forthcoming title with Baker Books; so we get to let him tell you himself! The book is Why Would Anyone Go to Church: A Young Community’s Quest to Find and Reclaim Church for Good. Release date is June 16th.

Publisher marketing:

There are plenty of reasons to criticize, judge, and even walk away from the church. Many of us have been hurt and rejected. We may see church as insular and irrelevant. Despite this, Kevin Makins believes that the church still matters–perhaps more than ever.

When Kevin was 23 and didn’t know any better, he started a congregation with some friends who were on the edge of faith. Together they hoped to discover if the church was worth fighting for. In this brutally honest account, he shares their story of becoming a community of misfits, outcasts, and oddballs who would learn that, even with all its faults, the church is worth being a part of . . . and must be reclaimed for good.

If you’ve been burned or burned out by the church, if you’ve been silenced or misunderstood, if you’ve left or never even joined in the first place, this candid, hopeful book is your invitation to consider what you miss out on when you give up on church–and what the church misses out on when it gives up on you.

Kevin Makins (MDiv, Heritage Seminary) is the founding pastor of Eucharist Church in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada, which has been recognized as one of the most creative and innovative churches in the country and spotlighted on national television and radio outlets, in newspapers, and on podcasts. A frequent speaker at conferences and churches, Kevin also performs one-man shows in bars and makes videos for thousands on YouTube. His audience includes the faithful and the skeptical, those hungry to learn, and those who just want to hear a good story. He lives in an old house downtown with his wife, kids, and housemates.


Another Way to Present Historical Fiction

As a smaller store, we don’t get access to the promotional posters or window clings promoting new book titles. So we have to be creative when we receive publisher catalogues, particular the opening pages which devote a full 8 x 10 image to a single forthcoming title, which we post on the wall near our entrance.

The problem is print catalogues are disappearing. We only get them if we beg for them, and honestly, from a distributor perspective, perhaps we don’t buy enough to justify receiving them.

I was recently re-examining a Spring 2017 Baker Books catalogue (the last one we received) when I came across this page showing a rather unique way of introducing Historical Fiction which I wanted to share here in case you missed it too.

The timeline is brilliant and will really resonate with readers intimately familiar with this fiction genre.

Perhaps Baker has more of these we can post or link to in a future article. (I’d love this as an in-store poster!) Click the image below to see full size.



Eight Years Ago: The R. G. Mitchell Meltdown




As a supplement to the September 16th story we announced that Augsburg-Fortress had picked up Westminster John Knox and Abingdon. Here’s how other trade lines fared in the weeks that followed; use the archives tabs to find the stories.

September 24: Baker Books Declares Open Market in Canada
September 26: Foundation Confirms Distribution for NavPress and Gospel Light
September 30: STL Announces Consolidated Shipping and Brokerage
October 6: Thomas Nelson Soliciting Canadian Stores Directly
October 10: Tyndale Assigns Canadian Distribution to Foundation
October 17: Harvest House Signs with Foundation Distributing
October 21: David C. Cook Cooks Up Drop-Ship Deal with Baker
October 28: Baker Books Locks in with David C. Cook
November 6: David C. Cook Confirms Moody and Kregel Trade Lines; Jettisons Others
November 12: David C. Cook Confirms Broadman & Holman Distribution
November 12: Upper Room Books Signs with Augsburg Fortress



Free Samples Whet Appetites for Christian Books

5 Ways to Get Customers As Excited About Books as You Are

That water looks so good... and getting your customers to satisfy their thirst for Christian reading isn't rocket science when you know a few tricks.

That water looks so good… and getting your customers to satisfy their thirst for Christian reading isn’t rocket science when you know a few tricks.

by Paul Wilkinson

There’s a saying that “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink;” to which the response is, “True, but you can put salt in its oats to make it thirsty.”

Getting customers — and people you would like to see return as customers — into the books you stock is always a challenge. These days, it seems like there are so many things competing for our attention. But there are some things you can do:

YouTubeI’ve mentioned this before but I’ll say it again. Let a customer listen to N.T. Wright or Francis Chan, and they will literally hear those authors in their heads as they are reading. I’ve directed many customers to an obscure clip from Chan titled “Balance beam” many times. These links create familiarity and intimacy with the authors and drive customers back to get their books. Of course, there are also book trailers. I wish the publishers would help us find out about them better, and have something to direct our customers to find them.

MagazinesMost stores say their magazine program is dying or has already died, but these resources were great for allowing people to read excerpts and reviews of current products. We’re currently doing a giveaway program with Faith Today magazine from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, to help people who want to be better connected stay in the loop. Our regional Christian newspaper, The Christian Herald, contains book reviews in each and every issue. For stores still playing the magazine game, Relevant, Christianity Today, various women’s magazines and Focus on the Family are examples of periodicals that can drive sales, though with Focus you’re competing with their in-house product sales.

Church LibrariesMany stores see the local church libraries as competition, but nothing could be further from the truth. Besides being among your best customers, they get people excited about books, authors and series, and I like to encourage some of the local church librarians to make sure the library is frequently mentioned in the announcements or the bulletin. With one or two churches, I’m going to take some pictures of the library myself, send them to the church office, just so they have an image to go with a mention in the weekend announcement slides, and mid-week e-mail blast.

Thrift ShopsSomeone made a point of tracking me down when Bibles for Missions opened a store in my town, to inform me that this would spell certain doom for my bookstore. Quite the opposite. People get a couple of titles in a 4-book set and come to us hoping to find the rest. I don’t have room to start a used department, so I see the thrift store as complementary to what we’re doing in the retail bookstore. Besides, the book departments at Value Village or The Salvation Army are testimony to the fact that book reading is alive and well.

Excerpts OnlineI recently asked an author for 6 or 7 paragraphs from his recent book. You would think I had asked for a share of his royalties. Publishers and distributors and literary agents couldn’t make it happen. I just don’t have time to transcribe from each and every book, or I would; and I can’t copy and paste excerpts from fuzzy .pdf pages. Christian publishers are totally dropping the ball on this one and they don’t get it. Fine. I understand that budgets don’t allow for printed samplers anymore. But it costs nothing to post sample chapters and then let retailers know where the heck they’re buried online. It’s the bookstore equivalent of handing out samples at the grocery store or Costco. Give me a little bit on a toothpick, and if it tastes good, I’ll probably throw the package in the shopping cart.

  • Another way publishers can help retailers with HTML elements for store newsletters, store websites and store Facebook and Twitter pages. But we’ve said that over and over again here. And here.


October 10, 2014 1 comment

If any store doing the Christmas Joy catalogue is interested in an extra 500 unimprinted catalogues, please let me know as our staff are debating dropping the catalogue in view of the price changes.   

This is one of the ridiculous situations that emerges when Canada’s book prices are indexed to the U.S. dollar. Decades ago, literary agents (i.e. lawyers) forced this situation where Canada is a extension of the U.S. book market.

However, Canada is distinct where they choose not to give us U.S. SuperSaver items, while at the same time allowing us to have the foreign ITPE editions of key bestsellers, which to this writer, represents an admission that we are indeed a foreign market. 

Still, the production of an advertising flyer or catalogue creates an implied contract to provide the items to the dealer at the specified price. I think that would stand up in court. No judge would accept, “The U.S. dollar changed by one cent since we printed the catalogue and we can’t absorb the difference.” 

And why do the dealers take the hit? Should not the U.S. publishers be propping up the distributor in light of the benefit of being in the catalogue in the first place?

Furthermore, my order didn’t get placed until after the price change, but before the extra 1% discount was granted. And what’s with that? They upped the prices by 5% but only changed the discount by 1%.

When our staff finalizes a decision on Tuesday morning, I’ll be pushing for tossing the catalogues into recycling.


Regal Acquisition by Baker Leaves Database Confusion

Switching the ISBNs on Regal, the trade line of curriculum publisher Gospel Light, makes sense following Regal being acquired by Baker Book Group. But customers, online vendors, distributors, brick and mortar stores, and curators of databases are dealing with the transition with titles often showing as out-of-print or discontinued when they are not.

barcodeThe solution? First: Check to see of the publisher is indicated as Regal or Gospel Light. Next: Look for a secondary, updated, or superseded listing before giving up. Finally: If you have the option to do so, print new barcodes for product still in your system.

Problems like this are minor but sometimes frustrating. Some stores still have Biblica Books product in their stores after the line was acquired by InterVarsity Press a year ago. In a grocery environment, where sales volume and the issue of best-before dates mean product has to move through the system quickly, this becomes less of an issue. Many times a product is resized before a new code is introduced.

In my own store, barcode scanning is impossible because, as an outlet store, we often have the same title as both a regular-priced item (often acquired in the months following first release) and as a sale-priced item (when acquired in the overstock or remainder market).  Of course, many stores simply use a generic code at this point, which appears on the customer receipt as “SALE BOOKS  $9.99” as a general category.

In Canada, we also have the issue of currency conversion. Sometimes stock is replenished before existing stock has fully run out, so you have the same ISBN at a conversion of 1.1000 X US sitting next to stock converted at 1.2000 X US.

Finally, to add insult to barcode injury, some other retail sectors are now re-barcoding their stock with numbering unique to their company to avoid the situation where customers come in with smartphones, scan the codes, and comparison shop with online vendors, or simply use the physical store as a showroom for an online purchase that’s been predetermined. By changing the numbers, the process shuts down somewhat.



Clarification on Regal Acquisition by Baker

Following our report here two days ago about Gospel Light selling Regal Books to Baker Book Group, the Publisher’s Weekly story indicates that Gospel Light is retaining the Regal name; the titles will be assigned to Baker, Bethany and Chosen without creating a new division.

…Under the terms of the deal, Baker will acquire Regal’s backlist, frontlist, and forthcoming books, some 625 print titles, Dwight Baker told PW. “The Regal brand will remain with Gospel Light, so we will not add to our divisions. Regal works will be folded into our four trade divisions–Bethany, Revell, Chosen, and Baker Books.” … “From an editorial perspective, we would have difficulty distinguishing Regal from our current trade divisions anyway, so this agreement does simplify matters,” he said.

This sounds similar to InterVarsity Press’ (IVP) acquisition of Biblica Books, where all the titles were reassigned IVP 978083 ISBNs.

Read the full story at Publisher’s Weekly.

Baker to Acquire Regal from Gospel Light

Baker Book Group announced today that Gospel Light Publishing has entered into an agreement to the assets of Regal Books to Baker, in order to concentrate resources on its curriculum, VBS and Christian Education product.  Regal publishes current authors Dennis Rainey and Gene Getz, and classic writers Henrietta Mears and A.W. Tozer. The company has a large roster of writers with strong name-recognition among Evangelicals.

Both divisions of Gospel Light are currently represented in Canada by Foundation Distributing, while Baker Group Book — which includes Bethany House Publishers — is distributed in Canada by David C. Cook.

Full press release at Baker Book Group.