Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Christian books’

As We Celebrate Canada 150, A Look at Religious Freedom Here

A few months ago we suggested stores consider doing a display feature of Canadian authors to tie in with Canada 150 celebrations. A recent comment alerted us to a book written specifically for the occasion. A follow up with the author resulted us receiving the press release below which we’re passing on as submitted with a few adjustments for times and dates.


Word Alive Press recently announced the release of its newest title in the Great Canadian Author series, Under Siege: Religious Freedom and the Church in Canada at 150 (1867-2017).

In his first book, author Don Hutchinson draws on over three decades of church leadership, constitutional law and public policy experience to offer valuable insight into the Christian Church and into today’s Canada.

Hutchinson’s storyteller style delivers a book designed for everyone interested in the challenges and opportunities of religious freedom in Canada.

Hutchinson studied history and politics at Queen’s University and law at the University of British Columbia. Following fifteen years in leadership with The Salvation Army, he consulted with World Vision Canada and others before serving seven and a half years with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, including as Vice-President, General Legal Counsel and Director of the Centre for Faith and Public Life in Ottawa, where he made several appearances before parliamentary committees and the Supreme Court of Canada.

This book informs and inspires. Canadians who embrace Christianity as a personal faith, a community faith and a faith not to be kept to ourselves will appreciate Hutchinson’s perspective that, “we need to be prepared in our relationship with Christ, and the nation in which we live, to stand publicly in our faith as witnesses to Him whom we live for. One key to that preparation is engaging fully our commitment to Christ, His Church, and His Word (the Bible). Another is being accurately aware of how Canadian courts are defining what the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms refers to as the ‘fundamental freedom’ of freedom of religion.” (Under Siege, page 45)

Many Christians sense that an advancing secularism is trying to force upon Canadians a culture in which faith is meant to be private. Under Siege presents historic, legal and theological grounds for faith not to be hidden away in private stained-glass closets but instead, for the benefit of Canadian society, shared with confidence in an increasingly contested public square.

National Post columnist and editor-in-chief of, Father Raymond J. de Souza writes, “Religious freedom has returned to the global agenda in the 21st century, ‘under siege’ from both religious and secular extremists. Don Hutchinson is uniquely situated to tell the story, and it’s a story that urgently needs to be told.”

Brian C. Stiller, global ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance, adds, “Don Hutchinson in Under Siege walks us through the critical issues of freedom of religion in a country where one might naively assume its record is stellar. His message is that there is always the need for vigilance. In a time when the secular assumption that faith will soon ebb away carries with it a belief there is no need to protect its freedom, this book advises the opposite. A timely and wise warning.”

A public book launch took place on May 3rd at Cardus in Ottawa…

304 page paperback – ISBN 9781486614523 – $22.99 in Canada
Distribution for retailers by Word Alive/Anchor Distributors

For more information visit:

Visiting Other Stores

Yesterday morning I spent the better part of an hour with Mary and Cathy at The Word Bookstore in Perth, Ontario.    This was the first time I’d seen their somewhat downsized location, which was opened four years ago.

Mary didn’t give me permission to give her age, but she has been faithful to the store for a long time and is hoping to find someone who feels calls to assume responsibility for the business soon.   With the closest Christian bookstore about an hour away in Ottawa, it does meet a real need.

Here’s a few observations from my visit:

  • We do similar annual volumes (ours being per location) but have a radically different inventory; our store is dominantly books, while the Perth store has probably less than 25% of fixture space dedicated to books and Bibles
  • Their inventory is lean, but has all the bases covered.   Giftware is keyed to realistic special-occasion needs while the fiction section was populated with recent copyrights, not older product
  • They have some very strong support from some key churches; support that has been directly tied to “wanting to see the store stay in business.”
  • They see their growth market in Bible sales.
  • A prayer request bulletin board in a store tells you a lot about their relationships with customers

I was very encouraged to spend the time with them, and I hope they felt the same.   I didn’t ask to what extent they get visits from other store owners, but it’s something I think we should all do more often, especially when, as we are, you find yourself vacationing in other parts of the country.

…Then we stopped in Sterling, Ontario to visit Hearts to God, only to find the store is closed on Mondays.    This is a very large store for the size of the community, which meant looking through the window actually consumed the better part of five minutes.

It’s also a “Dutch” store.   I don’t know if you have these in the U.S. or U.K., or even other parts of Canada, but it’s a store with general market giftware (and a limited selection of books and music) for people whose first language or cultural identity traces back to Holland, aka The Netherlands, aka The Low Countries.    This merchandise is occasionally found with — and mixes well with — Christian book and gift stores.    It consumed the better part of one wall of the store, though I couldn’t see the floor fixtures toward the back.

There was probably double the inventory that we found in Perth, despite proximity to a store in Belleville (a 14 minute drive) and our own store in Cobourg (a 28 minute drive) and despite base populations that would suggest it ought to be the other way around.

It is also a store that has done extensive Christian radio advertising.   I’m sure that brings people in from a wide region, and possibly draws people out of Belleville, if they want to see a different array of product, and weather permits a drive in the country.   It’s interesting that the radio station in question has sold a significant volume of advertising to stores in places like Napanee and Sterling, while the larger stores in Belleville and Cobourg couldn’t come to terms with them on an affordable advertising package.

I’m hoping our plans take us to the U.S. at some point this month.   I haven’t been in a Family Christian store in 12 months, and I’m starting to experience withdrawal symptoms!

Augsburg-Fortress Liberates “Lost” Multnomah and Waterbrook Titles for Canadian Distribution

Most Christian bookstores in Canada have never seen the book pictured at left.   It’s the visual edition of The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennon Manning, though the original version of the book may have also eluded stores north of the 49th who don’t have an Ingram account.

The issue was the absence of Canadian pricing on the back covers.   Price labeling at the store level is rare in the general market, though it’s de rigeur in Christian stores in Canada.    If your store tried going direct to Random House of Canada, your phone representative would say “no Canadian rights” while your invoice would read “market restricted.”

However, with a two-pronged attack both from Augsburg-Fortress and this blogger, this unnecessary situation was corrected a few weeks ago.    Norm Robertson, sales manager for Augsburg, suggests that we’re looking at as many as 60 new titles, none of which have been available from a Canadian supplier.

Random House of Canada — the distributor of record for Multnomah and Waterbrook, through whom product must pass through to Augsburg for the CBA market — uses “locked in” prices for our market, based on what was printed on the back of the book.   HarperCollins, on the other hand, floats prices with the changes in the dollar, as do Christian book market distributors Cook and Foundation.

Author royalties are generally made based on the U.S. SRP, unless other arrangements have been made for Canada.  (It’s been suggested the Canadian Christian market will not survive this practice again if the gap between the two currencies widens as it was earlier in the decade.)

Ragamuffin Gospel – Visual Edition (9781590525128/$14.99US paperback) is an example of a backlist product that shows continued strength that could do well here with the right display placement.   (Historically, the thing that separates Christian bookstores from general market book retailers has been the strength of our backlist.)   Because this is ‘newsworthy’ and because we were involved with this project, as soon as Norm has a complete list we’ll post it here.   It will be interesting to see what products we’ve all been missing over the past few years.

What should you do if a title you want for your store is trapped in bureaucratic red tape?   Your best leverage is to work with authors’ agents.   Brennon Manning’s agency had no idea that one of his signature titles was embargoed.