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Posts Tagged ‘Christian publishing’

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

 

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

Thomas Nelson Pursues Charismatic Market

In a Monday press release, Thomas Nelson unveiled “Emanate Books, its new charismatic Christian publishing imprint” and went on to announce:

Emanate Books will bring twelve titles to market in its first year, beginning with “The Azusa Street Mission and Revival” from Fuller Theological Seminary professor Cecil M. Robeck.

In early 2018, Emanate will publish two new titles from pastors at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. “Hope for Your Marriage,” the first marriage book from Clayton and Ashlee Hurst, will release in January 2018. Then, in March, Emanate will release “Our Champion,” a memoir that chronicles the triumphant journey of Pastor Craig Johnson’s family as they learn to embrace their son’s battle with autism…

…Joel Kneedler, former associate publisher with W Publishing, will serve as publisher of Emanate Books. “I am thrilled to publish books for this audience,” he said. “The way ‘charismatic’ has been defined in the past is vastly different from how those within the movement see it today. It is our goal to help move the conversation into the twenty-first century. The global reach of HarperCollins offers Emanate Books a distinct advantage in reaching readers wherever they may be by working with our partners in Africa, Asia, Australia, Brazil, Europe, and Latin America.”

Emanate Books marketing manager Cody Van Ryn commented, “Emanate Books will be home to both timeless and fresh voices from the charismatic community.  We’re eager to share our engaging authors and content with readers in new and interesting ways, all with the goal of helping people grow in Christ.”

Thomas Nelson’s existing roster is currently light on Charismatic authors but does contain one notable product, The New Spirit-Filled Bible. At sister imprint Zondervan, there is The Life in the Spirit Study Bible as well as books by Brooklyn Tabernacle pastor Jim Cymbala. Neither imprint is known for its strength in publishing for the Pentecostal/Charismatic market, a situation that Emanate hopes to correct.

An earlier version of the Nelson press release appeared online on June 8th.

When White House News Leads The National

Some days it’s hard to tell if you’re watching a Canadian newscast or have accidentally switched to a U.S. channel. Several times this month, a story pertaining to the White House and the American President have led The National on CBC. I am quite sure they agonize over whether to choose developments there over Canadian or overseas stories, but clearly we can’t get enough of the continuing developments south of the border.

As a bookseller, whenever a product is presented to me that would be considered “U.S.-interest” I instinctively pass. It’s hard to sell a book with the U.S. flag or the Capitol building on the cover, certain Joel Rosenberg fiction titles notwithstanding.

This time it’s different.

I think there might be a considerable interest in these parts for a book releasing by Baker in early October, Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope and Why Christian Conservatives Support Him by Stephen Mansfield, who has considerable experience writing the biographies of U.S. Presidents. My reading has been constantly interrupted, but the introduction alone is probably the most succinct summary of Trump’s rise and conquering of the White House I’ve seen in any media, print or electronic.

This is a faith-focused story, not about the faith of the man himself — another book is tackling that topic for a January release — but an understanding of how Trump was able to galvanize support from the Religious Right after eight years of President Obama. In that sense, it’s a summary of how things work in a land where Evangelicalism is inextricably linked to politics.

And in that, there are many parallels and many lessons for us in this country.

I’ll have more to say to about the book when I finish it, but if you’re a Canadian store considering this title, don’t be too dismissive because it’s someone else’s political story. Order carefully, but my bet is that this is a story that some of your customers will want to read.

9780801007330 | 208 pages | hardcover | October 3, 2017

Stores Need Digital Marketing Materials

Today was a newsletter day. With Mail Chimp, I can watch as customers open the emails and click on things. They love publisher videos (book trailers) and they like it when we include bold, professional graphics promoting new books.

And we can’t get enough of them.

But I’ve said that before.

The latest trend, if you haven’t noticed, is that publishers, instead of producing Facebook-ready and Twitter-ready graphics with a cover of the book and a link to the author website have migrated toward quote cards. Haven’t heard of them? They’re basically quotes set against a photographic or textured image that are totally made for Instagram.

You can add images to Twitter.

You can add images to Facebook.

But Instagram exists solely for pictures.

It’s nice that at least they’re quotations from books — we are in the business of reading still, last time I checked — but Instagram, like spellcheck, auto-correct, Tumblr, 140-character limits, and the erosion of attention spans known as YouTube is simply another contributor to the whole loss of language we’re experiencing right now.

We’re moving from literacy to orality.

So many bloggers have just given up using their ten fingers on a keyboard and are simply making podcasts. Less work. Less attention to editing. Less quality, if you don’t mind me saying so.

We’re moving from words to pictures.

And the pictures are not worth 1,000 words, either.

Reading separates us from the animals. It’s what makes us distinct. And we’re losing it…

…Back to my original theme. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you also can’t envision it with nothing but a quote card. This is not a good move. The social media/IT/communications/publicity people have got Instagram on the brain and they’ve forgotten their true purpose: To show people books coming to market.

 

Christian Publishing Companies Took an Enormous Loss on Family Christian Closing

In a presumably recent article dated “June 10th, 2017” World Magazine recounts the end of the Family Christian Bookstores closing in this article:

The news earlier this year that Family Christian Stores would close its more than 240 retail shops startled many of its customers. But it didn’t surprise anyone familiar with the company’s recent history. Despite receiving forgiveness for more than $80 million in debt two years ago, the company still couldn’t pay all of its bills.

The article later goes on to say:

Family Christian lost about $16.6 million over about 17 months during the bankruptcy, according to court documents.

That’s a million per month. The story continues:

In February Family Christian representatives called both Baker and Tyndale publishing groups. Lewis said they asked Baker Publishing for more time to pay invoices and for a 15 percent price discount, and Baker said yes.

But others, including Tyndale, had gone as far as they could to help the struggling retailer. “They asked us for humongous increases in the discount at which we were selling to them, and we just said, no, we’ve already given you our best deal,” Tyndale CEO Mark Taylor said…

…“This is the second time in three years that we’ve taken a big hit in bad debts because of Family,” Taylor said. (He declined to name the dollar amount of Tyndale’s loss.) Lewis said Baker Publishing expected to lose between $350,000 and $400,000.

Basically, Christian publishers bailed out Family not once, but twice.

Furthermore, the article doesn’t mention that many of those same publishers — in 2016, the year in-between the two crises at Family — took similar losses on the closing of Send the Light Distribution. Nor does it mention the many write-offs which a part of everyday commerce in dealing with individual bookstores that have closed in the Amazon era.

In this writer’s opinion, those losses might be represented by authors who were never signed, books that were never fully marketed, and development of new projects that were possibly curtailed. It’s entirely possible that publishing company staff were let go in belt-tightening at these various companies.

It’s a big loss for us all.

Mainstream Bookstore Notes “Thousandfold” Increase in Bible Sales Over 15 Years

The Saturday print edition of The Toronto Star profiled Squibb’s Stationers in Weston Village noting “it’s Toronto’s self-proclaimed oldest bookstore.” The article by reporter Jackie Hong coincided with the stores 90th anniversary.

Toward the end of the article…

Besides building friendships with customers, [co-owner Suri] Weinberg-Linsky said she’s been able to see trends come and go over the years, many of them unexpected — fountain pens have become a hot commodity again, no one buys ledgers anymore and Harry Potter’s popularity still shows no signs of slowing down — but the most perplexing relates to the explosion of sales for one book in particular.

“In the last 15 or so years, Bible sales have increased probably a thousandfold,” Weinberg-Linsky said. “We don’t go one day without selling at least one Bible . . . Honestly, I wouldn’t even be able to tell you why.”

From our perspective this is interesting on several fronts. First it confirms our observation, supported by anecdotal evidence, that stores like Chapters in Canada and Barnes and Noble in the U.S. are increasingly becoming the default Christian bookstores, especially as such stores close in many markets. B&N has always had a good handle on what “Religion – Christianity” books to stock, but Chapters was always hit-and-miss until about two years ago when their core inventory in this category seemed to undergo positive transformation.

Second however, it raises concerns that, much like shopping online, the customer is not afforded the benefit of experienced sales help in what is a very personal purchase. Most mainstream store associates can’t articulate the nuances of differences between the NLT, ESV or CEB translations, let alone describe the features in various devotional or study editions. Of course this places the onus on us to make sure that even casual part-time staff are well trained in this area. I’m happy that Squibb’s is seeing these sales, but I hope that each Bible is a ‘good fit’ for the intended recipient. Christian bookstores also need to encourage first-time Bible buyers to get in touch by email if there’s anything about their Bible they’re not understanding, and also see if they are connected to a local church or home fellowship.

Finally, on a more positive note, the experience of Squibb’s in Toronto shows that the Bible is very much in demand. In my own small-town store, we easily have about 800 units of Bible product representing at least 550 SKUs. It would be really tempting — especially with shelf space at a premium — to sit back and rest on our existing inventory, but we are always topping up products which make connections with customers. Currently, that includes the value lines of NLT, NIV and Message Bibles and just about anything that’s giant print.

Top Ten Books – Part Seven – Thomas Nelson

Let us know if there’s a publisher you’d really like to see here.

Thomas Nelson Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 5/1/17 *

  1. Jesus Always – Sarah Young
  2. Magnolia Story – Chip Gaines
  3. Is This the End? – David Jeremiah
  4. When God Doesn’t Fix It – Laura Story
  5. Jesus Calling – Sarah Young **
  6. I, Isaac Take Thee, Rebekah – Ravi Zacharias
  7. With – Skye Jethani
  8. How’s Your Soul? – Judah Smith
  9. Uninvited – Lysa TerKeurst
  10. Twelve Extraordinary Women – John MacArthur

When you flip the list over to Ingram demand instead, you get:

  1. Jesus Always – Sarah Young
  2. Magnolia Story – Chip Gaines
  3. Attitude 101 – John Maxwell
  4. Don’t Settle For Safe – Sarah Jakes Roberts
  5. 42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story – Ed Henry

*Regular price trade books. Some titles are hardcover in the U.S. but available in ITPE in Canada. Because of the rolling data system Ingram uses, I’m not sure if accessing the data following a weekend may have skewed results. We can check again on Tuesday.
**We didn’t list the various editions of this book that followed from that point.

Thomas Nelson Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 5/1/17 *

  1. Jesus Calling – Sarah Young (53%)
  2. Uninvited – Lysa TerKeurst
  3. Jesus Always – Sarah Young
  4. Is This The End? – David Jeremiah
  5. You’ll Think of Me – Robin Lee Hatcher
  6. This Life I Live – Rory Feek
  7. Let the Journey Begin – Max Lucado
  8. Magnolia Story – Chip Gaines
  9. Strong’s Concordance Large Print Edition
  10. The Gospel According to Paul – John MacArthur
  11. Jesus Among Other Gods – Ravi Zacharias

*Excluding discount product, study guides, mass markets, audio products and Bibles.  For CBD we had to change the threshold to 50% to make the list make sense. Even then, we were making an exception for #1, which really did belong at the top of the list. So eleven titles are listed.

Hendrickson Publishing Acquisition of Rose Publishing

The press release cited below is actually dated February 17th, but the thing I find interesting about this story is that Rose/Legacy Publishing is located in Carson, California, which if I remember correctly is on the border between Los Angeles County and Orange County, and Hendrickson is at the opposite end of the country in the Greater Boston Area.  Will Rose eventually be relocated to the east coast? Guess we’ll have to stay tuned.

I like both companies. Even in a small(er) store like ours, the re-order rate on the Legacy kids devotionals, the Rose pamphlets and the June Hunt booklet series is high. And Hendrickson always offers good value titles.

Gretchen Goldsmith, President and CEO of Rose Publishing, announced that she has sold her ownership of the company to Hendrickson Publishers. Effective immediately, this significant and exciting change allows Hendrickson Publishers to play a role in shepherding the continued legacy of Rose Publishing forward into the future.

Goldsmith and John Ribeiro, Executive Vice President and CFO of Rose Publishing, will continue to be involved with the company in various capacities, and look forward to working with the team at Hendrickson Publishers to ensure their products continue to thrive. Goldsmith chose Hendrickson Publishers due to their commitment to the message of the Gospel, their integrity as a publisher, their promotion of basic easy-to-understand Christian material, and their love for Rose Publishing’s products.

“Rose Publishing and Hendrickson Publishers are complementary organizations with similar goals and values,” says Goldsmith. “I anticipate this relationship will strengthen the mission of each as we move forward with shared vision for the future.”

“She is a true visionary,” says Ray Hendrickson, President and CEO of Hendrickson Publishers, of Goldsmith. “Her cumulative wisdom and understanding of the Christian publishing market will serve us well as we transition, and we look forward to learning much from her and the Rose Publishing team.”

The Rose Publishing name, brand, and mission will continue under the leadership and vision of Paul Hendrickson, General Manager at Hendrickson Publishers. (This includes the two additional imprints Aspire Press and RoseKidz.) He does not anticipate that production of current Rose Publishing, Aspire Press, or RoseKidz products will slow down during this transition.

For those who don’t know, the Hendrickson family also has a little business on the side called Christian Book Distributors. If you’ve never heard of it, keep reading, because sometimes their advertising pops up on this free WordPress blog. (And on my store’s blog as well, which is a more serious issue!)

 

Top Ten Books – Part Six – NavPress

Though their sales and marketing is now merged with Tyndale, the publishing arm of The Navigators is still very much a distinct imprint.

NavPress Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/23/17 *

  1. Trusting God – Jerry Bridges
  2. A Compact Guide to the Christian Life – Karen Lee-Thorp
  3. Respectable Sins – Jerry Bridges
  4. Real Life Discipleship Training Manual
  5. Crushed: Why Guys Don’t Have to Make or Break You – Jessie Minassian
  6. When Man Began to Call on God – T.W. Hunt
  7. The Story of Me (book 1) – Stan Jones
  8. Before I Was Born (book 2) – Carolyn Nystrom
  9. Backwards Beauty – Jessie Minassian
  10. The Cry of the Soul – Dan Allender

*Doesn’t include a host of NavPress study guides and the many titles in the Becoming a Woman of… series by Cynthia Heald. We didn’t count pocket books, but #1 right now on this list was Surprise the World: The Five Habits of Missional People by Michael Frost.

We don’t usually do this in such detail, but if you flip the list over to Ingram demand instead, you get:

  1. Calm My Anxious Heart – Linda Dillow
  2. Growing Strong in God’s Family – Nav Staff
  3. Wounded Children, Healing Homes – Jayne Schooler
  4. The Discipline of Grace – Jerry Bridges
  5. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Home – Donald A. Whitney
  6. What’s the Big Deal (book 3) – Stan Jones
  7. Abba’s Child – Brennan Manning

…and so on! A very different list.

NavPress Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/23/17 *

  1. Trusting God w/ Study Guide – Jerry Bridges
  2. Calm My Anxious Heart – Linda Dillow
  3. Pursuit of Holiness w/ Study Guide – Jerry Bridges
  4. What’s the Big Deal (book 3) – Stan Jones
  5. A Praying Life – Paul Miller
  6. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (updated) – Donald A. Whitney
  7. How to Stay Christian in College – J. Budziszewski
  8. The Fruitful Life – Jerry Bridges
  9. Before I Was Born (book 2) – Carolyn Nystrom
  10. The Practice of Godliness – Jerry Bridges

*Excluding discount product, study guides, mass markets, audio products and Message Bibles.

We’ll do one more of these this week, probably Thomas Nelson. I don’t carry B&H or Crossway in my store as I consider them denominational publishers. Past that we’re getting into more obscure imprints.

Top Ten Books – Part Five – InterVarsity Press (IVP)

We continue our look at what’s happening in real time with various publishers. I wish we had the time to do this every quarter or even every month. It makes for interesting discovery. I’d also like to put together a list from the three major Canadian distributors (Parasource, HarperCollins and Foundation) of ITPE titles. Are my suppliers reading this?

Today a publisher I had the privilege of working for in (technically) two different cities: Toronto and Markham before their absorption into the R. G. Mitchell family.

IVP Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/20/17 *

  1. The Soul of Shame – Curt Thompson
  2. Sensible Shoes – Sharon Garlough Brown (fiction)
  3. Know Why You Believe – Paul Little
  4. Hearing God – Dallas Willard
  5. The Road Back to You – Cron & Stabille  (Enneagram)
  6. The Seven Deadly Virtues – Todd Outcalt
  7. The Gift of Being Yourself – David Benner
  8. Barefoot – Sharon Garlough Brown (fiction)
  9. Keeping Place – Michel Jen Pollock
  10. The Fight – John White

*Items #1 and #2 on the list were actually the little booklet My Heart Christ’s Home. (See note on the list below as well.) We don’t count pocket books but the mass market edition of Basic Christianity was #8.) There were not as many study guides showing on this list as we expected. So eliminating the aforementioned titles, #10 was actually #13; quite a difference from the list to follow.

If you switch the list from Spring Arbor Demand to Ingram Demand, #1 is Strengthening the Soul of Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton, but the titles which follow are similar to what’s above.

IVP Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/20/17 *

  1. Knowing God – J. I. Packer *
  2. Too Busy Not to Pray – Bill Hybels
  3. Discipleship Essentials – Greg Ogden *
  4. The God Shaped Brain – Timothy Jennings (preorders)
  5. Impossible People – Os Guiness
  6. Sensible Shoes – Sharon Garlough Brown (fiction)
  7. The Road Back to You – Cron & Stabille  (Enneagram)
  8. Know What You Believe – Paul Little
  9. Barefoot – Sharon Garlough Brown (fiction)
  10. Hearing God – Dallas Willard
  11. Delighting in the Trinity – Michael Reeves (IVP Academic)
  12. The Good and Beautiful Community – James Bryan Smith *
  13. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook – Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

*Lots of explanations needed here. For IVP, we changed the discount threshold to 50% for various reasons. The exceptions are indicated by an asterisk, and we added 3 additional titles for the purists who wanted the usual 44% discount at CBD to apply. Missing also are a host of study guides. (You can ask for a recent rank order list of those from Parasource anytime or check your print IVP catalogue for the ranked list on the inside back cover.) For that reason, #13 here is actually #40 on the overall CBD list. Also, FYI, #1 on their list was the 5-pack of the My Heart Christ’s Home booklet, which should always be in stock at our stores.


For your personal devotions, check out IVP’s Hard Sayings of the Day page. 

For a window into a whole different world of InterVaristy Press check out what’s happening at IVP UK

For the top selling study guides at IVP, check out their Bible Study page  (their amazing LifeGuide Finder has mysteriously vanished off their website.)