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Vancouver Author Offers 3 Phrases That Can Change the World

What if learning to have three phrases always at the ready could make a gigantic relationship in our interactions and inter-personal relationships? A new title — releasing this week — from a Vancouver author may provide the key.

A lifetime ago, I remember years ago hearing some friends speak very highly about Rod Wilson when he was involved with the counseling program at Ontario Theological Seminary (now Tyndale Seminary) in Toronto. I’m sure people at the seminary were disappointed when he was suddenly off to Vancouver, where he became President of Regent College from 2000-2015. His bio states,

Rod currently works with Lumara Grief and Bereavement Care Society, A Rocha, the Society of Christian Schools in BC, and In Trust Center for Theological Schools, and maintains an international teaching and mentoring ministry. He is also a Senior Writer for Faith Today.

I wanted to share this book release information with readers here, so in the absence of a review copy, here’s the publisher information from NavPress.

Thank You. I’m Sorry. Tell Me More: How to Change the World with 3 Sacred Sayings

We all believe that saying, “Thank you,” “I’m sorry,” and “Tell me more” will help us become better people, friends, partners, employees, neighbors, and global citizens. And yet, having been brought up on rugged individualism, we often slip into self-centeredness and a corresponding sense of entitlement. We have lost the ability to speak with gentleness toward one another. We have replaced kind words that connect us to one another with ones that divide, isolate, and hurt. Everywhere we turn there is deep conflict.

In this simple yet profound book, clinical psychologist Rod Wilson introduces us to the sacredness of these familiar but forgotten sayings. What impact do these sayings have on our relationships?

■ When we say, “Thank you,” we acknowledge the way others impact us.
■ When we say, “I’m sorry,” we acknowledge the way we impact others.
■ When we say, “Tell me more,” we acknowledge the way we impact each other.

As you engage with these three phrases more thoughtfully and speak them more frequently, you will enjoy a life full of deeper friendships and joy.

9781641584470 | 208 pages paperback | 12.99 USD / 17.49 CDN

 

Explaining the Translation/Paraphrase Dichotomy of The Message Bible

The Message.Romans.12.1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

With the passing of Eugene Peterson this week, Michael Frost has written what I feel to be the best overall summary of The Message Bible. He quickly shows us both why it is needed, and what may have given Peterson the idea to creat it. A few short excerpts follow, but first some background personal background from me.

I’ve always resisted people who are dismissive of The Message because “it’s a paraphrase.” I usually point out that first of all, Peterson was a brilliant scholar who worked from original languages. He didn’t just pick up a previous English translation and restate it, as did Ken Taylor with The Living Bible (not to be confused with the NLT, which was the translation-status upgrade of Taylor’s work.)

Second, I will often point out that some linguists have told me they don’t really have the term paraphrase. Anytime you are taking something written for audience “A” and then re-presenting it for audience “B” you are, in fact, translating.

The problem is that for everyone, including me, it was an either/or proposition.

But Frost introduces a new phrase, “rendering the text” which I think really says it best.

…There are many criticisms of The Message, some of them justified. It’s not a reliable translation if that’s what you need. It’s a rendering of the text, an attempt to make the Bible accessible in the common vernacular. But as a doorway into serious Bible reading, it has been a gift to the church. At least that’s how my friend has found it.

In his book on Bible reading, Eat This Book, Eugene Peterson writes about his motivations in writing The Message. He goes so far as to say it’s a form of sacrilege to speak of God in language that is “inflated into balloons of abstraction or diffused into the insubstantiality of lacey gossamer.” …

…Knowing this helps me appreciate The Message for what it is. It’s a protest against arcane and impenetrable religious language. It’s an invitation for ordinary people to enter the Scriptures once again.

…In his 1997 book on spirituality, Leap Over a Wall, he opens by telling us how his mother used to recount Bible stories to him when he was a child. In quite a moving passage, he writes:

My mother was good with words; she was also good with tones. In her storytelling I not only saw whole worlds come into being, I felt them within me through the timbre of her voice.”

Sure, he admits, she took some liberties with the stories, adding extracanonical detail, but “she never violated or distorted the story itself.” …

Here we have our primary clue to reading The Message: it’s like sitting on Uncle Eugene Peterson’s knee and listening to him tell the Bible story…

A rendering of the text.

I need to remember that phrase.

Again, click here to read Michael Frost’s article; and click here to listen to Skye Jethani interview Michael about his new book Keep Christianity Weird on Phil Vischer’s podcast. (Skip to the start of the interview at 30:39.)

…Here’s another phrase to keep in mind if you know someone who is a sharp critic of Peterson’s work: “It wasn’t written for us.” If they persist, just smile and say, “It wasn’t written for you.”


 Image: Bible Gateway blog

You Can’t Sell a Bible Edition You Don’t Respect

Gift and Award Bibles, regardless of translation, have one thing in common: They’re cheaply produced (and they look it.) Fortunately, there are better options.

Thankfully, one of the elements of the Bible publishing industry that seems, from my vantage point at least, to be fading is what is called “Gift and Award Bibles.” Most of the translations on the market have a contract with a publisher to produce these combined Old-and-New Testaments which, like the name implies, are usually given out by churches to visitors or awarded to Sunday School children as prizes.

These Bibles have one factor which unites them all: They’re cheap.

And while a child of 5 or 6 may be honored to receive one, for anyone else, closer examination proves how cheaply they are made. Here’s the way it works:

  1. Newsprint is the cheapest paper available
  2. Newsprint is thicker, meaning the Bible would be “fat” if printed normally
  3. Type-size is therefore reduced to some infinitesimal font size.

So basically, we’re talking about a hard to read Bible printed on cheap paper which fades after a few years.

To be fair, a few companies have tried a better paper stock, but this only resulted in the price going up, defeating their purpose.

I have two observations about these Bibles:

  1. I think that in some respect, these are Bibles churches give away to people that they’re not always sure they’re ever going to see again.
  2. I think that, at least in how it appears in 2018, this genre was developed by people who had little respect for the Bible to begin with.

The only way to avoid giving these away without breaking the church budget was to use pew Bibles (produced in mass quantities and therefore still quite affordable) as giveaway hardcover/textbook editions. But for some reason, people like the appearance of leather when choosing a Bible for giveaway. Also, if your church uses the same Bible edition in the pews, the “gift” can look like you just went into the sanctuary/auditorium and grabbed something off the rack to give away.

The good news is that many churches can afford to do better, and many publishers are now making this possible.

♦ The NLT Bible (Tyndale) introduced some “Premium Value Slimline” editions several years back including both regular print and large print, retailing at $15.99 and $20.99 respectively. (All prices USD.)

♦ Then the NIV (Zondervan) entered the race with their “Value Thinline” editions, again in two sizes at $14.99 and $19.99, with five different covers.

♦ Next, The Message (NavPress) created three “Deluxe Gift” editions in regular print at $15.99.

♦ Then, back to NIV for a minute, Zondervan upped the game by discontinuing their existing editions and replacing them with new ones using their new, much-easier-to-read Comfort Print font. Pricing stayed the same.

♦ Because of their expertise and success with the NIV product, HarperCollins Christian Publishing recently introduced the similar editions in NKJV, using the same Comfort Print font.

♦ Finally, ESV (Crossway) is also in the game, with “Value Thinline” and “Value Compact” editions. I have to be honest here. These are in no way up to the binding standard of the others, and frankly owe more to the old-school, aforementioned Gift and Award Bibles, albeit with better paper stock. The sleeve — from which the Bible is difficult to extract — claims this is “bonded leather” but in my opinion, that’s a stretch. While the others get an A+, I’d give the ESVs a D at best.

These Bibles look like something the church isn’t ashamed to give away, and the recipient is proud to own.

Further, for customers on a budget, there’s nothing stopping these from being purchased individually and becoming someone’s primary Bible.

Zombies and Exodus and Mess! Oh My!

I was not familiar with non-fiction author Danielle Strickland until this week. Fortunately, with the help of the internet, I learned that this Canadian author has written for Monarch, NavPress and IVP (a rather impressive list) and in addition to 2014’s A Beautiful Mess had two books issued in 2017, The Zombie Gospel: The Walking Dead and What it Means to Be Human, and The Ultimate Exodus: Finding Freedom from What Enslaves You.

On Twitter she calls herself an author, speaker and social justice advocate. According to the biography on her website,

Danielle Strickland is currently based in Toronto, Canada. Danielle loves Jesus and she loves people.  Her aggressive compassion has loved people firsthand in countries all over the world where she has embraced, learned, cared, evangelized, taught, and exhorted individuals and crowds to surrender to the boundless love of Jesus.

Danielle is the author of 5 books… She is host of DJStrickland Podcast, ambassador for Compassion International and stop the traffik. Co-founder of Infinitum, Amplify Peace and The Brave Campaign. Danielle is a mom of 3, wife to @stephencourt and has been affectionately called the “ambassador of fun”.

Her denominational background is Salvation Army and her husband, Stephen Court, is also a writer who has done three books about the organization’s history, and prolific SA blogger.

In July of last year she released The Ultimate Exodus. A page at NavPress explains the title:

God didn’t just say to Pharaoh, “Let my people go!” He also said to the Israelites—and He says to us—“Let go of what enslaves you, and follow me to freedom.”

The Ultimate Exodus opens our eyes to the things that enslave us, and it sets us on the path of our own exodus. Danielle Strickland revisits the story of the Exodus to see what we can learn from a people who were slaves and who learned from God what it means to be free. We discover as we go that deliverance goes much deeper than our circumstances. God uproots us from the things we have become slaves to, and He takes us on a long walk to the freedom He created us to enjoy.     (ISBN 978-1-63146-647-2)

A page at IVP describers her unauthorized look at a hit television show, released in October:

What can zombies teach us about the gospel?

The hit show The Walking Dead is set in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by mindless zombies. The characters have one goal: survive at all costs. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much the show can teach us about God or ourselves. Or is there?

Author and speaker Danielle Strickland didn’t expect to be drawn to a show about zombies, but she was surprised by the spiritual themes the show considers. In The Zombie Gospel she explores the ways that The Walking Dead can help us think about survival, community, consumerism, social justice, and the resurrection life of Jesus. After all, in the gospel God raises up a new humanity—a humanity resuscitated and reanimated by the new life of the Holy Spirit.   (978-0-8308-4389-3)

Update (April 28): I just heard Danielle give the first of three weekend sermons at Willow Creek (willowcreek.tv) and she is a most powerful, gifted speaker. I hope you get an opportunity to hear her.

 

 

 

 

Foundation Shipping Product for Which it Has No Canadian Rights

On Thursday, February 1st, I accidentally miscopied an ISBN into a Foundation pending order file which was intended to go into a HarperCollins pending order file.

The item I wanted from Foundation Distribution was an NIV Life Application Bible in hardcover. (They own the rights to the hardcover, Zondervan does the leather editions.) Instead, I copied the number for the NIV Listener’s Bible, a $99 product audio product.

So my order actually read:

1 9780310444343 Life Application Hardcover

the ISBN and description not even matching.

Back in the day, when I worked for InterVaristy Press Canada, and later for the Canadian Bible Society, and finally when I worked for CMC Distribution (with fulfillment from Beacon Distributing/David C. Cook) when a customer placed an order like this, it would appear on the customer’s invoice with the notion “NOP” which stands for “Not Our Product.” As someone who has also been a wholesale customer in this industry for 43 years, I also know this as the correct way to handle this.

Or make a phone call to clarify the order.

That’s the proper way to do things.

That’s the type of principle which guided our industry for years.

That isn’t what happened here.

Foundation filled the order. That’s right. They filled the order for a $99 item for which they have no Canadian rights to do so with complete disregard to industry protocol.

Has anyone else had something like this happen?

Furthermore, I did obtain the product from HarperCollins, and at my non-returnable discount, not 40%. I would never buy Thomas Nelson or Zondervan product from Foundation.

For years, Foundation Distributing, which distributes product for Tyndale House, NavPress, Standard Publishing, P. Graham Dunn and Christian Art Gifts has been in the habit of buying large quantities of HarperCollins — usually Zondervan — product from liquidators such as Book Depot, and including those titles in its marketing catalogues. But those products are sold to dealers at a discounted price.

This is the first time we’ve had tangible, physical evidence of the company selling a HarperCollins frontlist title as if it’s their own. I now have proof. There are simply too many steps that need to be taken to obtain this product for this to happen accidentally. There is no excuse. Foundation owns stores, but the ISBN number shouldn’t exist in their wholesale system.

I know many reading this are good friends with the management of Foundation. I am not. I have never been. Either way, someone needs to call this out for what it is, the desperate act of a company so hungry for sales that it’s prepared to sacrifice all moral authority to do so, even to the point of stealing sales from HarperCollins. This is the action of a company which is, as I have been saying privately for years, indulges in practices which are difficult to justify ethically.

One should expect better of the leadership in our industry.

Furthermore, can you imagine their reaction if Parasource started selling Tyndale product? Do you think they would stand for that for even a minute?

The invoice was not marked sales final.

UPDATE: We got a return authorization, though no apology or explanation. Now I want to know how widespread this is, how many other stores who are friends of FDI are getting their HCCP product through them. I cannot accept this was a one-off event, only that they picked the wrong guy.

UPDATE from HCCP: We had a follow-up discussion with HCCP in Nashville on Friday (23rd) and while this situation is considered unusual to them, it’s not exactly a crime in progress from their perspective. They’re making a sale either way. So you and I may see this occur in the future. Hopefully FDI would inform the store that it’s not a regular wholesale item but they’ll get it if there’s a need and let them know it will take longer than if they ordered direct. That’s just the decent thing to do. And of course in our case, it was mis-matched ISBN, so there should have been contact. I still think that unusual is an understatement. To me, it’s wrong, but if the affected party isn’t as offended as I am, then I don’t know what to say. I was simply looking out for HCCP’s best interests and they certainly appreciate this. I also think it’s important that companies don’t get so hungry for sales that they act in desperation.

Eight Years Ago: The R. G. Mitchell Meltdown

mitchell-meltdown

mitchell-meltdown-book-shop-talk

mitchell-meltdown-retail-impact

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.

The Message 100: A New Reading Plan, A Different Chronological Approach

We live at a time when Bible publishers have offered us a degree of choices and formats that previous generations would never have imagined. Different editions compete both in terms of brand identification and in their desire to readers engaged in the scriptures.

The Message 100The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence takes the complete text of Eugene Peterson’s version of the Bible and divides it into 100 readings and although the reader is encouraged to go at their own pace, this means that one could read this Bible in 100 days, an acceleration of the usual “read the Bible in a year” type of approach.

Starting in Genesis, I decided to time myself with the first section and clocked in at 26 minutes, though I may have rushed the two genealogies. Still, at less than a half hour, and with only 99 readings left, I was impressed that day how easily this pace of reading the whole Bible might be accomplished.

Because the publisher of The Message, NavPress has merged their marketing and distribution with Tyndale (publisher of the NLT) I was a little wary that this new Message might follow the One Year Bible format which scrambles the text considerably.

Instead, The Message 100 keeps whole books of the Bible fully intact, the First and Second Testaments are completely separated, and the first 30 sections follow the traditional sequence. After that, all bets are off: The minor prophets are co-mingled with books of history, and the wisdom literature is placed at the very end with Psalms wrapping up the 79 OT sections, reminiscent of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) where Prophets come before Writings.

The New Testament begins with the synoptic gospels, then Acts, then the letters (epistles) in a more accurate chronological sequence, not the sorting-by-length with which we are familiar. The writings of John, including his gospel, concludes the 21 NT sections.

The Message 100 also contains a short introduction by Bono — himself quite familiar with the version — which makes it an instant collector’s item for U2 fans.


Connect to the full text of Bono’s intro at fellow-blogger Dave Wainscott’s review.

The Message 100 is 1,808 pages, available in both paperback and hardcover editions, with a North American release date of Tuesday, October 15th.

I know the One-Year Bibles and One-Year Book of… series are very popular in some areas, but in the three cities where we’ve operated bookstores, we’ve never experienced customer appreciation for this particular genre.

Canada’s Don Pape Joins NavPress as Publisher

Christian Retailing Magazine reported this week that Canadian Don Pape would be joining NavPress as Publisher, a position he has held previously at Waterbrook, Random House, and more recently David C. Cook where he was also Vice President of Trade Publishing.

Don PapeDon was born in Brazil and after moving to Canada received a BA from Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo before working with Women Alive, a Canadian charity founded by Nell Maxwell. In 1999 he went to Waterbrook/Multnomah where he stayed until 2004, leaving to work two years with Alive Communications, a literary agency whose A-list roster today includes Terri Blackstock, Emerson Eggerichs, Karen Kingsbury, Anne Graham Lotz, Eugene Peterson, Philip Yancey and Billy Graham. In 2006 he moved to David C. Cook. He has published five titles which reached the New York Times list. Alive Communications, Cook, and NavPress are all located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Recently, NavPress signed a marketing, warehousing and fulfillment deal with Tyndale House Publishing of Carol Stream, Illinois.

Tyndale to Assume Industry Services for NavPress

While I don’t normally duplicate stories that are carried at Christian Retailing, I’ve had a number of emails and other off-the-blog comments about a story late in the week concerning the announcement that Tyndale Publishing House is going to provide marketing and fulfilment services for NavPress. The decision means that twenty-two of twenty-nine employees — or 75% of the staff — at NavPress have had their positions terminated. Publisher’s Weekly carried while Christianity Today linked the story to 40 layoffs at another Colorado Springs employer, Focus on the Family.

In a world of mergers and acquisitions, Tyndale can offer NavPress, a ministry of The Navigators a greater efficiency brought about by economy of scale. But in many ways, it reduces NavPress to a type of virtual publisher. Nav offers Tyndale access to Bible study material the latter has never had. It also means greater synergy for Bible sales, as NavPress has The Message while Tyndale is home to the New Living Translation. Both represent the leading edge of more modern Bible translation. NavPress continues to retain its autonomy and ownership of its catalog.

The CR article cites “Tyndale’s well-regarded marketing prowess, sales talent and operating platform.” The CT article notes that NavPress, “closed two magazines and laid off nine employees in 2009.” All the articles, including PW, noted that “This kind of alliance is part of Tyndale’s history. For 20 years, it has had a similar partnership with Focus on the Family, another Colorado Springs-based ministry organization”

The first product shipment under the new arrangement will commence with the Summer 2014 quarter’s titles.  Conveniently, both publishers are represented in Canada by Foundation Distributing in Orono, Ontario.

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When Suppliers Aren’t Onboard With The Mission

February 6, 2010 1 comment

Yesterday around noon, a customer came in our store looking for the NLT Sanctuary Bible.   We had just sold one the day before, but I quickly realized that as I live about 20 minutes from the Canadian supplier for Tyndale, and as I was going to be there in just over one hour, this could work out well for the customer.

I love it when things like this come together.  The convergence of a customer’s need and our personal circumstances represent the best of what we’re all about as a ministry.    It makes me feel like we have the opportunity to do something good for someone.   A quick phone call revealed they had five copies in stock.    She had a friend who was also interested, and I’d also need one for stock, but I really only needed the one right away.

They wouldn’t do it.

The order entry person I spoke with made it clear they no longer do this type of rush orders.    One hour was not long enough to print a packing slip, pick the item, scan it out, and toss it in a box (or even a bag; it was a pickup anyway.)   The bureaucracy has become too unwieldy.   The concept has become lost in their corporate culture.

They wouldn’t do it.

I spent the next 15 minutes on the phone with some of our other staff venting my frustration; and then I remembered:  They weren’t refusing me; they weren’t refusing the customer; they were refusing Jesus.

Seriously.   Check it out:

NIV – Matthew 25: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

Why We Can’t Let Tyndale and NavPress Win This Fight

Most Canadian Christian stores know that our book prices have to be constantly adjusted to be equivalent with the U.S. price, but have no understanding as to why this is this the case.   The reason is simple:  Authors have literary agents and these literary agents are trained as lawyers.   Many years ago they insisted on changing contracts which had read “…XX percent royalty on the U.S. selling price on all sales within the United States;” to read “…XX percent royalty on the U.S. selling price on all sales within the United States and Canada.”

Or something like that.    Very few Christian distributors can pinpoint when the change actually happened or why exactly.    Even though we are a distinct country and even though we do enjoy the occasional ITPE (International Trade Paperback Edition) and even though several years ago Word Canada (when it was in Vancouver) was allowed to bring in British paperbacks of several hardcover commentary series; the point is that legally we and the U.S. are one single entity as far as publisher contracts and author royalties are concerned.    There is no distinction between Canada and the United States and if someone were to dare to challenge any restrictions on fair distribution in Canada — through a class action lawsuit for example — the weight of law is clearly on our side.    American publishers can’t — even without free trade issues entering into this — treat its domestic market as distinct, but then demand the same royalties in the “foreign” market that is Canada.    Which is it?   Are we foreign or domestic?    If we’re foreign, let’s set fixed prices for our books that conform to our own demand levels and price expectations.

Returning from Kentucky, we stopped at a Family Christian store there and discovered that there is a really good deal on right now for U.S. stores featuring fiction titles from NavPress and Tyndale.    Product regularly sold at $12.99 – $14.99 is on sale for $4.99 and $5.99.   Great titles.   New authors.   Excellent themes.   Superbly designed covers.

And none of it available here.   What gives?   We’re a first world customer when it comes to being charged the U.S. rate for the books, but a third world republic when it comes to getting some decent marketing incentives and programs.    Are Christian bookstore owners allowed to say that this leaves some of us somewhat ticked off?

Tyndale and NavPress:  You can’t have it both ways.    If you don’t give us the SuperSaver pricing and don’t want to introduce those authors here; then don’t expect us to buy them at full price, and don’t expect us to help you introduce any other new authors for that matter.    We’ve put up with your country’s pricing grid and had to do without the British paradigm to which we are more culturally aligned when it comes to consumer preference.    We don’t have the resources you have in your country to promote these authors, so give us a break.   Don’t think we’re not going to find out when you have SuperSavers running on your side of the border while extracting top dollar from us.

Zondervan:   Thanks for getting it right.   The fall fiction promotion has continued longer than we expected and is introducing new readers to authors like Robin Lee Hatcher and Jane Peart every single day.    A great price point and a free display to match.   Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Canadian bookstores:    Don’t let Tyndale and NavPress win on this.   Be a constant thorn in their flesh until they give us the same deals on both sides of the border; because legally, as far as their publisher agents are concerned, we are indeed the same country.

Postscript:   I am getting this “out there” at risk to my own relationship with these publishers.   I am going to receive threats that “If you don’t remove that article…;” etc., from the parties concerned.    Frankly, I don’t care.   There is a principle at issue here and it’s about time somebody stood up for principles instead of letting these publishers just walk all over us.     The default answer doesn’t always, always, always have to be “no.”

UPDATE:  Last week,  I received an “explanation” on this from a representative of the third party in this equation, who I deliberately decided not to mention.   The line of logic was so full of holes and so out of line with the way this works at Zondervan that I didn’t bother dignifying it with a reply.   But if you’re reading this, please know that I can update my Zondervan promotional display one unit at a time, and anyone knowing those ISBNs can order the same deal product, as little as a single unit, on both sides of the border.  Why does everything have to be an ‘all or nothing’ commitment?