As we said yesterday, there’s a real dearth of data available for stores that want to manually check their inventory to make sure they’re not missing something, or possibly not giving enough profile to a title that’s doing well elsewhere. Today we’re looking at Baker (the imprint, not the entire publishing group.)
Baker Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/6/17
- Grace is Greater – Kyle Idleman
- Replenish – Lance Witt
- Grieving with Hope: Finding Comfort as You Journey – various
- Simple Christianity – John MacArthur
- The Mystery – Lacey Sturm
- The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross – Arthur Pink
- Growing Young – Kara Powell
- Resolving Everyday Conflict – Ken Sande
- Forgiven and Set Free: Post-Abortion Bible Study – Linda Cochrane
- Good Faith – David Kinnaman
Baker Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/6/17 *
- Grace is Greater – Kyle Idleman
- Imagine Heaven – John Burke
- 50 People Every Christian Should Know – Warren Wiersbe
- Switch on Your Brain – Caroline Leaf
- Play the Man – Mark Batterson (preorders)
- A Visual Guide to Gospel Events – various (Baker Academic)
- The Invisible War – Chip Ingram
- Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling, 4th edition – David Kruis
- So What’s the Difference, updated and expanded – Fritz Ridenour
- The Real God – Chip Ingram
*trade book titles (not downloads) at 44% discount or less
It’s interesting that only the #1 title repeated on both lists; compared to yesterday’s where many were consistent between CBD and Ingram’s Spring Arbor demand list.
I often rant that given that the book industry is a subset of the larger entertainment business, our suppliers need to give us better information about what is selling in the form of charts. Since that’s not forthcoming anytime soon, I’ve taken it upon myself to do some Top Ten lists. For Ingram this is easy because you can go into “View Publisher’s Titles” and then rank them by Spring Arbor stores’ demand. With CBD, we simply eliminated all their downloads and high discount items (cutoff was 44%).
We’ll cover major publishers here, so Cook, Baker, Bethany House, Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, B&H, etc., as well as others you request by email. I think these lists can be more helpful than the full CBA list, because it can help in doing inventory checks or filling out orders. (I wish I’d done more of this while new year restock offers were in effect.)
David C. Cook Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/6/17
- The Action Bible
- Forgotten God – Francis Chan
- Jesus is Alive – Cuddle and Sing – Debby Anderson
- Action Bible New Testament
- Baby Bible Storybook for Girls
- Jesus Loves Me – Cuddle and Sing – Debby Anderson
- Crazy Love – Francis Chan
- Cold Case Christianity – J. Warner Wallace
- It Hurts to Lose a Special Person – Amy Ross Mumford
- The Picture Bible
David C. Cook Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/6/17
- Jesus is Alive – Debby Anderson
- Cold Case Christianity – J. Warner Wallace
- Bible Knowledge Commentary – Walvoord & Zuck (2 vol.)
- The End of Me – Kyle Idleman
- Jesus Loves Me – Debby Anderson
- Forgotten God – Francis Chan
- I am N – Voice of the Martyrs
- Forensic Faith – J. Warner Wallace (pre-orders)
- Living Crazy Love – Francis Chan (workbook)
- Sacred Search – Gary Thomas
A version of what I do at Thinking Out Loud just for you:
- The movie based on The Shack has been delayed.
- This spring three different books all have the same title, Unashamed
- Also, two different CDs have similar titles, Where the Light Gets In (Jason Gray) and Where the Light Shines Through (Switchfoot).
- LifeWay’s consumer blog launches its forthcoming fall preview, starting with Baker Books.
- Publisher’s Weekly has done a full overview of Christian Fiction.
- While only looking at a single author, this post claims Christian fiction is skewing toward darker themes.
- World Net Daily (WND) who publish books themselves, go on the attack against “rotten fruit” in the industry.*
*I’ll have some excerpts from this, plus a response I wrote to the author several days ago. Stay tuned.
In the past few weeks we saw two cases where an American owned Christian distributor was purchased by Canadians; David C. Cook Canada and Augsburg Fortress Canada. The new, combined company will doubtless be undergoing a name change over the next few weeks.
Today, we’re hearing of the reverse case, where a longstanding Winnipeg, MB distributor, Word Alive, has been purchased by Anchor Distributors of New Kensington, Pennyslvania. There are a number of reasons why this is significant.
First, in terms of independent distributor options available to Canadian stores, Anchor, Send the Light (STL) and Spring Arbor (Ingram) have been shipping to Canada to years, but Anchor never had a consolidated freight or pre-clearance system. Orders went out individually and stores had to pay hefty freight costs. Furthermore, Spring Arbor won’t export anything that isn’t a book, CD or DVD, which means that up until now, stores wishing to bring in ancillary items either got them from Send the Light or they didn’t at all. Importation of a variety of these items is a complicated process involving various harmonized codes and many countries of origin. Hopefully, that changes.
Second, the two companies have always been tied together doctrinally. They have carried similar publishers with a strong Charismatic and Pentecostal identity. While Charismatic books don’t drive the market as much as they did ten years ago, they are a necessity for stores selling to the Evangelical market.
Third, Anchor’s corporate association with Whitaker House hopefully means that Canadian stores will have frequent access to the Whitaker Bargain Books line without the aforementioned high shipping costs.
Fourth, the last point means that both companies have been involved in the publishing side of the business. Word Alive Press is home to many top Canadian Christian authors. Is it part of the sale? [See update below] Publishing is federally regulated and historically, in the name of cultural sovereignty, the Canadian government is loathe to let publishers here fall into American hands. It’s possible that division may need to spin-off in order to maintain a separate identity, but if Canadian authors are hearing about the deal, it sounds like a win with higher visibility of our authors. [See update below]
Finally, it’s an affirmation of our Canadian Christian market; showing that while two U.S. parent companies decided to divest themselves of holdings here, another U.S. business is saying that we’re worth the investment.
UPDATE 5/19 8:00 PM: Word Alive Press authors have been notified of the sale and the positive and an announcement has been posted on their blog. Here is portion of that announcement:
Word Alive Press itself is not part of the Anchor purchase. We remain a Canadian-owned publishing company, proudly serving the Christian book market in Canada and abroad. Our vision has always been to find and develop a base of Canadian authors who, through their stories and God-given talents, will teach, equip, entertain, influence, and ultimately extend the impact of the Kingdom of God in Canada. We are excited about this vision and now see an even brighter future for our authors to influence people beyond our borders.
This is a win-win for authors. The publishing stays Canadian owned and controlled but artists reap the full benefit of the enhanced U.S. distribution.
I’m reading an advance copy of a book right now that is certain to receive a good review on my other blog. I can think of various people I know who would enjoy reading this.
I’m not going to carry it in my store.
The reason — and I know I sound like the proverbial broken record — is that the first edition released in hardcover and this publisher chooses not to include Canada in the list of countries which get the international trade paperback edition (ITPE).
Canada is not the United States. I know that sounds obvious, but American publishers are oblivious. Here are some things they need to keep in mind:
- Evangelical titles are never going to do as well here. For example, while the U.S. is religiously about 25% Catholic, Canada is about 50% Roman Catholic. But the number of people who would claim no religion at all is also much higher.
- Canadians are not as free-spending as their U.S. counterparts. In economic terms, the velocity of money here is much slower.
- Canadians are also much more price conscious. Go too much higher than the pricing sweet spot for a book, and you’ve lost the sale.
- Canadian Christians are much slower to accept new authors, new concepts and new trends in the Church. The “buy-in” is harder to achieve, takes time, and is never as great.
- Churches here are smaller. While about 25% of U.S. churches have less than a hundred adults present on a Sunday morning, in Canada it’s closer to 50%.
These factors — and others — combine to the point that when it comes to publishing culture, we’re more aligned with the consumer mindset in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
So publishers, your books are not going to do as well proportionately here as in the U.S. We offer you 1/10th of the population, but probably you’ll achieve about 1/20th or even 1/30th of your U.S. sales in this country.
However, when a year passes and you’re ready to do a trade paperback conversion (TPC) release, you’ll find you’ve lost momentum on the titles. The reviews, the social media, the buzz, etc., have all faded from view and from memory. Furthermore, you won’t get the spillover effect from people who bought the hardcovers, because they didn’t purchase them here.
Look publishers, you already print the ITPE editions. We go on the websites for Koorong in Australia and Eden Books in the UK and we know they exist.
Publishing marketers, are you allowed to do your job, or do you let literary agents call the shots? You need to stand up to them and tell them to allow the ITPEs in Canada.
Until this changes, you’re killing the exposure of your authors here. Waterbrook / Random House, Howard / Simon & Schuster, FaithWords / Hachette Book Group … this means you!
There was an element in this story’s first draft that I left out, but decided to return it here. If Dave Ramsey really wants to help people with their finances — and his appeal is to people who have reached some time of monetary crisis — the first thing he can do is release his books in paperback. That books like his signature Total Money Makeover and the new bestseller Smart Money, Smart Kids are sold at the price they are tells me that Ramsey is only concerned with helping himself with his finances. Unless something turns up on a remainder list, we don’t carry his clothbound titles.
While some of these titles may be a tough sell in the more Evangelically-oriented Christian bookstore market, here’s the 411 on a new imprint from the other religious division at HarperCollins from a newly-created website.
HarperElixir books, handpicked with purpose and intent, are selected specially for you—those who are spiritual, magical, compassionate, and curious, those who want to find truth, meaning, miracles, discover the mysteries, and answer the call to go deeper and to find answers to fundamental questions: What is my purpose? Where am I going? How can I have more meaning in my life and relationships?
The HarperElixir team is dedicated to publishing books that celebrate the essence of the human spirit from ancient wisdom to modern life; that explore the wonders of the universe within and without, and that offer new pathways for healing and transformation.
The website suggests that initial offerings will fall into one of three categories: Religion/Spirituality, Health and Business.
We featured this story on the Wednesday Link List today at Thinking Out Loud, but thought we’d share it here, too. Publishers Weekly noted six religious titles that are coming to the big screen. Click here to read the story at source, with book images and more details.
- The Masked Saint – from a 2009 book not distributed in Canada, this was featured on the cover of The Christian Herald, a Christian newspaper distributed throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Releasing this month.
- Miracles from Heaven – based on a 2014 near-death-experience inspirational title by Christy Wilson Beam from Hachette. Book releases late February, March release for the film.
- God’s Not Dead 2 – Based on Rice Broock’s Man, Myth, Messiah: Answering History’s Greatest Question releasing from Thomas Nelson on March 1st, one month before the movie’s April 1st release.
- Same Kind of Different as Me – Based on the 2006 Thomas Nelson book of the same name by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. End of April release.
- Silence – Based on a 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo, you’ll have to click through to see the connection here to IVP. May release.
- Ben Hur – The August, 2016 release of this story features actors Morgan Freeman and Jack Huston and ties in with a book reissue from Tyndale.
HarperOne is releasing three titles by Henri Nouwen in paperback on March 10th. Nouwen does well in the Canadian market — there is a strong Toronto connection — though initial releases in hardcover often temper sales in what is a price-conscious market.
For the unfamiliar, it’s pronounced ‘NOW-in.’ I don’t need to tell most of you that. But many people don’t know his story, so you might want to take a minute to read about him, though his Wikipedia article is far too brief. In short: A theology academic who gave it up to live a life of service that most people reading this would consider far too menial. (Here’s a link to a 2011 article I did consisting of quotations from Henri Nouwen.)
These titles are available for pre-order at $16.99 US:
Although approaching this from a different perspective than that we might take as booksellers, it’s interesting to see how Mike Leake frames the problem with the realistic plight of Sam, a young man looking for answers:
“Maybe there really is a God.”
Young Sam has had this nagging sense in his heart for a few weeks now. But he’s always been an intellectual, so he’s not the type of guy that just goes on feelings. So he does what he always has done when he wants to find the answer to something—he goes to his local library.
This time he’s going to study the claims of Christianity against the claims of new atheism. He’s a little more familiar with what the new atheists teach. But he figures he had better check the books out anyways. It’s a familiar section for him and so he quickly pulls some of the more popular books off the shelf. He loads Harris, Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and a couple others onto his arms.
Next he finds himself in a rather unfamiliar territory—the somewhat scant section in the library on Christianity. A few faces seem familiar—these are guys that he’s seen on television, so he figures they must be the best representatives.
On top of his books on New Atheism he’s loading himself down with books by Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, another book called the idiots guide to Christianity, a book written by one of the popes, and a book about the history of Christianity.
Christianity doesn’t stand a chance.
No Fault of the Library
This is not the fault of the librarian. She picks books based upon bestseller lists, professional reviews, and requests from patrons.
The books that are most popular in Christianity (sadly) are usually not intellectual or scholarly treatments. Truthfully they are more akin to self-help books than anything to do with the gospel. But most librarians don’t know this. They often have meager budgets and so if they are going to stock something in the non-fiction section then they need to be sure that its something that will be checked out. If Joel Osteen is a best-seller then it’s a pretty safe bet that somebody will want to read it.
But none of this bodes well for people like Sam trying to learn the truth about Christianity. We need to help our librarians and young learners like Sam at least be able to give the gospel a fair shake…
[…continue reading at Borrowed Light…]
The disconnect between what’s in your local library and what’s in your local Christian bookstore is always a nagging question. It’s the same question that plagues the Canadian market where stores like Chapters or Indigo don’t stock Christian bestsellers as do their counterparts at Barnes & Noble. Consequently, there are no filters for what constitutes entry into the “religion” section and customers might get seriously sidetracked into books that are cultic or not even Christian at all.