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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.)

Top Ten Books – Part Four – Tyndale House

Are you enjoying this series? I hope so. Lists like this represent a very brief snapshot however. You always need to know the time frame by which the list is compiled. On Ingram’s Bestseller page, you’re seeing the one day before. It’s a great look at the Top 100 in real time. But on their Top Demand page, you’re seeing “a rolling 12-month period.” I suspect CBD’s listings are being constantly updated in real time.

Today’s publisher is the iconic, independent Tyndale House Publishers.

Tyndale House Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/11/17 *

  1. Without Warning – Joel Rosenberg **
  2. A Child’s First Bible – Kenneth Taylor
  3. Kingdom Woman – Tony Evans
  4. The Four Seasons of Marriage – Gary Chapman
  5. Heaven – Randy Alcorn
  6. A Tale of Three Kings – Gene Edwards
  7. Ready to Wed – Gary Smalley
  8. Jesus on Leadership – Gene Wilkes
  9. War Room – Chris Farby
  10. Land of Silence – Tessa Afshar

*Spring Arbor demand list; excluding study guides, mass markets and Bibles. On Ingram list, Tale of Three Kings was #1, followed by Without Warning, Child’s First Bible, The First Hostage (Rosenberg) and Kingdom Woman. Sometimes the lists are closely similar while other times they diverge greatly.

**Title is hardcover in the U.S.

Tyndale House Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/11/17 *

  1. Without Warning – Joel Rosenberg**
  2. Deep Extraction – DiAnn Mills
  3. Heaven – Randy Alcorn
  4. The Coming Apostasy – Mark Hitchcock + Jeff Kinley
  5. One Year Book of Devotions for Boys
  6. Life Recovery Workbook
  7. Maybe It’s You – Candace Calvert
  8. Bread of Angels – Tessa Afshar
  9. Sisters of Sugar Creek – Cathy Liggett
  10. Counter Culture – David Platt

*Excluding discount product, study guides, mass markets, audio products and Bibles. On a search for Tyndale Kids, the #1 title is One Year Book of Real Life Encounters With God (2003) followed by a number of OYB children’s titles.

**Title is hardcover in the U.S.

Top Ten Books – Part Three – Zondervan

We’re continuing to explore two different types of Top Ten lists. Our goal is to feature standard trade paperbacks and hardcovers. We probably wouldn’t be doing this series if publisher websites were more forthcoming about bestsellers and had a separate section for new releases. As it stands, they are mostly selling what’s new, which is why the CBD and Spring Arbor lists provide a healthy balance. In both of the first two lists below there are three (different) titles which I’ve never stocked.

Zondervan Top Ten at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/9/17 *

  1. Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? – Rick Warren
  2. The Broken Way – Ann Voskamp *
  3. The 21 Day Financial Fast – Michelle Singletary
  4. The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel
  5. Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family – Kara Powell
  6. Christian Beliefs: 20 Basics Every Christian Should Know – Wayne Grudem
  7. Boundaries – Cloud and Townsend
  8. If I’m Found – Terri Blackstock
  9. Unglued – Lysa TerKeurst
  10. No More Faking Fine – Esther Fleece

*US edition is hardcover. List omitted Bibles, video, low price, and curriculum study guides. Item 10 here is actually #25 when all are included.

Zondervan Top Ten trade titles at CBD – accessed 4/9/17 *

  1. Keep It Shut – Karen Ehman
  2. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – Nabeel Qureshi
  3. If I’m Found – Terri Blackstock
  4. No God But One – Nabeel Qureshi
  5. The Broken Way – Ann Voskamp *
  6. Upon a Spring Breeze – Kelly Irvin
  7. Who Made God? – Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler
  8. Listen, Love, Repeat – Karen Ehman
  9. Let’s Be Real – Natasha Bure (pre-orders)
  10. Made to Crave – Lisa TerKeurst

*US edition is hardcover. List omitted Bibles, video, low price point (Case for Christ mass market would have been #3) and curriculum items; as well as a very large number of items CBD currently has on sale at discounts higher than our cutoff which is 44%. (We consider many of their 45+% titles to be blowouts, and their $5 price point to be unfair competition.) Item 10 here is actually #63 on their full list, but their listings are skewed with so many specials.

Zonderkidz Top Five at Spring Arbor – accessed 4/9/17 *

  1. Beginner Bible
  2. Jesus Storybook Bible
  3. Case for Christ for Kids
  4. Tiny Bears Bible
  5. Little One, God Made You Special (board bk)

*Does not include low price items, Bibles, high discount items and a very large number of Beranstain Bears!

Zonderkidz Top Five at CBD – accessed 4/9/17 *

  1. Jesus Storybook Bible
  2. Found – Sally Lloyd Jones
  3. The Ultimate Boys Book of Devotions
  4. Jesus Storybook Bible (new padded cover deluxe edition)
  5. Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing – Sally Lloyd Jones

*Does not include low price items, Bibles, high discount items and a very large number of Berenstain Bears! Item 5 here is actually #45 on their list.

I wonder if anyone ever interviewed Jan and Mike Berenstain and asked, “So, how did the bear family get their name?”

 

 

Checking out the Competition

I try to get to Chapters at least once every 60 days. I think it’s important to track the titles that our suppliers are recommending to them. Things have improved there greatly. While we’ve written about the problem some customers could experience because there are not the same filters as one finds in a Christian store, and about the discernment customers need to have in that environment; though things are definitely improving.

Three things dominated at Chapters’ store in Markham.

One was the new packaging of the KJV Bibles. I suppose that if there’s one market where I would not want to encourage KJV purchases, it would be selling the most difficult-to-read translation to a broad cross-section of consumers. Wouldn’t it be better to steer customers in the general marketplace toward the NLT, Message or NIV? However, I got thinking about this more and decided that Chapters stores probably have a strong market demand for KJV that most of us neither understand nor experience in our stores.

Second, was the shelf of Joyce Meyer titles, which I suspect do well there:

Third, and not surprising was the C. S. Lewis collection. I liked the uniform look of the HarperOne covers and saw a few things I need to add to my own store.

Word Alive / Anchor Distribution System Lacks Christian Integrity

It always amazes me when dealers here simply laugh or change the subject when the subject of Anchor/Word Alive is mentioned. Everyone is beyond frustration, but most are unwilling to go on the record because we’re Christian stores and we’re Canadian and so we have two reasons to be extra polite. But let’s face it: Their system is set up so completely contrary to Standard Account Principles (SAP) and (today’s topic) standard methods of order processing that really, they are undermining the success of Christian bookstores.

One of the many, many problems — and we won’t even get into the joke that is their new website — is that you can’t build an order cart you don’t plan to clear through within 24-48 hours. Let me say that again in case I’m not clear: You can’t add to cart in the way you do with your other vendors. In their system, add to cart works as though it physically removes the product. No one else can touch it at that point, unless you default on your order. On the plus side, if you do complete the order, no one can shop product ‘out’ of your cart. (The best example of that, with which many of you are familiar, would be Book Depot.)

However — and this is a big however — it also means that when your backorders come up, they can also be shopped out. Do they remain on backorder when this happens? Who is prepared to answer that question? Not anyone who you try to get to address this, that’s for sure. And their left hand (Manitoba) clearly doesn’t know what their right hand (Pennsylvania) is doing. And vice versa.

Small, small case in point. We ordered the movie I’m Not Ashamed by PureFlix Entertainment. (We’ll leave aside here the whole other discussion about what PureFlix has cooked up with 100 Huntley Street to further undermine our DVD sales.) We actually placed two small order, one on January 11th and one on February 6th. We can’t buy these from their regular stock because of pricing issues, so we’re purchasing from the stock marked Canadian Sales Only. (We’ve asked if they can simply move a few copies from the regular shelf to the Canadian-designated shelf to get us off their backs. No response. Correspondence ignored.)

On Thursday at 5:40 PM — we had already closed — we were notified they were ready to ship. We couldn’t do the order on Friday so today, before noon we placed our order. Guess what? The product has vanished! Once again. Let me be totally honest here, I have reached the point of giving up trying to be polite. My customers are waiting. I am trying to be their advocate to watch this movie. (I don’t even want to watch it myself anymore, nor do I wish to cooperate with any future PureFlix releases.)

What this also means is this: Some store(s) which purchased this product spontaneously on Friday were able to get copies which were supposedly on hold for me without having to having to wait. Sorry, but if that’s your store, you jumped the line. You’re the person at the grocery store who simply walks to the front of the line and cuts in ahead of everyone else. But it’s not your fault. It’s Word Alive’s fault. It’s Anchor’s fault. And for the customers we may have notified on the weekend that their product was on the way, who we now have to tell that it’s not on the way, it just sucks.

This is a deplorable way to run a company. There ought to be laws. Perhaps there are, actually if you can make the case that this constitutes unfair trade practices. You might have to prove it was done to give preferential treatment to other dealers. But you might not. It might be sufficient to argue in court that Anchor simply acted unfairly in their dealings with their accounts. 

Furthermore, as Christians should not be aiming for excellence? Should we not wish to attain the highest standards?

I am filing a formal complaint with PureFlix on behalf of dealers here. We’re just in the process of framing who will formally receive that letter.

Publishers and media companies: We have two other independent distributors in Canada who are worthy of distributing your fine products: Parasource and Foundation. On their very worst days they will do a better job for you than Anchor/Word Alive.

Local Charts Help Customers See What’s Popular at Your Store

This is what’s selling at my store currently. We have a formula to adjust — but not exclude — special order titles as well as some adjustments for children’s titles and some compensation for projecting future sales on newer releases. Our chart is probably different from yours — we’re missing the #1 title on the current CBA list — but that’s what makes each of our local stores different. Our customers look forward to these when we publish them. If you have one from your store, we’d love to share it here.

searchlight-chart-spring-2017

Babylon Bee Spoofs Our Glorious Industry

For those who’ve been asleep most of the year, The Babylon Bee is a relatively recent arrival to the Christian satire genre which has taken the Evangelical world by storm with its uncanny insights into our wonderful subculture. Normally we wouldn’t re-blog an entire article here (we’d leave crime like that for our other blogs, Thinking Out Loud and Christianity 201) but (a) this time it’s our corner of the world — Christian publishing — in the spotlight and (b) you guys are gonna play nice and click the title link below to read this at source. Not here. Why are you still reading?

Of all the top book lists you read this month, this is definitely going to be one of them.

Top Ten Books Of 2016

It’s the end of the year already, and that means it’s time to count down the very best books of 2016.

Using The Babylon Bee‘s proprietary book analysis algorithm, we managed to cut through the chaff of the millions of terrible books released this year, with only the elect few making our definitive, authoritative top ten

10.) We Can’t Dance If We Want To: Living In Holiness — John MacArthur: MacArthur excellently builds a scriptural case against rhythmic movements of any kind, especially in church. Readers will leave this book with a renewed sense of reverence, and a fear of taking their hands out of their pockets for any reason.

9.) ? — Rob Bell: “I was thinking about what I wanted my new book to convey,” Bell said thoughtfully in a short YouTube video designed to promote the May release of New York Times bestseller ?. “And it suddenly hit me—I really have no idea. I mean, about anything.” This masterful work features thousands of question marks arranged on each page in no discernible order, as well as several chapters written in Sanskrit.

bee-top-book-list-image-9

8.) Royalty Checks Are For Real — Todd Burpo: Burpo’s inspirational work will encourage your faith that six, even seven-figure book deals aren’t just fantasy—they’re very, very real. A gripping read from start to finish.

7.) Hyphenating To The Glory Of God — John Piper: Piper focuses with white-hot, laser-like intensity on, as he puts it, “the all-other-punctuation-mark-surpassing splendor” of the hyphen. Soul-stirring and paradigm-shattering, you should not miss this all-too-important, not-exactly-like-his-usual-books-but-still-vintage-John-Piper work.

bee-top-book-list-image-7

6.) Worldview: The Worldview: Worldview Edition — Al Mohler: Al Mohler is right in his wheelhouse when writing about worldviews, and his latest work, Worldview: The Worldview: Worldview Edition is an excellent guide to worldviews and the worldviews that view them in the world.

5.) The Case for Calzones — Lee Strobel: While Strobel is known for his work in layman-level apologetics, few people are aware that Strobel is also a passionate apologist for Italian folded pizzas. In The Case for Calzones, Strobel flawlessly defends the dish while remaining highly readable. The book is peppered with witty anecdotes and lively interviews with top food experts from around the world.

bee-top-book-list-image-5

4.) I Just Can’t Even With The Proper Doctrine You Guys — Jen Hatmaker: Encouraging readers to think of the book as “a big squishy hug,” Hatmaker uses her trademark conversational writing style to admonish all of us to “just be real, you know, and be true to our feelings, especially with things like theology and doctrine and I just can’t even.” A real page-turner.

3.) The Purpose Driven Ferret — Rick Warren: While fans of the Purpose Driven series have hundreds of variants to choose from, Rick Warren may have outdone himself with this special edition of The Purpose Driven Life, written exclusively for the close cousin of the polecat. Your ferret will love learning how to fulfill its God-given purpose as Warren masterfully uses over 250 different translations of the Bible to drive home his point.

bee-top-book-list-image-3

2.) Get Out Of Debt By Selling Millions Of Books — Dave Ramsey: Financial guru Dave Ramsey shows Christians how to pay off debt, put money in the bank, and live happily ever after. His plan includes detailed steps on how to get people to buy millions of your books that mostly say the same thing, so you’ll become a millionaire too. Just don’t buy this one on a credit card!

1.) Whatever Tim Keller wrote, probably: Honestly, we didn’t read any Tim Keller books this year. But we’re sure that whatever he wrote was pretty good. So the number 1 book of the year is whatever he wrote. Pick your favorite and put it in this slot. Congratulations, Tim!

Honorable Mentions:
Radical, Bro — David Platt
Rolling Around In The Mud And Shooting Stuff For Jesus — John Eldredge
Jesus Snapchatting — Sarah Young

There you have it. What were your favorite books of the year? Let us know by saying them out loud to your computer screen.


For more publishing related satire from The Babylon Bee, click this link.

Worldwide Shortage of Book Titles Continues

September 13, 2016 1 comment

It sounds like a headline from Christian news satire site, The Babylon Bee, but the reality, as first reported here several weeks ago, has been noticed by Christianity Today at this article. There really are three books in current release with the same title, Unashamed.

unashamed

img-091316The confusion continues this month as the 2008 title about surviving an affair, Torn Asunder by Moody Press is being joined by a 2016 title from Eerdmans on helping children survive divorce.

Or is it? It was due out the first week in August. CBD doesn’t list the Eerdmans title, but Ingram does as well as the publisher website. But unlike the Unashamed confusion, this one is an academic book, publishing at $34.00 and probably won’t be stocked in too many retail outlets…

…Most retailers can handle books with similar or same titles. A bigger challenge comes when old books are released under new titles. Go to the popular online Christian book site and type “previously published as” (and its variants) and you’ll see just a few of these.

October’s Great Day, Every Day by Max Lucado is a reissue of Every Day Deserves a Second Chance. The original, despite the bright yellow cover, never reached its full potential in the market and turned up on overstock and remainder lists for several years. But I suppose every book deserves a second chance.

(Couldn’t resist.)


upper image: Christianity Today


Previously noted here in May: Two different CDs have similar titles, Where the Light Gets In (Jason Gray) and Where the Light Shines Through (Switchfoot).

Will the Jesus Calling Magic Happen Again?

jesus-alwaysOnly about three weeks away from releasing, HarperCollins Christian Publishing is deeply committed to the official follow up to Jesus Calling with an unprecedented one million copy first printing for Jesus Always by Sarah Young.

In our store, initial acceptance of the first title was slow. We monitored the U.S. statistics but weren’t seeing anything like what transpired there. Of course, conservative Evangelicals chose to keep their distance from this one because the format was different.

We posted something to Facebook to see if we could get a clear guesstimate of what the initial interest will be. There hasn’t been a lot of discussion about it so far, but it tends to be customers more on the periphery who gravitate to this. Our regular customers aren’t fans. 

But don’t hedge your bets on this too long. It may be a million copy printing, but there are many different markets competing for those copies: Gift stores, airport newsstands, mainstream book market retailers, big box stores; just to name a few.

Augsburg-Fortress Has New Name in the U.S.

With its Canadian division now spun off as half of the Cook/Augsburg company, yesterday word that the U.S. company has a new name. Publisher’s Weekly reports:

The publishing house associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Augsburg Fortress, is now operating under the name 1517 Media. The name was inspired by the year the Lutheran reformation began, 1517, and carries the tagline “Always Reforming.” …

…The goal of the name change was to clear up confusion about the business’s structure: the parent company had the same name as one of its publishing divisions. 1517 Media houses three units: Augsburg Fortress, which publishes resources for use by Lutheran congregations including music, books, and online services; Fortress Press, which publishes trade books, textbooks, monographs, and popular titles on theology; and Sparkhouse, which publishes ecumenical curricula. And by separating them, 1517 Media has gained some flexibility and has helped each publishing unit engage its markets more directly…

…continue reading the entire article at this link.

In an announcement to Lutheran Clergy, the company stated:

Our new parent identity expresses our rootedness in the Lutheran tradition and the gifts of the Reformation while highlighting our attention—within all three publishing units—to a wide range of current and future media resources for the church, classroom, and home.

As your partners in the gospel, we appreciate your continued support as, together with you, we communicate the liberating grace of God in an ever-changing world. We are always here to serve you and support your ministries.


Image (why there isn’t one): Usually an announcement of this nature contains a logo or brand identity for the new company, but we couldn’t find this one anywhere, except for a plain Helvitica font rendering at the PW story.

Christian Fiction Doing Just Fine, Thank You

CBD logoAnyone who has heard the rumors of the demise of Christian fiction — both in terms of losses to the eBook market, and overall declining sales — need look no further than the recent CBD Spring fiction catalogue to see that the genre is alive and well.

This 80-page, full color, glossy publication is a testimony to the health that at least this one company sees in Christian fiction, and one that would make an excellent showpiece for this category, were it not for the source. Let’s face it, long before the internet, CBD was sucking the life out of many local Christian bookstores, and continues to do so to this very day.

Even here at Christian Book Shop Talk, a trade blog, CBD advertising often appears in the space following an article. Their reach is pervasive and relentless.

Still, I find the fiction flyer encouraging. I suspect that at 80 packed pages, this is their largest advertising support of fiction authors and publishers; books and series. I also learned about some titles which my sales reps may have mentioned but I had missed: A new James Rubart (The Long Journey to Jake Palmer, Thomas Nelson) coming in July along with a new Richard Mawbry (Medical Judgement, Abingdon) along with new products by Lynette Eason and Judith Miller at Baker Book Group.

If you can get your hands on one, it makes a great inventory checklist as you head into the summer and fall seasons.