Do Christian Books Really Sell

By | December 11, 2017

I have often wondered if Christian books sell as well as general market books. With the rise (and near fall) of mega-bookstores such as Barnes and Noble and Borders, we really have not seen any noticeable expansion of Christian bookstores. As I stroll the isles of the mega-bookstores, the Christian section (which is usually combined with all spirituality) has not grown either, in fact has decreased in size. According to statistics from the Christian Booksellers Association, approximately 2500 locally owned and operated Christian Bookstores have closed over the past 5 years. So has this once niche market fallen victim to mass merchants and or the economy?
Unfortunately, the deeper I got into the topic, the more questions I found had to be answered. While I started off just trying to do some research to determine if Christian books follow the same sales patterns as general market books, I came to understand it is anyones guess how the future will unfold for the publishing world. Also, as important, is the published page (both Christian and general) following the same digital path as music? That is a scary thought if you are a bookstore owner, or worse yet, a publisher! Will we one day see a publishing world where an author simply registers his or her work digitally and there it is for the world to browse and purchase?
I have searched the web for Christian book resources and a few things have become quite evident. First, there are more websites than ever, selling books both Christian and general market. Second, authors of Christian books, who once relied on Christian Bookstores to sell their books, are more frequently selling their books (as well as other authors) on their own ministry websites. I think it is pretty obvious to everyone that as long as the internet continues to grow and be more competitive (sales tax exemption, low shipping charges, availability, etc.) brick and mortar bookstores will continue to lose market share. With Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Borders (who recently added an internet presence, a little late to the game) as the big players, niche websites are also sprouting up at a rapid pace. For example, Joyce Meyer, a very good selling Christian author, sells most of her products on her ministry website. However, they are all (or mostly all) at full list price. Whereas a niche website I found sells all, or most of the same products at a relatively low discounted price. Could it be that the ministries themselves, or big web players do not believe they have to compete on price? That may become an issue as the consumer forms opinions toward their browsing results and if a certain website does not establish itself as one of value, a consumer is less likely to search that site in the future. The internet discount (I believe for all merchandise) has become in essence an advertising fee to keep browsers believing in your site.
As you can see, asking what seemed like a simple question; Do Christian Books Really Sell? has opened up what appears to be a never ending sequence of questions and sideline distractions. Trying to get back to the original topic, here are a few things I have come up with. The Christian Book Industry has an association, but it is difficult to get sales stats from them. Each month they do report if sales were up or down and by what percent year over year, but what those increases and decreases translate to in dollars is difficult to determine. Since more and more general market booksellers are selling Christian books, the ability to determine specific sales numbers for Christian books is becoming more difficult.
I continue to watch best seller lists such as the New York Times and others, for Christian books, and I have noticed that typically, authors getting their books on the best seller lists have self promotion capabilities beyond that of their peers. For example, Joel Osteen, who has a very prominent television ministry, sees his books make the lists through prominent sales. I suppose when you have the attention of millions of people each week, all of whom has an interest and a liking for you, it is easy to translate promotion into sales. One item to mention is that once again, I found that when purchasing books directly from the ministry website, you are likely to pay full price. When searching the web for Joel Osteen books, there are plenty of sites selling his books at very low discounted prices. For instance, has his entire library including books, eBooks and audio books in both English and Spanish, all discounted off the full price.
I realize I have yet to answer the question I titled the article about. The simple answer is yes, Christian books continue to sell. But to answer that question more fully, they are selling in more places than ever before so to track the data for accurate comparisons is difficult. Considering the fact that bestselling authors releasing new titles has a greater impact on overall sales compared to the general market, it would be unfair to simply use year or year comparisons to determine whether or not Christian book sales are increasing or decreasing. I can foresee a time when all books just like music songs will be purchased predominantly through digital means and there will be real time sales numbers associated with each book so that the consumer can determine the popularity in real time. Until then, we will have to trust our instincts when purchasing a Christian book.

Original Content By

Product Description

Love sneaks up on eight couples in the Old West.

The Old West comes to life under the talented pen of bestselling author Mary Connealy. Enjoy a lighthearted ride alongside seven historical and one contemporary cowboys and the women who tame their hearts.
The Advent Bride
Melanie Douglas is alone on the Nebraska plains, teaching school to get by. She finds a unique box with hidden drawers to use over the advent season to engage a young boy in his schooling. When Henry O’Keeffe sees a positive change in his son, he has to see for himself what this new teacher is doing.
A Bride Rides Herd
Matt Reeves arrives at his brother’s ranch to find Betsy Harden alone with the little girls during a cattle drive. Will the ladies be too much to handle when Matt steps in for the missing ranch hand?
His Surprise Family
A lonely young rancher orders a mail-order bride and after the vows are spoken, she “surprises” him with her three little brothers. No amount of apologies Meghan McCray gives are going to make Silas Harden, Jr. believe a word she says. Should Silas just build himself another house and let his mail-order family take over the one he’s got?
Homestead on the Range
Widow Elle Winter meets new homesteader Colin Samuelson on the Nebraska prairie, but the attraction between them is soon dampened by the discovery that they have seven children between them. Soon their children are working against them to bring the two families together.
Sophie’s Other Daughter
Dr. Ike Reeves comes home to visit his family only to bring trouble in the form of outlaws who believe he witnessed their latest crime. When the gang traps Ike and his old nemesis, Lauren McClellen, in a cave, they must work together to outsmart the thugs. But will their time together put them in a compromising situation that will threaten both of their good reputations?
The Sweetwater Bride
Debba McClain takes offense at being offered a wedding in exchange for valuable water rights. But she doesn’t like to see a good man’s cattle die of thirst—and the rancher Tanner Harden is rather handsome.
Texas Tea
Luke Reeves has gotten wealthy in the oil business and goes to visit his uncle to convince him to sign over the oil rights to his land. But when he meets his grown up adopted cousin Libby Cooper, he may be forced to give up one dream to win another.
Hope for Christmas
It might be 2016, but Montana is still a mighty rough place to survive the winter. When Silas Harden finds the very pregnant Kelsey Black in a wrecked car surrounded by a pack of wolves in the heart of a blizzard he takes her to his remote home. What will Silas do when the baby decides to come and Kelsey confesses why she was out in such a terrible storm?

Price: $9.65

    Leave a Reply