A Positive Outlook for Christian Retail

A Christian consumer survey conducted in January 2020 with over 2,600 responses found that 48% of respondents said they shop (or would shop if they had one) at their local bookstore for faith-based content. Only 11% of respondents reported that they would not shop in-store.

Percentage of People shopping in Christian stores

The Parable Group compiled data from analysis of $66 million in Christian product sales, 2.1 million consumer receipts, and survey results from retailers and publishers in their recent 2020 State of Christian Retailing. During a time when the U.S. Census Bureau is reporting that sales in bookstores declined 5.7% in 2019 from sales in 2018, the Parable Group found less discouraging data from Christian bookstores.

The Parable study found that same store sales were only down by 2.5% in 2019 over 2018. That is encouraging news for Christian bookstores when compared to the bookstore market overall.

Three other significant findings in this report may surprise you.

1.  Books are the leading sales for Christian retail, making up one-third of all in-store sales.

Books make up one-third of in-store sales.

2.  Half of all Christian book sales come from three categories: Christian Living, Devotionals, and Fiction

Half of all Christian book sales comes from these three categories.

3.  Hosting more store events is not a high priority for most Christian retail stores.

Store events not a high priority for retail stores.

The Christian retail industry is a niche market. While there have been numerous store closures over the past few years, what remains is not dying.

The landscape is changing as Christian bookstores are now almost exclusively independently owned stores. In fact, 75% of Christian retail respondents in The Parable Group’s survey had a positive outlook for the future. One store stated, “We’re reaching new people and retaining current customers better than ever.

If you are a Christian author and you have a Christian bookstore in your city, I suggest that you become a regular patron. Booksellers need our support. Bookstores help sell books. Whatever we can do as Christian authors to support Christian book sales impacts the Kingdom. If you are part of God’s Kingdom, then you reap the benefits.

Related Posts:
How Many Christian Bookstores Remain?
Why Christian Bookstores Are in Decline
Amazon Is Not a Distributor

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Photos courtesy of The Parable Group.

Take Time to Love a Bookstore

The second annual Love Your Bookstore Challenge starts tomorrow. This year the #LoveYourBookstore Challenge will run Friday, November 8 through Sunday, November 17.

#LoveYourBookstore

Love Your Bookstore is an industry-wide celebration of all brick-and-mortar bookstores across America. It’s a way for book lovers of all sorts to show support for bookstores.

We need Christian bookstores in America! Christian bookstores can be a shining light of Christ to a lost world. They provide a place for both seekers and believers to find encouragement through books and other resources.

As an author, the #LoveYourBookstore Challenge provides you an opportunity to get to know and support a local bookstore, as well as promote your books.

The Challenge encourages authors to:

  1. Visit a local bookstore during the challenge. Be a patron!
  2. Take a picture with a book you love or want to gift this season—or a picture of you with your book located in the store.
  3. Share the picture on social media using the hashtag #LoveYourBookstore.
  4. Then challenge your friends to participate in the #LoveYourBookstore as well.

I would also encourage you to make a purchase while you are in your local bookstore. Support these retailers who are an important part of the book-selling structure.

Christian Supply Shoppe

If you want to locate a Christian bookstores near you, you can use the Christian bookstore locator found on https://getitlocaltoday.com. Just plug in your zip code and it will let you know where a Christian bookstore is located near you. The site lists over 1,800 Christian stores.

If you do not have a Christian bookstore in your community (and many places do not), then visit a local independent bookstore. Last year, I drove 20+ miles to the nearest Christian bookstore for this challenge. Interestingly, this bookstore is not listed in the Get It Local Today directory. The store has a fairly sizable section devoted to local authors and a number of loyal customers. While I was there a number of local people stopped by including a pastor picking up his order.

Galatians 6:10 says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” The Love Your Bookstore Challenge allows you to put this verse into practice. Visit your local Christian bookstore this coming week and do good by supporting their endeavor.

You can share your plans for the #LoveYourBookstore Challenge below. I would love to hear from you.

Related Posts:
How Many Christian Bookstores Remain?
How to Get a Book into a Christian Bookstore
Why Christian Bookstores Are In Decline

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.