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

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Christian Retail Is Not Dead

The movie title proclaimed: God is Not Dead. He isn’t. Nor are Christian bookstores.

This is a good thing. Our country needs Christian stores to shine the light of Christ into our culture. For years, Christian stores have encouraged the discouraged, helped believers grow in their faith, and provided people hope and peace through the Gospel message.

Christian Retail Is Not Dead

The Parable Group, a data-driven Christian marketing agency that connects retailers, products and services to faith-based consumers, conducted a Christian retailer study at the end of 2018. The surveyed 125 Christian retailers for the study.

Amid dismaying news of the demise of Christian bookstores, the study found that some Christian retailers are thriving, even in a climate that has seen the closing of over 400 Christian bookstores in the past three years.

According to the study, point-of-service sales at these brick-and-mortar stores were down three percent in 2018 from 2017. Yet, almost half the stores (48%) experienced either an increase in sales from 2017 or their sales were flat. The study found that those Christian retail stores that regularly sent print promotions to their customers out-performed the stores that did not.

Christian retail is not dead—and the print book is not dead. A few key takeaways from the study that included independent and church bookstores include:

  1. 38% of Christian bookstore sales came from books.

  2. The top five categories of book sales were:

    • Christian Living
    • Devotionals
    • Fiction
    • Women
    • Bible Studies

One point in the study that caught my eye was that Christian retailers report that one of their top three priorities is to discover and order new Christian products. These stores are actively looking for new books that their customers want to read.

Part of the mission of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is to represent independent authors and small publishers in the Christian industry. This is why we have represented our Members books at the major Christian retail show since our inception in 2004. We will continue to provide this service as long as Christian stores need product.

This summer, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) will be representing our Members’ books at the CPE International show (Christian Product Expo). In doing this, we provide our Members an affordable way to present their new books to Christian retailers.

You can read the complete study results at https://www.parablegroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/ChristianRetail_2018_YearInReview.pdf.

Related Posts:
Why Christian Bookstores Are In Decline
Where Will Christian Books Be Sold?
The Book Distribution Conundrum

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Photo courtesy of rev_neil.