On buying books

tsslogo.jpgChristianity Today says ‘Christian’ book sales are in a lull as readers await the next blockbuster. It’s not just the Christian publishers that are slow. Publisher’s Weekly is reporting that overall book sales continue to decline each of the first five months of 2007 despite an overall increase in retail sales. Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, has some ideas on the decline of Christian books. Competing media — television, movies, music, computer games, live events and the Internet – seem to play a big role. He also suggests that ‘Christian’ blockbusters get people into bookstores and than helps the sales across the board because “while they are buying that big book, they often pick up other books on their way to the cash register.” So here is the pressing problem in ‘Christian’ publishing: There are no huge blockbusters driving people in the local Christian bookstores. This all suggests that readers in general — and Christians in particular – wait until the mass hype to buy books. To hedge against the hype this is a good time to ask ourselves two questions: What books best care for my soul? And how am I watching for these books? On the outside it may appear Christian publishing is having an ‘off’ year when in fact great titles abound in 2007.