Increasing Popularity of Christian Works in Large Chain Bookstores

Wal-Mart, Barnes&Noble, Local Chrisitan bookstores of wide selection of items for customers.
( [email protected] ) May 28, 2004 07:17 PM EDT

Recent trends of increased popularity among Christian books has been so intense that the competition between Christian bookstore sales and large chain bookstores. Wal-Mart, Target, Barnes & Noble and other large chain stores start to carry popular Christian titles.

Local Christian booksellers claim that their sources and selection still wide and unrivaled with the large chain stores. "Our traffic is strong, and it's as strong as it's ever been," LifeWay Christian Store manager Jonathan Gallegly said.

On typical afternoons, shoppers come into bookstores searching for bibles, inspirational literature, Christian fiction, music and videos. Gallegly mentioned that customers who come into the store usually have a specific item in mind. He mentions the good service of local bookstores, offering special orders to customers who cannot find specific items available immediately within the store. Gallegly mentioned that the bookstore’s purpose is to provide "a spiritual oasis" that extends not only to their consumer needs, but also to their spiritual ones.

Pat Pearman, manager of Trinity Christian Book Store in Radcliff, "If people are wanting good service, they would come to a Christian bookstore," she said. “Because chain stores can buy books in bulk, they may be able to get them cheaper.”

Housed between Harry Potter and Dr. Phil, the Elizabethtown Target carries eight overtly religious titles in its inspirational section, which had around 30 titles in all. The religious titles include "The Purpose Driven Life," by Rick Warren and "It's Not About Me," by Max Lucado, both of which are also carried by LifeWay. In the case of "The Purpose Driven Life," LifeWay under-sold Target by about $1.

Target manager Debbie Minton said she carries Christian titles that are big sellers nationally and new releases. Minton said Target tries to carry books that appeal to a wide variety of consumers, not just Christians.

Carolyn Brown, a spokesperson for Barnes & Noble, said the bookseller has seen a big increase in religious sales. “The subject has grown considerably in the past five years," Brown said, "led by bestsellers such as the ‘Left Behind' series, ‘The Prayer of Jabez,' and ‘The Purpose Driven Life.'" Other items include books regarding the “Passion” movie, and books related to the discussion of "The Da Vinci Code," Brown said.