Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Industry News--Part 2

In more news:

From RT BookClub Magazine: A new African-American fiction line. Urban Books is launching a line of Christian titles called Urban Christian. The house, now actively seeking authors, says, “Through this divine journey of moving stories, Urban Christian is the voice that will take the Urban Books readers to another level, the spiritual side of the craft.” The line is expected to launch this fall.

From Christian Retailing: WestBow Press goes mass market paperback. In offering some of its top titles in this size, WestBow joins Tyndale and Barbour in trying out mass markets. (I don’t think it has worked well for either house. I seem to remember that Multnomah tried this before, also. But the market is different today, so let’s hope it goes better for WestBow.)

The mass markets are priced at $7.99. WestBow releases about 40% of its titles in hardcover, from $19.99 to $25.99. Because of this, the mass market price should be extra appealing to WestBow readers. The plan is to place original hardcovers (and some original trade size) into mass market size about one year after release. This size will not replace WestBow’s current trade paper novels. The first six novels to go to this new format are The Visitation (Peretti), Three (Dekker), A Time to Dance (Kingsbury), Wrapped in Rain (Martin), What a Girl Wants (Billerbeck), and The Lazarus Trap (Bunn).

In December, Monster (Peretti), Comes a Horseman (Liparulo), Showdown (Dekker), Jimmy (Whitlow), A Time to Embrace (Kingsbury), and The Dead Don’t Dance (Martin) will also release in mass size.

Allen Arnold, WestBow’s senior V.P. and publisher, says he hopes that retailers will offer both trade and mass sizes of a title.

If this works well for WestBow, it’ll be interesting to see whether other publishers follow suit.

From Christian Retailing: An interesting feature article on the “cultural trendsetter” C28 chain of Christian stores. Aurelio Barreto III, a businessman who founded C28 in 2000, doesn’t call them stores. He calls them “lifestyle centers.” Currently C28 encompasses six centers in Southern California, with more planned for across the country.

According to their website, "C28 is a Christian retail store chain, offering an alternative to the mainstream mall stores. The Christian clothing, music, jewelry and accessories reflect a clean and positive Christian lifestyle. C28 stands for Colossians 2:8, Not Of This World (NOTW), and all about Jesus! C28 donates a certain percentage of all purchases to youth ministries. The mission at C28 is to share the life changing gospel message of grace, truth and love of Jesus. So far, 5262 people have come to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior since opening 4 years ago. All praise goes to God!"

“We are still learning and developing, and our customers are helping us define who we are,” Baretto said. “For example, our stores are packed on Friday nights with teenagers just wanting somewhere good to hang out.” So they’re looking to expand their centers to 4,000, giving room for a coffee lounge.

C28 centers are in malls, “in the heart of the contemporary retail scene.” Products are aimed at Christians, but many unbelievers enter the store, not even knowing at first what the store’s all about. “When they realize we’re Christian,” says Barreto, “they say, ‘You aren’t like other Christian stores we know. They’re old fashioned.’”

C28 centers are “true to Who they believe in.” They develop many of their own products. They carry only a couple different kinds of Bible versions, and few books. The look is youth-oriented, but all ages visit the store. One older visitor said, “I don’t get it, but I like it!”

The store are “places of ministry.” The staff are “bold, in-your-face believers who want to share their faith.” They know that talking about Jesus is “part of the job.” Job applications even ask what experience a person has in praying with people, because that’s going to be expected of them. “We are looking for radicals,” says Barreto. “Many of our frontliners have piercings. Some have tattoos. But it’s not those things that make them radical, it’s their attitudes, their hearts. They are not in retail, they are relating.”

Barreto adds that he “had no idea what spiritual warfare was until [he] got into the Christian retail industry.” From problems with leases to personnel issues, he’s had to rely on God for answers. "Stores have been the target of Wiccans and others opposed to Christianity who have tried to curse our efforts.”

Barretto received CBA’s Innovations in Christian Retailing Award last year for his C28 stores.

C28 stores are found in Riverside, Temecula, Santa Ana, Escondido, El Cajon, and Palm Desert. Any of you Southern Californian BGs been in one? Visit their website at:


Stuart said...

Cool to hear about Urban Christian, hope the line does well. :)

As for Westbow going mass market for some of their books. Well being a sci-fi/fantasy reader, mass market has always been my prefferred choice. The Trade size traditionally used by CBA has always felt too large and too expensive for my tastes.

The big question here is, how will the retailers react? They have been so used to only trade for so long, will they even consider the smaller mass market size? Will they stock them mixed in with the Trade books, so that the titles might get lost between the larger books? I think the customers will jump at the lower prices if they can get them though. :)

C28 sounds like a pretty cool place. I remember we had an alternative Christian music store for a while in a mall here in Colorado Springs. Felt sad when it went out of business. Hope C28 has great success and spreads all around the country. :)

Domino said...

I'm used to trade size books, but it's the mass market that you see in the hands of the people lounging by the pool in the summer. I will love seeing some Ted Dekker in the hands of local pool-loungers.

I hope Urban Christian and C28 make a huge splash. I hope they make it BIG. I hope I'll get a C28 in Texas. Yeah, baby!

Deborah Raney said...

Brandilyn, Steeple Hill is also putting some of their trade books into mass market size. I'll be eager to see how they do. It will be nice to have a more affordable version, and hopefully they'll reach a more secular audience that way, as well.

William G. said...

I wish I had a C28 nearby too.

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

I would like to get a C28 in our local mall...The place is overrun with teens all the time...what a mission field!

Also Brandilyn, I was at my local Arrowhead Parable Christian Store today and Web of Lies is positioned face out, with a "Recommended" label below it!

Dineen A. Miller said...

Oh, this is cool! I hope they come into Northern CA. Thanks for sharing this, Brandilyn!

Author Sue Dent said...

From an article about Urban Books.

Their books, including Bowen's debut Church Folk, were not what some members of the conservative CBA envisioned as Christian literature. . . Nancy Guthrie, a spokeswoman for the Christian Booksellers Association, says only that CBA president-CEO Bill Anderson encourages its suppliers to publish books that are "culturally relevant and Biblically accurate."

Urban Books is an Independent Publisher, not CBA affiliated. They market to the general market writing as Christians. It's sad that no "Christian" bookstore will shelve their books. At least not with the same ease that they'll shelve niche market CBA and ECPA books.

Just something to consider.

Christian (not CBA or ECPA affiliated) vampire/werewolf Horror author Sue Dent. :)