Friday, November 21, 2008

A Look at December's CBA Retailing

Yesterday my digital issue of December's CBA Retailing + Resources arrived in my inbox. I usually receive this e-mail a week or two before the printed version comes in the mail. Three things to note in this issue:

1. On a personal note, it was great to see Dark Pursuit as this issue's featured fiction review in a 2/3 page spread. "Lean style and absorbing plot ... Brandilyn Collins is a master of suspense." I didn't know Dark Pursuit would be featured like this. Nice surprise and review.

Congrats to Jeanne Damoff for her book, Parting the Waters, being chosen as the nonfiction feature.

2. In "Where Have the Customers Gone?" Verne Kenney, Zondervan's Executive Sales VP, talks about the movement in music and book sales to digital versions. A few statistics he notes: In 2000 Americans bought 785 million albums. Last year that number fell to 588--including downloaded albums. Why? Because now folks are buying singles, whose sales rose 65% from 2005 to 2006. As for books, e-book sales have increased 42% since 2002. Last year Amazon released the Kindle, with sales now over 245,000 units. And Sony has its Reader. (See F&F posts on the Kindle vs. Sony here, and Zondervan's distributorship agreement with the Sony Reader here.) Kenney advises Christian bookstores that "incorporating a digital center in a high traffic area will help position your store as relevant and as a cutting edge business."

The digital age of book sales has just begun, methinks.

3. Last month CBA R+R began a column on blogs and the impact they have on Christian retail. This month the columnist talked about four levels of blogging, as learned from a webinar CBA staff members attended, sponsored by Avectra Academy. The levels go from "unengaged" blogging--those who blog but don't follow others' sites--to fully engaged, in which you are actively listening to what's going on in the blog community and creating your own helpful and unique content. Of course, the goal is to get to that fourth level.

You can help strengthen the Christian retail blog community. The columnist is making a list of blogs within CBA that relate to the industry. If your blog does this, or if you read blogs that do, send an e-mail to the columnist with the blogs' names and URLs. Put "Blog Roll" in the subject line. In subsequent columns I'm sure we'll be hearing about some of these sites.

CBA Retailing + Resources is a helpful magazine that will help you keep an eye on the industry. A yearly suscription for non-CBA members is $59.95. You can review a sample digital issue here. Go here to buy a subscription.


Grady Houger said...

I certainly hope ebooks work out for the Christian book market. For years I have been reading ebooks across all genres, but have yet to buy any. There are more free library style ebooks than a human could ever read.

What I really want to buy as ebooks are textbooks (searchable!) but the paper textbook market is locked down tight.

For the new fiction I buy, paper is still more portable, and easier to hand to others. I think ebooks will take market majority, but it might take way longer then anyone expects.

Jeanne Damoff said...

Thanks again, Brandilyn. I'm delighted to be featured in the same issue with you!

Love, Jeanne

Courtney Walsh said...

I feel like that old lady shouting "Get off my lawn!" but I hate the idea of digital books. I spend enough time WORKING at the computer... when I read, I don't want to read at any kind of screen. I love the smell of paper and there's just something so lovely about a beautiful book cover. I feel like it's fine for music... but for books... I will fight it kicking and screaming! :(

"Now Get off my lawn!"


Rita Gerlach said...

I'm with Courtney. I prefer a trade paperback novel. There's nothing like curling up in a quilt on the couch on a rainy day and reading a good yarn.

I think sending in blog urls that relate to the industry is an excellent idea. But how about online magazines that promote Christian fiction? For example Stepping Stones Magazine.

Lauren said...

I am in agreement with keeping books books. To me there is nothing as comforting as opening a new book. I love everything about them, the smell, they way they look, going into my office/library and just looking at my shelved books gives me a sense of peace. (Did I mention I am obsessed with books?) While I agree that the digital format is a good option for some people, I certainly hope that it doesn't become the ONLY format.