Monday, December 01, 2008

Mainstream Houses and Christian Fiction

Happy December. (Can you believe it?)

The new Publishers Weekly has an interesting article about mainstream ABA houses publishing Christian fiction--rather than releasing the titles under the houses' Christian imprints. Clearly the market for Christian fiction is expanding. Read the article


I wonder about the fiction titles Nelson says it will market as mainstream. How well will that work? Some bookstore shelvers may look at the genre on the back and follow that, shelving the book with other mainstream fiction. Others may notice the publisher, know that it's a Christian house, and automatically shelve the novel with other Christian fiction. In other words, I didn't think simply taking "Christian" out of the genre listing on the back cover fixed the age-old shelving problem. Anyone have any insights on this? Please speak up.


Holly Magnuson said...

I think what would help is to have engaging titles and good summaries on the back cover. When I pick up a book I look at title and then I read the back cover. If those two things get my attention I'll buy the book.

I've noticed at Sam's Club that the Christian books are mixed in with the "non-Christian" books and you have to know the authors to know which is which. Unlike Wal-Mart where the sections are "marked."

Anonymous said...

I've long maintained that with the shrinking CBA market, we need to take our products (including fiction) into the general market. I think these publishers are very wise and I wish them well.

D. Gudger said...

I'm liking the idea of getting rid of two separate worlds. Genre, genre, genre. Should've been that way all along.

Hopefully sales numbers will increase from something like this, as well as people interested in getting to know Jesus better b/c they picked up a fantastic (genre name) by a fantastic author who is a Christian.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Wow, I don't know what to think.

There is some fiction written for Christians. I think of Sharon Hinck's books as examples (all of them, even the fantasies).

There are others that are written as pure, clean stories, with no particular Christian theme. Those probably could go on another genre shelf.

There are others written from a Christian worldview and really are reaching out to the Christians and non-Christians alike. That general market publishers are open to publishing those books and shelving them where anyone can find them seems like a good thing.

But I can't help wondering what is going to happen to those books written for Christians, and to their publishers.


Anonymous said...

I work in a Christian Bookstore. --

One thing I thought was interesting about this article... I have seen the reserve of this. -- I can tell you I have seen the publishers are shifting away from Christian titles completly.

Thomas Nelson for example has a few titles that have no religious content. -- Which makes me wonder why they are brought into my store.

(We have signed up for a new release from the Publisher and assumed it would always be Christian product...)

As a Christian retailer... I have mixed feelings on the whole issue. -- For Christians who are frustrated hunting down new Christian work when their mixed in the secular books... they might just chose to stick with their local Christian Bookstore. (Please!)

So... that's a good thing.

But the fact that Christian titles are in the Secular bookstore at all is a disappointment. -- Many of these publishers are selling their books to the secular box stores with prices and terms that are effectually driving Christian Bookstores out of business.

If Barnes and Noble is selling the Shack for 8.99 and my wholesale cost is 9.99 -- I can't compete.

So.. don't hunt for the Christian Book at Barnes or Borders -- go find your local Christian Bookstore... and support them.

Generally they're not making it -- and are a Christian Witness in the community! -- Worth the extra few dollars.

Just my two cents!

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Anonymous, I hear you. Long live the Christian bookstore!