The closest Christian book store

Christianity Today notes the growing trend of churches providing space for Christian bookstores:

The Christian bookstore you shop at tomorrow may be as close as your church's front door. More and more churches want to be the place you'll buy your next Beth Moore book or study Bible. Church bookstores enjoy prime locations, low overhead, and (in many cases) volunteer workers. They are "the fastest growing portion of this industry," according to Geni Hulsey, president of the Church Bookstore Network and manager of the Garden Bookstore at Houston First Baptist Church.

Dave Condiff, associate publisher at The Church Bookstore magazine, estimates there are about 5,000 church bookstores in the U.S. A "church bookstore" can encompass anything from a 10,000-square-foot bookstore with $3 million in sales to a narthex book table.

. . .

"As the number of independent stores has decreased, we see more and more pastors making a decision to add a resource center in their churches as an extension of their ministry," Condiff says. Many church bookstores are in megachurches in Texas, the Bible belt, and California.

A church retail store has unique challenges: financial accountability to the church and products that are a theological match, The Church Bookstore assistant editor Allison Hyer says. Often, church bookstores are smaller than their independent retail counterparts, making vendor relationships more complicated.

Mixing retail and worship is also a touchy subject, Hulsey says: "For some, it's a hard pill to swallow, doing retail business inside the church. I believe if our bookstore is not doing ministry and only peddling goods, we have no business being inside this church."

Read it all here.

Comments (2)

My parish has run a store for the last few years in the rear of our church. Its mission is to provide discipleship resources to our members and friends (including other Episcopal churches in our diocese). One major advantage is that we can help our members get things which they may not be able to get in the larger commercial Christian or secular bookstores. Of course, Amazon beats us on price but we offer other things that members seem to like. We tithe our proceeds: 10% of all net proceed goes to outreach, and we discount an additional 10% for Bibles and prayer books. We have had to work out all the details noted above but on the whole it has been a positive experience in our parish.

Andrew Gerns

Our parish shop carries books, Bibles, BCP's, icons, etc., in suchwise as to be helpful and appropriate for Episcopalians. Last year proceeds in excess of $7,000 went to outreach.

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