Echos of the Decline of Mormon Retail

The April 2008 issue of Christianity Today featured an article on the changes that have affected Christian retail over the last two decades. The description is surprisingly similar to what has happened to LDS retailers — so much so that I thought the article’s claims bore some analysis here.

The article indicates that the CBA, the former Christian Booksellers Association, “has reported a drop from more than 3,000 members out of an estimated 4,000 Christian retail stores in the mid-1980s to a mere 1,813 members today out of an estimated 2,800 stores in existence.” The same kind of drop has been seen by the LDSBA, which has seen attendance by bookstores at its annual convention drop by half.

Unfortunately, the article is long on description of the problems and short on answers. But there are a few ideas that may help LDS retailers improve.

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Why can’t Evangelicals and Mormons Share Books & Culture?

An author asked me to review a contract recently, and I was surprised at something the author said. The contract was with one of the larger Mormon publishers, and the author hoped that the book would become a big success in the Christian market in the US through that publisher.

I don’t know where the idea that this was possible came from. I hope that the publisher didn’t tell the author that it could.

I told the author that there was no chance, and it doesn’t look like there will be in the future. In fact, the fact that the author is LDS means the publisher is irrelevant. A Mormon author can’t succeed in the Christian market.

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