Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: Edna L. Smith on Reading

Its likely not very hard to convince readers of A Motley Vision of the importance of reading. In fact, the idea also wasn’t controversial among the late 19th century Mormon critics of “light reading.” The critics just wanted children (and adults, for that matter) reading the Scriptures and non-fiction instead of most fiction. But while Edna L. Smith cleary was a critic of “light reading” in 1881, when this was published, much of what she said could be applied to reading in general, not just what she approved of.

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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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