Here is the old news, Family Christian is closing their stores. It is not any easier to hear or say this week than it was two weeks ago. I hurt for those losing their jobs and those towns that are losing maybe not just their only Christian bookstore, but their only bookstore.
The thing I want to add to this is, don’t count the rest of us out. I can’t say how many times these past two weeks I have heard either that Baker Book House was closing, and/or this is the death of the Christian market.
First – no, Baker Book House is not closing. We are working hard to make this store one of the best places to go, either in our brick and mortar store or with our website that is being updated and will roll out soon. This should make it easier for everyone around the country to order from our store.
Secondly, as for the death of the Christian market, I am not sure where this thinking came from. ‘Just because a major chain store has/is closing means that the only place to buy that product is online.’ When Borders closed, we did not have to suddenly change our buying habits to online purchases. In fact I think the local independent stores saw an uptick in customers (well, if they were smart enough to make an effort to let those customers know they were willing and able to help them).
Now local independent Christian bookstores have a chance to find those customers that shopped at Family and welcome them with open arms. Customers that may or may not know that we existed before now.
The third thing is I see is a time for the Christian market to grow in ways it may have not had a chance to before. Now publishers and Independents can find other books (fiction and non-fiction) that might reach a market that before was never considered. One that a big chain might say no to, so no one was willing to take a chance on it. This might be that push that we all need to discover a whole new world of readers that independents have been marketing to for years, but only quietly because of the noise of a large chain who said no.
I for one am saddened by the news of Family, but I am excited to see what the future brings to us independent retailers.