Christian Retailing

NEWS Industry News New Christian book sales reports track market trends
New Christian book sales reports track market trends PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 11:11 am UTC

Trade association releases monthly statistics to help publishers make ‘intelligent decisions’



A new monthly report on Christian book sales is being made available by the publishers trade association.

Data from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) is to be reported by Christian Retailing to help publishers and retailers track trends in the market.


The summaries differ some from those by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), whose monthly updates include details on what it categorizes as religious books.

While the AAP found religious book sales to be up 8.2% in May over the precious month and to have risen 2.6% year to date, the ECPA’s results for the same period saw an 8% increase for the month and 7% up year to date.

The ECPA’s reports are based on information from 15 reporting member houses, whose data it also provides to the AAP.

The AAP updates also include data received from half-a-dozen other publishers—including general market houses with Christian divisions such as Hachette Book Group USA (FaithWords) and HarperCollins Publishers (Zondervan). Other publishers reporting religious book sales to the AAP are Oxford University Press and St. Anthony Messenger Press.

Covington_Michael“People are always looking for new information as to how the category is going, and we decided that it might be helpful if we started making these statistics a little more public,” said Michael Covington, ECPA information and education director.

The new monthly ECPA reports notes sales and returns for the month and year to date and calculate average percentage changes for the aggregate reporting group.

“We try to be as transparent as we can be without sharing sensitive information, so that it can be helpful,” said Covington. “Part of being an association is allowing people access to information so they can make intelligent decisions and this is just one more way we can help with that.”

In addition, Covington said that Christian retailers who dealt almost exclusively with Christian market publishers “might find some great benefit from seeing what is going on with the trends of Christian publishers.”

Christian book sales were down slightly overall in July, but up over the same time last year, according to the new tracking report from ECPA. Book sales month to month rose 1.15% for July, but returns were also up, by almost 13%, to leave a 1% dip in net sales month to month. Year to year, sales were down 2.23% in July. Returns were also down, by almost 26%, leaving a year-to-year net sales increase of 3.75%.

ECPA members providing data are Bardin & Marsee Publishing, Concordia Publishing House, Crossway, David C. Cook, Foundation Publications, Gospel Light, Harvest House Publishers, InterVarsity Press, Kregel Publications, Moody Publishers, NavPress, Rose Publishing, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Tyndale House Publishers and Wesleyan Publishing House.