Christian Retailing

Chicken Soup for the Soul to release Billy Graham anthology PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 11:00 PM EDT

Chicken Soup for the Soul will publish a hardcover anthology documenting the life and legacy of evangelist Billy Graham. To be released Feb. 26, 2013, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Billy Graham & Me will be distributed by Simon & Schuster.

The authorized compilation will contain 101 stories from some of the most influential leaders in government, business, sports, entertainment and religion as well as Graham's friends and family. The book will also reveal details of Graham's relationship with every living U.S. president and the evangelist's ministry spanning more than six decades.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring Billy Graham's message of hope and renewal to current and future generations of readers," said Steve Posner, a lecturer at the University of Southern California who is editing the book. "Mr. Graham's teachings will be shared by those who have personal stories to tell regarding their own encounters with the world's most beloved Christian preacher."

A portion of the proceeds from Billy Graham & Me will be donated to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

"We are delighted and honored that Mr. Graham has entrusted us with part of the responsibility and privilege of documenting his legacy," said William J. Rouhana Jr., CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul, which also recently started a new line of "healthy comfort foods."

Since 1993, the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series has sold more than 100 million copies in the United States and Canada.

Tyndale House files health care lawsuit PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 12:56 PM EDT

Tyndale House Publishers has filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration after the company was deemed "insufficiently religious" to qualify for an exemption to the nation's health care overhaul law, which requires employers to provide abortion pill coverage.

Filed yesterday in the District of Columbia, the suit claims the Carol Stream, Ill.-based company has been refused a "religious employer" exemption because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) maintains that any for-profit publisher is categorically non-religious.

Tyndale, though, is strictly a publisher of Bibles and other Christian materials and is owned by the nonprofit Tyndale House Foundation, which provides grants to help meet physical and spiritual needs around the world.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which filed the suit on behalf of Tyndale, called the rule an unconstitutional and arbitrary threat to religious freedom.

"Bible publishers should be free to do business according to the book that they publish," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. "To say that a Bible publisher is not religious is patently absurd. Tyndale House is a prime example of how ridiculous and arbitrary the Obama administration's mandate is. Americans today clearly agree with America's founders: The federal government's bureaucrats are not qualified to decide what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out."

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld "Obamacare" as constitutional. Formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare includes a "preventive services" mandate issued by the HHS, which forces businesses to provide the morning-after and "week-after" pills—without co-pay—in their health insurance plans.

"Obamacare demands that Americans choose between two poison pills: either desert your faith by complying or resist and be punished," Bowman said.

Last month, Hobby Lobby and its sister company, Mardel Christian & Education, filed a similar suit, claiming the government mandate is forcing the company's owners "to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits." Failure to provide the drugs in the company's health insurance plan could lead to fines of up to $1.3 million a day.

'Odyssey' contest partners with Christian retailers PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 11:00 PM EDT

More than 350 Christian bookstores nationwide encouraged "Adventures in Odyssey" fans to submit videotaped auditions this summer for the popular radio drama series' "Get in the Show" contest—marking the 25th anniversary of the Focus on the Family program.

More than 6,000 children aged of 6 and 15 entered. One fan will be selected to perform in an upcoming episode and will be featured in an "Adventures in Odyssey" audio album. Earlier this week, 12 semi-finalists were selected, and online voting for the three finalists were to begin.

The three finalists and their parents will be flown to Colorado Springs, Colo., to audition live Nov. 3 before a global web audience who will vote for the grand-prize winner. The winner will be interviewed for Focus on the Family's Clubhouse magazine. In addition, Gary Locke, "Adventures in Odyssey's" official illustrator, will draw the likeness of the winner.

In June, more than 4,400 fans from 37 states and one foreign country traveled to Dallas to attend the live "Get in the Show" kick-off event with members of the Odyssey cast.

Though initially created for children, "Adventures in Odyssey" has built a fan base of teens and adults as well, drawing the attention of more than 2 million listeners each week with more than 20 million audio albums, books and products distributed by Tyndale House Publishers.

The series features integrity-building stories centered around Whit's End, a small-town ice cream emporium run by John Avery Whittaker.

Click here for more information on the "Get in the Show" contest. 

Tyndale to publish Lewis biography; Lewis book prizes awarded PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 01 October 2012 11:00 PM EDT

With 2013 marking the 50th anniversary of the death of C.S. Lewis, Tyndale House Publishers plans to release a definitive hardcover biography by apologist, educator and best-selling author Alister McGrath.

C.S. Lewis—A Life will release March 2013, in advance of the anniversary observance of the death of the beloved Christian author who died Nov. 22, 1963.

"Not only is he [McGrath] one of the world's most respected Christian theologians, he's also a champion of C.S. Lewis' importance for Christian apologetics and understands the academic culture within which Lewis developed his ideas," said Tyndale Senior Vice President and Publisher Ron Beers. "He is ideally placed to write this biography and will introduce Lewis to a new generation of readers who are eager to understand the mind behind the 'Narnia' series and other popular Lewis works."

McGrath, a former atheist who grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, studied at Oxford University, where he became a Christian. McGrath subsequently served as professor of historical theology at Oxford until 2008, before taking up the newly established chair of theology, religion and culture at King's College London in London. He is the only scholar to have conducted a complete and chronological analysis of the entire collection of Lewis' written documentation," a Tyndale statement said.

Meanwhile, the St. Thomas Philosophy of Religion Project has announced the two winners of the 2012 C.S. Lewis Book Prize.

First place went to Natural Signs and the Knowledge of God: A New Look at Theistic Arguments (Oxford University Press, 2010) by C. Stephen Evans, university professor of philosophy and humanities at Baylor University.

Second place went to Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies (Brazos Press/Baker Publishing Group, 2009) by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung, professor of philosophy at Calvin College.

The prize recognizes the best recent book in the philosophy of religion or philosophical theology written for a general audience. Twenty-two entries were judged on quality of argumentation, importance of the positions argued for, level of accessibility to a general audience and stylistic or literary merits.

Joel Osteen's 'I Declare' debuts atop General best-sellers PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 September 2012 11:00 PM EDT

Released Sept. 18, Joel Osteen's I Declare (FaithWords) debuted atop the General best-sellers from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA), tracking sales for the week ending Sept. 22, according to Pubtrack Christian data.

The rest of the Top 20 General best-sellers were: 2. Jesus Calling, Sarah Young, hardcover (Thomas Nelson); 3. Praying God's Word, Beth Moore (B&H Books/B&H Publishing Group); 4. The Bridesmaid, "Home to Hickory Hollow" No. 2, Lewis (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group); 5. Jesus Calling, Young, deluxe (Thomas Nelson); 6. Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst (Zondervan); 7. Jesus Calling, Young, large print deluxe (Thomas Nelson); 8. The Harbinger, Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine/Charisma House Book Group); 9. Grace, Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson); 10. The Ultimate Conversation, Charles F. Stanley (Howard Books); 11. Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman (Zondervan); 12. Crazy Love, Francis Chan (David C Cook); 13. Heaven Is for Real, Todd Burpo (Thomas Nelson); 14. The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman (Northfield Publishing); 15. The Fiddler, "Home to Hickory Hollow" No. 1, Beverly Lewis (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group); 16. Change Your Words, Change Your Life, Joyce Meyer (FaithWords); 17. Battlefield of the Mind, Joyce Meyer (FaithWords); 18. KJV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2012-2013, softcover (Standard Publishing); 19. Radical, David Platt (Multnomah Books); and 20. Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst (Zondervan).

The Top 10 Fiction best-sellers were: 1. The Bridesmaid; 2. The Harbinger; 3. The Fiddler; 4. Unending Devotion, Jody Hedlund (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group); 5. Coming Home, Karen Kingsbury (Zondervan); 6. Accused, "Pacific Coast Justice" No. 1, Janice Cantore (Tyndale); 7. Promise Me This, Cathy Gohlke (Tyndale); 8. Not in the Heart, Chris Fabry (Tyndale); 9. The Shadow of Your Smile, "Deep Haven" No. 5, Susan May Warren (Tyndale); and 10. A Lineage of Grace, Francine Rivers (Tyndale).

The top five Bibles were: 1. The Story, NIV, deluxe, hardcover, New International Version (Zondervan); 2. The Story: Teen Edition, NIV, softcover (Zondervan); 3. NIV Adventure Bible, hardcover, (Zonderkidz); 4. NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers, hardcover, (Zonderkidz); and 5. ESV Thinline Value Edition Bible, TruTone, chestnut, filigree design, English Standard Version (Crossway).

Sue Smith elected as next CBA chairman PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 September 2012 11:00 PM EDT

Sue Smith, store manager of Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Mich., has been elected as the next CBA board chairman. Smith, a CBA board member for the past three years, will assume the key role at the retailers' organization Oct. 1, 2013, when current ly Chairman George Thomsen's term ends.

In an editorial in the October issue of the trade association's Retailers + Resources magazine, Thomsen wrote that Smith is "a wonderful Christian woman and an outstanding retailer from a long-standing, traditional retail establishment."

"Since 1998, I've made a trip to Grand Rapids every May and have visited Sue's store," said Thomsen, general manager of Harvest Bookstore in Riverside, Calif. "It's a great store, currently in the process of being made even better via a major renovation. Sue is a manager who can be found working in the store and isn't afraid to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty.

"She's been an involved and valuable member of CBA's board," he added. "She's demonstrated a keen awareness of the issues facing our industry, and has a heartfelt concern for CBA member retailers. Sue is well known and respected among retailers, suppliers, authors and CBA staff alike. It's my firm belief that Sue will be an outstanding chairman in leading CBA into the future."

Smith, 50, who has served Baker store manager since May 2005, told Christian Retailing that she wants “to listen to stores.”

“My goal is to call and visit stores when I can to let them know that CBA is here and cares about them,” she said. “I want to connect with them, pray with them, and listen to where they need help and how we as an association can make a difference.

“The main goal of the chairman is to manage the board and to maintain the integrity of the board’s process,” Smith added. “George has done this well as he has led the ship through turbulent waters. We are healthier now as an association and an industry. ... I am honored to be working with him and certainly will have a hard time filling his shoes as he exits this position next year.”

Thomsen has served as CBA chairman since October 2009—the first year as chairman-elect, completing the unexpired term of Jim Whitaker, and the last three years in his own term.

Since he was appointed to the board in 2008, Thomsen has seen the departure of longtime President and CEO Bill Anderson, the sale of the organization's headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the adoption of a new management model with Curtis Riskey appointed as executive director.

"CBA has also eliminated all its debt and is now debt free," Thomsen wrote. "We've continued to modify ICRS (International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) to better understand the changing needs of our industry. CBA has created and continues to develop our winter Next conference to help equip retailers to meet the needs of today and tomorrow's marketplace. Through all of these events, the Lord has been faithful and granted us with great favor as we've sought His will and counsel."

Jeremy Camp honored, Audio Adrenaline reunites PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 September 2012 11:00 PM EDT

GRAMMY-nominated Jeremy Camp was recently honored for his 32 No.1 radio singles since his debut 10 years ago.

During the past decade, Camp has spent 175 weeks at No. 1 across numerous formats, including National Christian Audience and Rock. Earlier this month at the Christian Music Broadcasters Momentum conference in Orlando, Fla., Camp was presented with a plaque commemorating his achievement from Tooth & Nail/BEC Recordings President Brandon Ebel.

"I'm so honored to see how the Lord has used the songs on radio to impact lives," Camp said. "I'm grateful for all of the radio programmers, on-air personalities and the BEC radio team for all that they have done to share these songs with the listeners."

Camp also performed the debut radio single "Reckless" from his upcoming 2013 studio album. Just released, Christmas: God With Us (Tooth & Nail/BEC Recordings), is his first full-length Christmas project, featuring songs such as "Jingle Bell Rock," "Joy To The World" and "Mary Did You Know."

In November and December, Camp will also be a part of The Story tour, featuring a full choir and orchestra along with Casting Crowns' Mark Hall, Natalie Grant, Matthew West, Nichole Nordeman and Selah.

Meanwhile, Audio Adrenaline, a Christian rock band that formed in the late 1980s but retired in 2007, has re-formed with an altered lineup in a move that is a renewed effort by the group to help orphans in Haiti and around the world. Founding members Mark Stuart and Will McGinniss will be joined by new vocalist Kevin Max, formerly of dc Talk.

The band's first single, "Kings and Queens," will be released in November with the new album slated to release March 2013 from Fair Trade Services, a new label for the band.

Net proceeds from the album's sales will go to Hands & Feet Project, a nonprofit organization started in 2004 by Audio Adrenaline members that is dedicated to helping orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti.

Munce Expo sees attendance increase, 'home run' sales PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 11:00 PM EDT

Despite a continuing challenging economy, Christian Product Expo (CPE) Murfreesboro 2012 saw an increase in retailer and supplier attendance compared to last year's Munce Group fall show.

More than 400 retailers and vendors attended the ninth annual CPE, held Sept. 16-18 at the Embassy Suites Murfreesboro hotel and conference center in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

"We were up by about 25 retailers and 15 vendors," Munce Group President Kirk Blank told Christian Retailing. "That's about a 10% increase this year from last year. ... Although stores voiced concerns about the economy and negativity related to the presidential election, the tone was more about what independents can do and will do to remain effective, relevant and profitable.

"Vendors and retailers were genuinely interested in working together in this difficult economy and were wholeheartedly engaged in business and ministry, while moving forward to serve the Lord," he added.

The show received an attendance boost from the Episcopal Booksellers Association (EBA), which moved its annual meeting to CPE Murfreesboro from its long-term home at the Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit (RBTE) to lower the cost of attendance, provide access to specialized training and offer buyers access to a broader variety of books and gifts. The Episcopalians had met at the venue of RBTE, the majority Roman Catholic trade show, since EBA's inception in 1997.

"It has been a draining year," said Martha Melling, owner of Community Christian Store in Summerville, S.C. "We needed the encouragement and information."

Suppliers also saw positive business. "CPE is always a home run for us," said Larry Avery, a sales representative for Zondervan. "We wrote more business here [at CPE] than any other convention."

Among the main speakers at the event was Max Lucado. Munce emphasizes order-writing at CPE by motivating retailers with a reimbursement program that helps to offset travel, food and hotel expenses, based on reaching order-writing goals. Marking its 20th anniversary in 2011, the marketing group has nearly 500 stores nationwide in its membership.

Read the full report in the November issue of Christian Retailing.

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