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Jonathan Cahn’s ‘Shemitah’ title builds interest in end times Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 04:30 PM America/New_York

Author’s ‘Harbinger’ novel also sees a resurgence after more than 150 weeks as 'New York Times' best-seller


Jonathan Cahn’s The Mystery of the Shemitah (FrontLine/Charisma House) has charted for seven weeks on multiple best-seller lists—New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, CBA and Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA)—since its release Sept. 2. The new nonfiction title from the author of The Harbinger had 460,000 copies in print at press time.

In Shemitah (SHMEE-tah), Cahn reveals a 3,000-year-old biblical prophecy for America’s future, building on the mysterious prophecy highlighted his first book, The Harbinger—a FrontLine title that has sold in excess of 1.8 million copies.

“The Shemitah has the same trajectory as The Harbinger, even though it’s nonfiction,” said Woodley Auguste, vice president of marketing at Charisma Media.

The “Shemitah,” or Sabbath year, is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the land of Israel. Cahn says understanding this pattern is essential for understanding the prophecies and mysteries of the Bible that are still applicable today.

As of press time, Shemitah placed at No. 2 on the New York Times October Religion list only behind Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know for Sure and at No. 6 on the Nov. 2 Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous list. Additionally, Shemitah is at No. 51 on the USA Today Top 150 Books with No. 24 its best showing.

It also ranks at No. 1 on the October ECPA best-sellers list ranking above Phil Robertson’s UnPHILtered and Sarah Young’s popular devotional Jesus Calling. On the CBA list issued in October, Shemitah sits at No. 5 with The Harbinger at No. 19.

In addition, on Amazon’s list, Shemitah topped the Christian Prophecies best-sellers at press time. The list is updated hourly.

Cahn’s first book placed on the New York Times list for more than 150 weeks. It also charted as an ECPA, Publishers Weekly, USA Today Top 150 Books, CBA and Parable best-seller.

Not only has Cahn, a messianic rabbi and broadcaster, had success with his books, but also with his DVD documentary, The Harbinger Decoded (FrontLine/Charisma House), which has been syndicated by the Trinity Broadcasting Network and at press time was just shy of 100,000 copies sold. At Family Christian Stores, it was the No. 1 DVD in June.

When his second book charted on several general-market and Christian-trade lists, including Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Christian Book Distributors, sales triggered a reprint to meet market demand on the book's release date.

The Mardel Christian store chain has seen healthy sales of Cahn’s new book.

“I can tell you that his latest book is performing very well for us up to this point,” said Kevin McDonell, merchandise manager at Mardel. “It has also helped elevate sales of his first book, The Harbinger.”

A Parable Group store, Christian Publishers Outlet (CPO) in Springfield, Missouri, was the top seller of Shemitah in CBA independent stores at press time.

Bruce Erdel, owner of the 8,000-square-foot store, said that Cahn was appearing periodically on The Jim Bakker Show in nearby Branson, drawing interest from the store’s customers.

“I always ask people where they heard about a book just for intelligence, for my own purposes too, to help us better manage the store,” Erdel said. “With his appearance on The Jim Bakker Show before the book was out, we got several inquiries, so immediately we set it up as a prebuy.”

Using a poster from Charisma Media to draw attention, CPO created an endcap of Shemitah, Harbinger and similarly themed books and DVDs such as John Hagee’s The Four Blood Moons (Worthy Publishing); Cahn, a three-DVD set of the author’s teachings (WND Films); and The Harbinger Decoded DVD (Charisma House).

“Because Jim Bakker is in the area, that spurred interest early on, and we put a really good price on it too,” Erdel said. “We’ve been sale-pricing it since it’s been out, and we’ve kept our endcap up.”

With this emphasis, the store has sold big with Shemitah, but also has seen a resurgence of The Harbinger.

Although television ministries offer Cahn items direct to viewers, the stores still play a significant role in sales.

“The cool thing is that people, when they see things on TV and when they hear things on the radio, they think of me as a resource where they can get those things,” Erdel said.

Erdel thinks the mystery of the prophetic is boosting sales.

“I just think the mystery of it all it just intrigues people, all the different things that are going on,” he said. “Many people find the topic fascinating and some of the discoveries that he has made and such kind of just mystifies people to some degree.”

To get the word out about Shemitah, Cahn has appeared on a number of shows besides The Jim Bakker Show, including The 700 Club and Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural. Charisma Media has run 30-second spots on TheBlaze TV, FOX Business, FOX News and the INSP Network as well as on radio broadcasts “The Laura Ingraham Show” and “The Mark Levin Show.” —Johnson