Christian Retailing

Nelson gives away digital content to help ‘free format’ Print Email
Written by Staff   
Tuesday, 31 March 2009 08:53 AM America/New_York
Audio and e-book offers are applauded, but raise some concerns about author royalties

Thomas Nelson is giving consumers free audio and electronic editions of some of its books in a move that has been welcomed for promoting digital publishing.

altThe NelsonFree program that lets purchasers of print copies download listening and e-versions at no extra cost will initially be limited to titles from its Business and Culture division, but could be extended to other categories if successful.

altNelsonFree launched last month with the release of Scott McKain’s Collapse of Distinction and Michael Franzese’s I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse, retailing for $24.99 and $22.99, respectively. The program is being promoted on the covers with a red logo. Ten other Nelson titles will be made available in the program before the end of the year.

“The book is, in a sense, trapped by its format,” said Joel Miller, publisher of Nelson’s Business and Culture division. The consumer, too, was “locked into choosing one format over another or shelling out scarce funds for the same book in different wrappers,” he added.

The NelsonFree initiative has been welcomed by other leaders in the industry, though some expressed concern about the impact on authors if the practice was adopted widely.

Zondervan President Moe Girkins applauded the Nelson program. “I think it’s great,” she said. “We are all trying to figure out the whole digital world, and the more we explore and try things, the better off we are all going to be.”

Her company would not be following suit, though, focusing instead on its Symtio program launched last fall, she added. Twenty other publishers have so far contracted to join the program, which lets stores sell gift cards giving online access to downloads of audio editions of specific books.

By the end of March, more than 1,000 titles were due to be available on Symtio, with nearly 400 stores offering the purchases. In addition, the company was working on developing iPhone applications for some of its content, Girkins said.

She was glad that NelsonFree was not on a broad scale “because I would not want people to start considering digital content as free content,” Girkins added. More content in the future would be published digitally but not in print, so it was important to protect authors, she told Christian Retailing.

Book agent Chip MacGregor expressed similar reservations. Though supportive of giving away books to help build readership, which NelsonFree might encourage, he said losing two potential income streams could see authors being further “squeezed” on royalties. “Everybody wants things for free in this market,” he said. “But I work with authors who are trying to make a living with words, so I need to figure out how the authors I represent will get paid a reasonable wage.”

At Baker Publishing Group, publisher Dwight Baker said the company was “steadily moving into facilitating digital formats,” but did not provide content for free. “Our company has an obligation to our authors to generate royalty income from all unique uses of their fine works.”

Dan Balow, publisher for Oasis Audio, which currently licenses more than 100 Nelson books including titles by popular novelist Ted Dekker, said the NelsonFree initiative was creative, perhaps best-suited “for titles where the audio will probably not sell enough to make money anyway.”

NelsonFree follows and broadens a path first taken by Crossway Books & Bibles, which since 2005 has given consumers who buy books at the company’s Web site access to a free PDF download of the title. Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Geoff Dennis said the initiative had seen a 60% increase in direct-to-consumer sales on some titles.

Crossway’s program does not include audio as few of its titles were in listening editions, he said. Meanwhile, around a third of the 180,000 people who purchased Crossway’s new ESV (English Standard Version) Study Bible since its launch last fall had signed up for the online edition offered free, Dennis said—many more than had been expected.

Miller said NelsonFree would initially be available at general market outlets, where the business titles were more widely available, but he expected them to be on sale in Christian stores too. The authors participating in the program were excited that their books were “voices in the expanding conversation about what publishing in a digital age looks like.”

Merkh named Howard publisher, Dobson steps down Print Email
Written by Cameron Conant   
Monday, 06 April 2009 08:52 AM America/New_York
Publishing veteran takes over Simon & Schuster imprint, Focus founder to continue radio program

altChristian publishing veteran Jonathan Merkh has been named vice president and publisher of Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Meanwhile, Focus on the Family founder and author James Dobson has stepped down as board chairman of the nonprofit organization that he founded 32 years ago, but he will continue to appear on its popular daily radio program as well as speak out on moral issues.

Merkh joined West Monroe, La.-based Howard Books last month after recently joining the William Morris Agency as an agent for the Hollywood talent agency’s Book Department. Merkh resigned last year as vice president of Guideposts Books. After 14 years, Merkh resigned from Thomas Nelson in November 2006 as senior vice president and publisher of Nelson Books.

Merkh was “well-known and highly regarded in both the CBA community and the wider world of publishing,” said Mark Gompertz, executive vice president of Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone Fireside division. “He is the right person to help us grow this area of our publishing, expanding upon the solid foundation built by John Howard and the rest of Howard Books staff.”

In his position, Merkh will be responsible for all the editorial and marketing functions of Howard Books and the senior management team. John Howard, who will continue to serve as vice president and publisher, will report to Merkh. Simon & Schuster officials said that both men would have the same title. New York City-based Simon & Schuster acquired Howard Publishing in February 2006 and changed its name to Howard Books.

Dobson’s wife, Shirley—who serves as National Day of Prayer chairman—also stepped down in February from the Focus board of directors. Focus officials said the Dobsons’ decision follows a transition plan begun six years ago, when James Dobson stepped down as president in order to lessen his administrative burden. Executive leadership was handed to Don Hodel in 2003, and then to Jim Daly in 2005.

Besides continuing to host the “Focus on the Family” radio broadcast, Dobson, 72, will also continue to write the organization’s newsletter, sent to 1.6 million people monthly. Dobson’s books include The New Strong-Willed Child and Bringing Up Boys (both Tyndale House Publishers).

Last fall, Focus eliminated more than 200 staff positions, its largest employee cutback ever, the Associated Press reported.

‘Fireproof’ makers readying for next film Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 06 April 2009 08:50 AM America/New_York
‘Bigger budget, better quality’ movie planned, broadcasters are told

The makers of the surprise hit Fireproof (Provident-Integrity Distribution) are in “a season of prayer” regarding the follow-up to the top independent movie release of 2008, although they expect to have a budget five times larger than the pro-marriage drama.

altA keynote speaker during the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Convention, Fireproof Director Alex Kendrick said the yet-unnamed film would have an expected budget of $2.5 million.

“Our next movie will be a bigger budget, (and) God willing, better quality (film),” Kendrick, who co-produced Fireproof with his brother, Stephen, said during an NRB session. “We’re taking what we learned from the three previous movies and applying it to the next one. ... We think we know (the plot of the next movie), but we’re still in a season of prayer. And we’re not going to proceed until we know.”

Monique Sondag, a publicist for Fireproof, said the plot and details for the next Sherwood Pictures movie by the Kendricks will be revealed later this year.

Boosted by grass-roots support and bulk ticket purchases from churchgoers as well as some Christian retailers, Fireproof made $33.3 million at the box office, despite a modest $500,000 budget. The movie, which stars Kirk Cameron as a firefighter who turns to God to save his marriage, has been a top-selling DVD at Christian retail since it was released on video Jan. 27.

Additionally, The Love Dare (B&H Books/B&H Publishing Group), a focal point of Fireproof and written by the Kendrick brothers, has spent more than 20 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and has nearly 2.2 million copies in print.

Fireproof’’s predecessor Facing the Giants—also co-produced by the Kendricks—was created by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., with an all-volunteer cast and $100,000 budget. The film took in $10 million in theaters and remains a top-selling DVD. It has since been subtitled into 13 languages and dubbed into seven languages, and has sold well in Christian stores.

Sherwood Pictures’ first film, Flywheel, has sold more than 100,000 DVD copies.

Besides Kendrick, other Christian authors who spoke at NRB—held Feb. 7-10 in Nashville—included Anne Graham Lotz, Shaunti Feldhahn, John MacArthur, Kerry Shook and Charles Stanley.

The event drew several publishing houses, including Crossway Books & Bibles, Tyndale House Publishers, Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. Tyndale House Corporate Publicist Mavis Sanders said the convention had “a lot of ministry value” and was “a great place” to promote new titles such as Tony Dungy’s Uncommon.

Organizers estimated total attendance was down about 5% from the 2008 convention, which drew about 6,000 people and 300 vendors. NRB Vice President of Communications David Keith told Christian Retailing that attendance was “slightly soft … but we’re very pleased in light of the economy.”

Bargain, mass-market books on the rise Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 06 April 2009 08:38 AM America/New_York
Troubled economy causes shift to ‘value-focused retail’

An upswing in sales of bargain books and mass-market paperbacks is helping retailers and publishers during the economic slowdown.

altDwight Baker, president of Baker Publishing Group, has noticed the renewed interest in bargain books and said his company is consistently moving skids of product that were previously housed “for months.”

“There’s never been an easier time to sell bargain,” he told Christian Retailing. “All of the books we have in that category, we have accounts lining up, and we can’t produce them fast enough. It’s a very value-focused retail right now.”

Suppliers offer ‘bailout’ deals Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Tuesday, 31 March 2009 08:36 AM America/New_York
Promotions help maintain and boost sales for retailers in uncertain economic climate

altAs cash-strapped consumers continue to keep a tight check on their wallets in the sliding economy, several Christian suppliers, publishers and distributors have launched promotions designed to “offer help” to bookstores.

Retailers welcomed the special offers, which they say have helped maintain and even boost sales in an uncertain economic climate.

John Gianotti, owner of Moments With Majesty Christian Books & Gifts in Pickerington, Ohio, told Christian Retailing that “the offer was too good to pass up” for apparel company Gardenfire’s “Bailout Package”—a promotion that plays off the government’s much-publicized financial rescue effort for troubled corporations.

Retailers can purchase Gardenfire’s entire adult line—featuring more than 70 designs—at $4.95 per shirt, which they then sell for $9.99 a piece.

“It’s a very good offer because the shirts typically retail for $14.99 and up,” Gianotti said. “What I’m seeing is the discounted shirts are flying off the shelf. People are more price-conscious.”

Michael Brink, apparel and music buyer for Arrowhead Parable Christian Store in Johnson City, N.Y., said the Gardenfire promotion had “definitely helped boost sales.”

“It has gotten traffic from our customers in the store,” he said. “In this economy, being able to offer something that strikes as a good deal makes people more willing to buy something that day.”

Gardenfire owner Jayme Brandt said he came up with the Bailout Package idea after hearing about the tough economic climate facing Christian bookstores.

“As we spoke more and more with independent stores during this economic crisis, we decided to offer help,” said Brandt, who started Eureka Springs, Ark.-based Gardenfire in 2007 after serving as a designer for several years for Kerusso and Red Letter 9. “We’ve had great response. It is opening new accounts for us.”

Crossway Books & Bibles recently launched an initiative to help retailers stimulate and drive sales in the year’s first quarter.

“We recognize that things have been very difficult for many CBA retailers,” said Crossway Executive Vice President for Sales and Marketing Geoff Dennis. “Crossway wants to do what we can to help relieve some of the pressure Christian retailers are feeling.”

The Retailer Recession Relief Program, which runs through April 15, was offered to all independent retailers and church bookstores. The components of the initiative include a 55% discount on all Crossway backlist titles and a delayed payment due date for all orders (May 15).

Thomas Nelson Vice President of Independent Retail/Direct to Church Sales Tom Knight said the company offers promotions—although not new because of the economy—“that drive traffic and offer great value” for retailers.

“This includes our ‘Best-seller of the Month’ promotion, which offers top titles at a significant discount,” Knight said. “We also offer deep discount promotions in areas such as reference products, which allow Christian retailers to showcase the depth of their inventory selection. … In some cases, our retail partners have been pleasantly surprised to hear the news that their sales with us has grown in such a difficult (economic) environment.”

Ruth Ann Page, book buyer for Cedar Springs Christian Stores in Knoxville, Tenn., said the stores’ three locations “appreciate the opportunity to pass on savings” from the Best-seller of the Month promotion.

“We make displays highlighting their best-sellers at 40% off,” said Page, noting Zondervan also offers a similar promotion. “We have a separate display for the $5 deals, particularly the fiction. We often select one of the $5 deals to display at the cash register for an impulse buy.”

The Nelson and Zondervan promotions help retailers, according to Page. “We have customers who are watching the bottom line closely,” she said. “It is nice to be able to offer them new, undated books on a great deal.”

Meanwhile, Joanna Price, director of marketing and promotions for New Day Christian Distributors, said the company’s free freight offer for any order of $300 or more had become more attractive for retailers in light of the economy.

“Money is tight and everyone is looking for ways to save money and time,” she said. “Making one call, fax, e-mail or electronic order to a distributor is much faster than calling several labels, receiving several invoices and writing several checks. When we can offer them convenience and save them money, it’s a win-win for them.”

Nola Haney, sales manager for Barbour Publishing, said 400 to 500 stores typically take advantage of the company’s “Super Christmas Sale” promotion—featuring free freight to retailers if they purchase the promotion’s nine different Christmas products, including a fiction title, CD and recipe books.

Book event showcases debate with well-known atheist Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 04:21 PM America/New_York
Organizers of ‘extreme value’ show say panels will garner attention of book lovers, media

cbe logoThe Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) is hoping to boost attendance and draw media attention for its new, consumer-oriented Christian Book Expo (CBE) this month by featuring well-known atheist Christopher Hitchens.

Scheduled for March 19-22 in Dallas, CBE will feature the discussion panel “Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?” with Hitchens—author of God Is Not Great (Twelve/Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group USA)—debating Douglas Wilson, author of Is Christianity Good for the World? (Canon Press); Lee Strobel, author of The Case for the Real Jesus (Zondervan); William Lane Craig, author of Reasonable Faith (Crossway Books & Bibles); and James Denison, author of Wrestling With God (Tyndale House Publishers).

“It will … help Christians defend their faith,” ECPA President Mark Kuyper told Christian Retailing. “People have probably never heard an apologetic debate on this level before. … The discussion panel topics and panelists selected are sure to garner the attention of book lovers and media alike.”

The other panels include “The Emerging Church,” “A Guided Tour of Heaven and Hell,” “Living Christianly in a Post-Christian Culture” and “What Is the Gospel?” CBE will also feature a screening of Collision, a documentary of a debate between Hitchens and Wilson.

To be held at the Dallas Convention Center, CBE will feature numerous authors speaking, signing books, conducting workshops and meeting consumers, a KidZone program, a Bible exhibit and worship events as well as an exhibition floor.

Single-day admission will be $29, with a three-day ticket costing $59. A $5-off coupon will be available through churches, with a further $5 coupon to be offered by publishers, ministries and retailers, ECPA said. Attendees who are under 17 will be allowed in free.

Although the economy is in a tailspin, Kuyper is hoping for up to 20,000 attendees at CBE.

“I feel encouraged about attendee turnout because it’s such an extreme value,” Kuyper said. “This is probably the largest Christian conference. With 150 workshops by more than 220 authors, and discount prices as low as $19, that’s an extreme value in the world of Christian conferences. An event like this is just what people are looking for because they’re getting a lot of value for the money. More than anything, the economy could drive attendance.”

As far as exhibitors, approximately 64 publishers, writers groups and publishing-affiliated companies have committed to participate, Kuyper said. Some publishers have joined forces to be able to participate in the event. Kuyper noted that Focus on the Family opted out of using a 1,000-square-foot area, instead deciding to work out of the Tyndale House Publishers booth.

“It’s a first-time event, and there’s an element of risk involved,” he said. “A handful of smaller publishers have come in and gone out. Basically, they said, ‘In our current economy, we’re having to cut back.’ ”

Organizers have reserved almost 400,000 square feet of space at the Dallas Convention Center. “The convention services company said that we’re doing much better than any first-year show and in this economy, it’s phenomenal,” Kuyper said.

Through its CBE partners—Christianity Today magazine, Christian Book Distributors, and Family Christian Stores—ECPA has been promoting the event to churches and consumers, who can purchase products at the event. Family will handle sales from the booths of 14 publishers. Additionally, Logos Bookstore in Dallas will handle sales for InterVarsity Press.

Kuyper is also hoping for increased interest in ECPA’s annual book awards at CBE. Thomas Nelson and Baker Publishing Group lead the field in this year’s Christian Book Awards.

Two hundred and eighteen titles published in 2008 were reviewed by 72 judges, with the winners to be announced the first night of CBE, March 19. The awards were previously announced at the International Christian Retail Show.

Zondervan relaxes direct-orders bar Print Email
Written by Staff   
Thursday, 15 January 2009 04:20 PM America/New_York

Munce Group members given waiver to help improve promotion returns

altZondervan has relaxed a block on direct-order service to small independent retailers that forced them to get their products from distributors.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based publisher has agreed to fulfill orders for smaller accounts that are members of the Munce Group after representations to Zondervan from the leading marketing company.

Although it affects only a small number of stores, the move means that they will be able to buy from Zondervan without meeting the usual minimum level required. Zondervan introduced the cut-off two years ago as part of an effort to encourage greater supply chain efficiencies in the Christian retail channel.

Christian suppliers see overseas ‘growth’ opportunities Print Email
Written by Staff   
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 04:19 PM America/New_York

International shoppers at second annual Marketsquare event looking for books, Bibles, gifts

With American bookstores feeling the pinch of an economic downtown, Christian suppliers are finding windows of opportunity in developing countries that are reporting retail growth.

Recently released statistics compiled from surveys conducted at the Christian Trade Association International’s (CTAI) second annual Marketsquare International document a growth trend in certain markets, including Nigeria and South Africa.

Of the 74 international buyers attending the show, 24% reported growth and 37% reported strong growth.

powell“We look around America and see what’s happening and assume what’s happening here is happening around the world and to a certain extent, it’s true,” Jim Powell, president of CTAI, told Christian Retailing. “I think there are places in Africa, Asia, Latin America (that) are seeing reasonable sales growth despite what we’re experiencing in the United States.”

When asked for their product interests, (90%) of Marketsquare attendees said they were interested in purchasing books, followed by Bibles (81%), gifts (52%) with music, cards and apparel at 29% each and 29% planning to negotiate translation rights. Companies that participated in Marketsquare—held Jan. 14-17 in Atlanta—included Dicksons, Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Harvest House Publishers, Brownlow Gifts, DaySpring Cards and Strang Communications.

Powell said he was “very pleased” with the turnout. A “different kind of buyer” is present at Marketsquare, he pointed out, explaining that a buyer he knows routinely ships a 40-foot container of product from the U.S. and many overseas retailers buy in bulk from the exhibitors.

On the floor, some exhibitors reported traffic as “slow” during various parts of the event, but several were more enthusiastic about their sales.

“It was really busy in the booth,” said Michele Maguire, national account manager at Standard Publishing, a first-time exhibitor. “We made good contacts, written some orders.”

Most of the buyers at Marketsquare (95%) said they attend CBA’s annual International Christian Retail Show in July, but they still felt it was important to attend a winter show as well.

Although visa problems last year allowed for only a couple of attendees from Nigeria, this year the country had the largest constituency. Edith Anyiwo, president of Joshua’s Bookmart in Puyallup, Nigeria, said she enjoyed Marketsquare because it saved money and energy.

“Most of my suppliers are here and it’s not as big as the usual book convention,” she said. “It’s easier for me to walk around, and it’s cost-effective.”

Powell said tentative plans were being made for Marketsquare International 2010, and he anticipated returning to Atlanta, which he said is a “perfect international hub.”

Surprise hit drama ‘Fireproof’ breaks DVD sales record Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 04:18 PM America/New_York

Popularity of pro-marriage film ‘indicates a broad market’ for faith-based entertainment

fireproof dvdAfter shocking Hollywood by becoming the top independent movie release of 2008, the surprise hit drama Fireproof has made a big splash again, with its DVD release.

Released on video Jan. 27, Fireproof (Provident Films/Provident-Integrity Distribution) had the best first-week results ever in the Christian retail channel, breaking the previous DVD sales record set by Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (Big Idea/Word Distribution) in 2004, according to Provident Films.

Fireproof—which stars Kirk Cameron as a firefighter who seeks God to rescue his marriage—finished atop the SoundScan Christian Videos list for sales the week ending Feb. 1.

Additionally, the pro-marriage film was ranked No. 2 in DVD sales among mass-market retailers during its first week out. Fireproof also was the fourth-most rented DVD nationwide during the same time period, according to Provident Films.

“We are thrilled with the response both at Christian retail and mass-market retailers,” said Bob Rubin, executive vice president for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which distributed the DVD at mass-market retail. “This strong sales performance is especially impressive in light of today’s economic climate and clearly indicates a broad market for faith-based entertainment.”

Fireproof also won this year’s John Templeton Foundation Epiphany Prize for Inspiring Movie. The film received the $100,000 Epiphany Prize for Film during the 17th Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards & Report to the Entertainment Industry, held Feb. 12 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Fireproof has made $33.3 million since it debuted at No. 4 last September with $6.8 million total receipts in just 839 theaters, according to

Fireproof had the highest pre-sell of any Christian DVD ever,” Christian Book Distributors President Ray Hendrickson told Christian Retailing. “The Love Dare sales have been excellent.”

The Love Dare (B&H Books/B&H Publishing Group)—a book that was a focal point of the movie and written by the film’s co-producing brothers Stephen and Alex Kendrick—has sold more than a million copies, B&H officials said. Ranked near the top of the New York Times Paperback Advice best-seller list since its release last September, The Love Dare has also been a fixture in the top 10 best-seller lists of CBA and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

Nearly 500 people attended a special DVD release party Jan. 26 at Christian Supply in Spartanburg, S.C., which featured Stephen Kendrick as well as several Fireproof cast members, including Erin Bethea, Ken Bevel, Harris Malcom and Jason McLeod.

Before Fireproof hit theaters last fall, Christian Supply owner Chuck Wallington sent out a personal message in an e-mail, challenging ministry leaders to see the film and then generate support for the movie.

“He’s (Wallington) been a great partner throughout the film, so the guys wanted to make the trip (to Christian Supply) to honor a retailer (who was) working so hard to get the word out about the film,” Monique Sondag, a publicist for Fireproof, told Christian Retailing

‘A positive mood’ at Munce Group’s CPE Hershey event Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 04:15 PM America/New_York

Suppliers ‘pleasantly surprised’ at number of independent retailers who came to purchase products

Despite economic hard times, the Munce Group’s Christian Product Expo (CPE) Hershey—formerly called CPE Regionals East—recently drew nearly an identical number of retailers as the 2008 show, and Christian bookstore representatives were in an upbeat mood.

Held Jan. 11-13 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pa., CPE Hershey attracted more than 200 independent retailers and 80 suppliers.

kirk“The main difference was that we had stores attend from many states across the country including Texas, Arizona and California,” Munce Group Chief Operating Officer Kirk Blank told Christian Retailing. “In years past, we generally had stores from the northeast region of the country.”

The stores from Texas, Arizona and California would have likely attended the marketing company’s CPE Regionals West in Riverside, Calif., normally held in January. But Munce scrapped that show last fall—citing a glut of trade events scheduled for that time frame.

“I did have the thought that if it were not right in our backyard, I’d have had to think twice about going, but I’m so glad I went,” Margaret Umble, owner of J.O.Y. Bookstore in Sinking Spring, Pa., told Christian Retailing. “I bought very carefully at Hershey this year. … The mood was ‘we don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.’ ”

Jack and Ruth Ann Savage, owners of Jack’s Religious Gift Shop in Salisbury, Md., took two employees from their store to CPE Hershey, a four-hour drive from their business.

“We wouldn’t have gone if it was just a West Coast show,” Jack Savage said. “Hershey’s a good show, good fellowship, good products and easy buying. I thought it was quite a positive mood. I was surprised. They (retailers) seemed to be buying good. I didn’t catch a whole lot of discouragement from retailers.”

Russ Schwartz, key account manager for Thomas Nelson’s independent Christian retail sales, said sales were up approximately 30% over the previous year, with slightly more actual orders.

“We stayed busy the entire time with little downtime,” he said. “Most stores did mention that sales have either been flat or down, but many that we talked with are encouraged by the opportunities that they still have. Small shows like the CPE show are beneficial to Thomas Nelson as we are able to interact with smaller retailers and accounts.”

The theme for CPE Hershey was based on Psalm 34:8-9, “Taste and see that the Lord is good … .” The event featured a Bible conference led by Moody Publishers author and pastor Bill Rieser and Zondervan author and speaker Ronda Rich as well as comedian Charles Marshall and music from Brian Free & Assurance and Daniel Kirkley.

“Overall, we thought CPE Hershey was a success,” Blank said. “Retailers were eager to share ideas and find solutions as well as take advantage of the show specials from the vendors. Suppliers were pleasantly surprised at the amount of retailers who came to purchase products.”

Munce’s CPE Nashville is scheduled for Sept. 13-15 in the Nashville area. CPE Hershey is planned for Jan. 17-19, 2010.

CBA launches financial help initiative for retailers Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 04:14 PM America/New_York

Campaign offering biblical advice books seeks to provide ‘timely resource to families in need’

In response to the growing economic turmoil, CBA has launched an initiative to provide consumers with biblical financial help through their local Christian bookstore.

The retailers trade association has partnered with Focus on the Family, Salem Radio and Tyndale House Publishers for the Campaign Financial Aid (CFA) initiative, which will be supported by a national marketing campaign.

Retailers can participate in a number of ways, including offering recently released financial advice books such as Faith-Based Family Finances: Let Go of Worry and Grow in Confidence (Tyndale House Publishers) and Surviving Financial Meltdown: Confident Decisions in an Uncertain World (Focus on the Family/Tyndale House) by Ron Blue and Jeremy White. Surviving Financial Meltdown will be available to stores in heavily discounted promotional packs, including four free to give away to those customers who cannot afford it, CBA said.

The trade association previously partnered with Tyndale House on the successful Operation Worship Bible NLT campaign, through which CBA stores saw thousands of copies donated to U.S. military personnel overseas.

riskey“As we experienced with the Operation Worship campaign, when we work in partnership to provide a resource to consumers with real ministry impact, our reach is far greater,” said Curtis Riskey, CBA’s strategic solutions executive. He added that the initiative will provide a “timely resource to families in need across the country.”

Retailers can also download CFA signage at or to promote the financial products section of their stores. Additionally, retailers can download posters, postcards, newspaper ads, bagstuffers and e-mail templates to promote the campaign to their local communities.

Retailers are also encouraged to bring local financial advisers for in-store events, which could increase store traffic and provide a connection point for those in need, CBA said.