Christian Retailing

Growing fiction category offers ‘escape' Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Thursday, 28 May 2009 02:16 PM America/New_York

Defying current sales trends, Christian fiction continues to grow-offering a bright spot for retailers, publishers and readers during a bleak economy.

In the midst of the economic recession, some publishers are targeting growth while others are launching new fiction lines for the first time. They attribute the growth to consumers' desire to escape their day-to-day challenges-at a reasonable price.

Thomas Nelson's fiction has seen double-digit growth this year over the previous 12 months, translating to "millions in revenue," according to Allen Arnold, senior vice president and publisher, fiction. Weeks into the new fiscal year, the company is "projecting aggressive growth" for the next year, which includes summer releases from Ted Dekker, Colleen Coble, T.L. Hines and Eric Wilson.

"No publishing group is bulletproof, but fiction that offers hope is one of the best places to be right now," Arnold said.

Shannon Marchese, senior editor, fiction for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, pointed to a parallel between fiction's popularity during the current recession and previous economic troughs.

"Historically speaking, novels have been an affordable means of entertainment and 'escape,' so to speak," she said. "The Wizard of Oz is one of the best examples, in both book and film form, of a very popular choice, written during an economic shift and attracting fans during the Great Depression.

"(In) an environment where it's difficult to turn on the news, I believe fiction that offers a different view of the world, like fantastical or allegorical stories or some of the sub-genres, with embedded truth will draw an audience looking for a good story and a bright spot."

Read the full report in the June 6 issue of Christian Retailing.