Well, I know I was interested right away when this came to me via e-mail! I’m happy to report that out of the seven books listed only two were from a CBA affiliated publisher, that being Waterbrook Multnomah and Howard Books. *WaterBrook Multnomah was launched in September 1996 as an autonomous evangelical Christian publishing division of Random House. Howard Books is Simon and Schuster’s CBA affiliated Christian imprint. The other titles were from general market publishers, I’m assuming with distribution through Spring Arbor since this is supposed to be the only way they can officially claim to be Christian titles.
I’m also not so happy to report that the only one of these Christian titles to show up in any of the larger Christian Bookstores, on-line or otherwise, is the one published through Waterbrook Multnomah and Howard Books. Go figure.
So just in case anyone is paying attention, Christian authors who pay to be affiliated with CBA and ECPA are able to take advantage of massive shelf space in all larger Christian bookstores (thus driving book sales up whether they sell or not) AND because of the merger of Spring Arbor with Ingram, the affiliated authors can also flood general market bookstores with their very targeted fiction.
Other Christian authors who choose not to write targeted fiction or pay CBA or ECPA (even though their work officially qualifies as Christian because it has been approved by Spring Arbor) are excluded from all larger Christian Bookstores.
I would say they’re excluded from on-line larger Christian bookstores but upon further investigation, Christianbook.com (one of the larger Christian on-line sites) actually did carry all seven of the books. So it seems that while Christianbook.com is primarily exclusive to CBA and ECPA fiction, they will list books simply from Spring Arbor if the publisher is big enough. I consider that quasi-exclusive and still certainly not the place to shop for Christian fiction that appeals to all. IMO.
Upon googling I did find this article seemingly written by someone from Lifeway. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what to make of it. Take it for what it’s worth. It could be propaganda but it’s not in me to research it further. It does make for very interesting reading though and certainly makes one wonder. Here’s the link
*Excerpt from Random Houses site.