Wednesday, February 16, 2005

How to Get Your Book into Lifeway. Part Two

Jim Shull, director of LifeWay's corporate services department, responds and here is that response. However, before you read it let me tell you that I have bolded a part of this response, which I would like your comments on--what is strong quality of content?

For those of you who don't know me very well let me clue you in on a few things about me: (1) I'm very persistent, downright agressive at times and (2) I'm from the South, so I need things simplified for me. So you guessed it--I will be responding to this email.

Yet, this time I would like your input. Should Jim Shull's answer suffice? If the book buyer is the final determinant of shelf placement, then why do I have to keep ordering books by the same author under the same publisher that Lifeway carries? Do I need to start launch some grassroots e-campaign, whereby every month my fellow Lifeway patriots, christian book club and writing group club cronies blow up Jim's email when we want to make sure that a particular author's work is on the shelf? I mean...I know a few people in most major cities, who could oblige my sick request. Or will I create a monster? Or worse will Lifeway bar me from their store and press harassment charges against me? I know...I''m way over the loop. That's why I need your input. Jim Shull's response below. Your comments coming?

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

************************************************************************************
Dear Dee,

Thank you for your email of February 15 asking for more Christian
fiction
books in LifeWay Christian Stores. I am pleased to respond.

Our fiction book assortment determination is based on several
parameters,and the final assortment is determined by the Book Buyer. One of the
mostimportant determining factor is quality of content. Other factors are the author sales history, publisher's promotional plans for titles, our
space availability, and funds available for not only Christian books but the
fiction area within the books category.

Thank you for shopping at Atlanta area LifeWay Christian Stores and for
taking the time to write and express your concerns on this issue. Your
input is important to us as we make decisions that will meet customer
needsand help people know Jesus Christ and seek His Kingdom.

Blessings,

Jim Shull
LifeWay Christian Stores

2 comments:

Sue Dent said...

Hey Dee,

Michael Robbins is the actual bookbuyer for Lifeway (as of this comment.) For a better perspective on why Lifeway will and won't carry some books you should consider this. Lifeway is the old "Baptist Bookstore" here in the south.

They stick with shelving books that come from CBA or ECPA affiliated publishers as CBA and ECPA were set up to write for their customers specifically. They only take chances on books published by non-affiliated Christian publishers when those books sell very well everywhere else. The Shack is the most recent example of this.

They're an exclusive Christian bookstore otherwise they'd pull directly from Spring Arbor without question. Spring Arbor is Ingram's Christian arm and it's where non-exclusive Christian Bookstores get their books.

Christianbook.com is fine example of an on-line exclusive Christian Bookstore. They automatically add books that are published by CBA and ECPA publishers but don't pull from Spring Arbor directly.

The reason this isn't happening as it should is because in 1997 when Ingram merged with Spring Arbor, Spring Arbor started accepting books from Christian publishers who weren't affiliated.

*gasp* Perish the thought. CBA and ECPA bookstores combat this by adding another line of protection. They send books approved by their own distributor through another round of approvalst to check for affiliation.

Both of my books are flagged for the Christian Market and can be ordered by any Christian bookstore. In spite of this, neither of my books will show up in exclusively affiliated bookstores like Lifeway or Christianbook.com. Not until they sell everywehre else first.

Hope that helps. :)

Dee S. said...

Sue, thanks for stopping by, but you need to go back and read Part One. The books that I was championing were books published under Moody which are...gasp...CBA books. The issue is those authors were Black. Gasp.

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