Barnes & Noble Catholic Book shopping

Hey everyone!

This is kind of a vent, kind of a teaching moment, and a little bit surprising.

I went to look for Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II this weekend at our local B&N. I couldn’t remember off hand how the Pope’s books would be placed, i.e. by last name? If so, what WAS his last name? I had totally forgot. I realized later it was Wojtyla. Yes, this is how it is listed and put in the stacks.

OK so, I ask a young girl who worked there, and was putting books in their proper place in the religion section, where books by Pope John Paul are. She stood up and said “Pope John Paul the II are in our catholic-ism section.” NOT Catholicism. The word Catholic with an “ism” added to the end. LOL Obviously she’s not a catholic! No biggie – but I KNOW from my previous attempts at searching for catholic books, they don’t HAVE A CATHOLIC-ISM section at this particular branch. I thought “maybe they added one?” So I start following her around the stacks, when I realize she doesn’t know there is no catholic-ism section in her store. :hmmm: We looked pretty silly you can imagine! Then she says "oh we don’t have a catholic-ism section, so it’ll be over here in “religion” desperately trying to smooth over the faux-pas. She is literally steering me away from Christianity to religion. I take one look at the stack and it’s all Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, Hinduism, Taoism, et all. So I turn around and say “NO, first of all it’s catholicism, not CATHOLIC-ism. Second of all, this section is for other-than-Christian religions. We ARE Christians.” She starts to argue this point with me. To which I interrupt to say “fine you check Religion while I check Christianity, and surely we’ll find it.” “It won’t be in Christianity” “Hon, we are Christians, in fact we were the FIRST CHRISTIANS, just so you know – for future reference.”:doh2:

As I turned the corner back into Christianity a nice Protestant duo who had heard the conversation handed me a Pope John Paul II book. :thumbsup: They didn’t have the book I was looking for, in fact only two books by our Pope John Paul II, (and I should call and ask them to order more) but I was not surprised by their location, alphabetical, in Christianity.

So I taught one person who didn’t know much about our faith, much less how to pronounce it, a little something about us and our great faith. Yet I found myself pretty irritated by such ignorance as to say we weren’t Christians. Or rather insist we were not. I found myself trying to avoid her when looking for a social study book on breastfeeding. (not much on breastfeeding there either! :shrug: )

Do you all run into similar issues/problems while shopping at secular book stores? Have you asked a local chain to carry more in the Catholic(ism) department? We have a HUGE Catholic populace here, I have to say I am surprised by the lack of books.

Ha ha ha ha ha! :rotfl:

Sorry, not laughing at your tough time…just paints a funny picture.

Around here, you grow up running into people who either tell you or don’t believe that Catholics are Christians. If you live where you’ve never heard that, consider yourself blessed on that count! But it’s sort of shabby that you had to hear it from someone who was supposed to be offering you customer service.

On the other hand, my local B&N has a great collection of works by the current and previous Popes, and even a few Scott Hahn books. They’re all in the Christianity section. They’re still in the minority, though.

I’m sure the buyer stocks what sells. If there are frequent requests for books, they will start carrying them, trust.

Here in the western North Carolina Bible Belt, we have a Books a Million locally. They have the Catholic books in a religion section, right next to Judaism. It’s not a great amount, but they have many by Scott Hahn, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict, Mother Angelica, etc. There’s more, of course, and most seem to be faithful to Catholicism, but of course there’s a few not so Catholic selections. But better than nothing.

I find myself frequenting I heard about “Benedict of Bavaria” on several shows on The Catholic Channel (Sirius 159) that was not offered at local store, so I just order electronically.

Lol. Some people are just misinformed it seems. :stuck_out_tongue:

B & N has generally been the best store for me to shop when looking for Catholic books, considering my town, nor anywhere else I happen to visit often, has a Catholic bookstore. Sure, there’s a Christian bookstore, but how many times do I waste time looking through dozens of titles on prosperity theology before I leave? Never soon enough.

True, the store will stock what sells. And generally, prosperity theology always finds it’s place in B & N, dominating Lewis, Ratzinger, and Hahn. :rolleyes:

Mostly a hit and miss. I go with a list of several books I would buy, and leave with one I’d heard about.

I have just converted to Catholicism this Easter Vigil. I do admit before I saw the light, so to speak, I was a very anti-catholic protestant…but I always knew that Catholics were Christians and knew the history and connection to St. Peter etc. I am appalled that people would not believe that Catholics are Christians! I don’t understand how they would even get that misconception. I’m glad you corrected her though!! Bravo

On a similar note, I am applying for different teaching positions since I am moving to a new area and I saw an opening in a very nice looking Christian private school…I looked them up to see if they had a specific denomination but they didn’t. They said they were Christian pure and simple and as long as you believed in Christ you could apply. I later found out that even though they considered themselves a Christian school, Catholics were not welcome…in the slightest. So I did not submit my application. The funny thing is that the Catholic schools I looked at were an “Equal Opportunity Employer” and you didn’t even have to be Catholic to teach as long as you followed the curriculum, etc.


If this had happened to me, I would have written exactly what you have written - not to a Catholic Answers forum but to the CEO of Barnes & Noble… with a copy to the manager of your local store where it happened… with a reminder of how many Catholics there are in the country and in your particular locality.

That might wake up a few people!

*“Dear God, do You know the greatest grief one of Your creatures can bear? It is the thought that she can never love You enough. ” *- St. Gemma Galgani

Y’know, if we start ordering Catholic books from B&N (they can get you just about ANY book you want, believe me) instead of from, then they just might expand their Catholic"ism" section a little more. You save on shipping (if it’s sent to the store–if you want them sent to your home, it’s comparable to amazon’s shipping rates), you keep your dollars locally, and you just might be instrumental in bringing more Catholic books onto their shelves.

Something to think about!

No, it’s fine, if you look at my signature – you’ll realize I paint pictures of my reality in a humorous tone. I am TRYING to make you laugh. At the same time I was very constrained in this post as to not sound uncharitable, but boy was I aghast yesterday during this encounter.

Same girl was at the customer service counter (where I had been earlier having a fab-u conversation with a lady about not only Janet Fitch, but about Anne Rice and her re-conversion to Catholicism – and how she’ll only write Christ-centered books. Where did she GO?) when I went to look for my BF’ing book. I really, REALLY didn’t want her to look up my social study book on BF’ing lest she hand me a similac coupon – if you catch my drift? I was pretty disgusted. I think she even said “Catholic-ology” at one point in that earlier experience. It was so crazy-silly I had to laugh.

I kinda posted wondering if I should call the store, and/or write letters. I am glad you posted this. I think I might call.

In defense of this store in particular – they allow our local Catholic Schools to fundraise there, and happily! It was one unknowledgeable employee.

I do recall though, a fav bookstore: privately owned, that DH and used to frequent, around the corner from the punk rock store that I worked at – where in-order to work there you had to complete a 50 question application on your book knowledge, plus be able to find random books in your interview. Back then it was harsh – now I respect the qualifications involved.

Today the fact that books are selling is all that counts. :shrug:

Prosperity theology has been a complete shock to me as a Catholic. A p-side friend of mine actually let me in on this brand of Christianity. :rolleyes: She belonged to a HUGE Seattle protestant church, but they didn’t hate on us – they actually respected the Nicene Creed. I kept catching a program in WA on Sundays by Casey Treat, and one day he made a shishtey comment on Sacred Tradition, rolled his eyes, paused for dramatic effect. :rolleyes: So I called my friend to see if her church was this same one – and she was humorously mad at me for asking. She then explained this prosperity Christianity to me. Seriously? SERIOUSLY??? People think they’ll get rich by giving money to the rich because they talk about God and dog Catholics???

Aye yi yi.


So now you are telling me about a large selection of books on this theology? This is like oil companies writing books on gasoline, and how to get rich buying gasoline. :banghead:

Well, if you want super-fast floor service next time you’re in B&N, take holy water and start doing a deliverance prayer over the Christianity books section. :smiley: Those employees will come flying from all directions!

Wow! That’s incredible…it reminds me of Funny Face - when they’re in the bookstore and Audrey Hepburn starts spouting off all this stuff about books. Anyway, yeah…I don’t go to B&N or Borders (our two big chains) for anything that’s Catholic - except maybe C.S. Lewis. But we are blessed with two incredible Catholic bookstores within a fifteen minute radius of where we live, so I don’t have that problem. Although, neither bookstore was carrying Christopher West’s The Good News about Sex and Marriage and I was quite sad. :frowning: :smiley:

This incident is another example of a more prevalent problem in our society–crabby store clerks.

I swear, almost everywhere I go, a lot of the time these store clerks got a smart answer for everything.

I’m not trying to put them down, and you have to offer it up, and I know they’re not paid a lot often; but really, their job is to politely assist you and not to argue with you at all.

That’s it.:slight_smile:

Just remember, they’re there to serve you.

I’ll be showing my age here, but when I was a kid, the popular saying was “The customer is always right,” and I confess to having had to, on more than one occasion, remind the clerk or cashier that it was my money paying their salary ("… so could you please put your cell phone away and do your job?").

I know they might not be paid very much, but if they are a young person working while still in school… you can’t expect them to make $100 an hour.

If they’re an adult and this is their full time job, then they should thank God that they have a job because very many, many people do not have a job of any kind.

If they don’t like what they’re doing, they should do something else. Go back to school if need be, to be trained in something they like to do.

While I can “offer it up,” I also don’t see why anyone should have to put up with that kind of “assistance.” After all, part of the mark-up on the wholesale price of the item pays for the capable assistance that should be rendered.

*“Dear God, do You know the greatest grief one of Your creatures can bear? It is the thought that she can never love You enough. ” *- St. Gemma Galgani

Awhile back I went looking for a Bible at Border’s. At first I though there were no Catholic Bibles then I found them – bottom shelf at the end of the row, I actually had to sit on the deck to look at them.

I was all set to get my Irish up, then it occurred to me that if Catholics came in looking for Bibles every day they’d be on a higher shelf.

Our B&N has a very poor selection of christian books. And the catholic ones are mixed in randomly. But I used to work at B&N a while ago. Not necessarily in religion. Just stacking the shelves. They didn’t necessarily care about arranging things alphabetically, or any other way. Just as long as they sorta got into the right area. I used to try rearranging the books alphabetically and to put things into the right areas and they would yell at me, tell me there’ no time to do that. FWIW.

was looking for CS Lewis sci-fi trilogy and found 1 vol in sci fi, one in mystery and one in religion (along with the new age stuff, not even with Christianity). but not a total loss, in the sci fi section along with Out of the Silent Planet, were a couple of his books on Christian topics, like Mere Christianity and Screwtape. this was a B&N

Actually, this is just because of the selection and the number of shelves in a rack. Some border actually have them on the top shelf.

One good thing about borders is that the gave a separate section for “Catholic & Orthodox Inspiration”. Now if they would only separate Catholic (and probably Orthodox) theology out into a separate section.

Now, when it come to philosophy, most B&N stores are better than Borders.

You think that’s weird, Chesterton’s book “Heretics” was in religion–and it’s not about religion per se, it’s about modern philosophy.

Reminds one of the Tsar’s censor burning “Orthodoxy” because he thought it was an attack on, well, Russian Orthodoxy.

If CA would cut a deal with Amazon, then we could post links here on CAF whenever any of us posters make a book suggestion or recommendation … and whenever we posters click on that link, then CA would get paid for each hit on Amazon through one of the CAF clicks.

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