Independent Christian bookstores going out of business

Another independent Christian bookstore in my city is going out of business. Several other stores are in trouble financially due to the internet and big-box stores carrying religious material. The Word is closing their last remaining store. Sua’s, a Catholic store, is having trouble competing with K-Mart since K-Mart is carrying Nativity scenes. Wal-Mart is carrying statues. Borders and Barnes & Noble carry more Bibles and books than the local stores. Another Christian store is only surviving by selling church supplies directly to churches. I did do a small thing today to help one local store, Rainbow Books, which was mentioned in the article. I bought a card for the assistant priest who is leaving my parish for another assignment. I am especially sad by these closings, because I like to send religious cards for Christmas and birthdays; plus, the Christian stores have cards for priests and ministers that are just not available in other stores. We need to support independent locally owned Christian stores.

The Family Christian bookstore here in Mentor expanded quite a bit in 10 years, and noticed fewwr cars in the parking lot. However you wouldn’t know it by the Local catholic bookstore, Mosacks. They are right next to St. Mary’s Assumption Church and there is always lots of cars in the parking lot.

It’s good to know that our Catholic store is doing wonderfully!:extrahappy:

I haven’t had trouble finding a Christian bookstore, although the larger ones I have been in lately seem to cater to both Catholics and Protestants. The last one I was in looked like it was doing a good business. Of course, it sold a lot more than books. It had everything from portable communion and holy water sets, to clerical robes and first communion keepsakes. The card section was large. I don’t think these things are sold in big box stores.

Hopefully the customers at Mosacks aren’t just browsing to see what they will order on-line or comparing the merchandise to what Wal-Mart and K-Mart have and then buying it at the big box store. I know that Gannon’s (a Catholic store) used to have another shop, now they just have one in Parma. Half of Gannon’s is for AA related products, not religious products. I don’t know how long they have been selling the AA merchandise or if that was what they felt they needed to do to stay in business.

You know, I think it’s not only Christian bookstores but also secular bookstores like Borders etc…people just are not reading like they used to. Even newspapers are struggling because people are getting their news from radio/TV/Internet rather than the written word.
Personally, don’t let me loose in a bookstore particularly a Catholic one…I spend waaayyy too much!

Independent bookstores in general have a hard time competing against the likes of Barnes and Noble and Borders, not to mention Amazon. Then you add in the warehouse stores and it becomes even harder. The big bookstores have a larger selection and discount prices. The warehouse stores have only the most popular books but have great prices on what they sell.

The local Catholic bookstore here isn’t stocking the pope’s new book on Jesus. The owner tells people to go buy it at Costco. They get such a volume discount that their retail price is less than her wholesale price and she knows she can’t compete.

The big chain bookstores like Borders have already put most of the independent secular bookstores out of business. Now the Christian bookstores are suffering the same effects. You are correct about the changes in reading habits. Borders and merged to try to stablise their business. I do not know what the best strategy for Christian stores would be, though, seeing as other items like statues, crucifixes, etc. are now being sold in big box stores.

Has she noticed any decline in sales of crucifixes, nativity scenes, or statues since the big box retailers have started carrying those?

I don’t know. I was looking for a specific book so we talked about that. I’m crazy enough to be willing to spend a little more to support an independent business but in this case it wasn’t even an option.

Henningers, a Catholic bookstore, used to be in Willoughby Hills, but closed and the only one is in Cleveland (but I’m not sure what suberb). My brother gets a lot of his items for the parish there.

Their other store used to be downtown but moved to Brooklyn about 5 years ago. It really is not a bookstore. They don’t have much for laypersons. It is specialized now for parishes. They sell vestments, chalices, RCIA materials, etc. I went in there once and walked out in about 3 minutes because it was all stuff for priests and parish staff, nothing of interest to the general public. But they probably won’t be going out of business by catering to that niche.

The small retail outfit is a thing of the past. If you can cater to a specific group or offer really high end merchendise you can do well. Otherwise you just cannot compete in terms of price or selection with internet and large box retailers. I have a friend that owns his own hockey shop and does pretty well because the large sporting goods shops don’t stock hockey stuff, or if they do it’s all cheap and of very limited quanity. He’s able to compete with the internet retailers because most hockey players are obessed with fit and will not buy things if they can’t try it on first. Is it sad, I don’t know. I mean do we sit around and morn the fact that in times past people used to buy meat from butchers, and they’d go to a general store for canned goods, and somewhere else for produce but the supermarket came in and made the older business model obsolete?

Seriously - I think that the local parishes should do their best to promote the catholic bookstores. I don’t necessarily mean during the Mass - but after the congregation responds “Thanks be to God” (?) he could say - please stay for an announcement. It would be much better to help a family at the parish, which is doing gods will opposed to some big corporation…


I think that’s a great idea.

I know that in the past I always shop around for the best deal on a book. Many times that means But just recently our local catholic bookstore sponsored some radio spots on our local catholic radio advertising the catholic home school conference. That really made me appreciate them. Now, even though it’s generally more expensive, if they have it, I’ll buy it from them.

I went to their bookstore and bought a book and thanked them for sponsoring the ads. At the home school conference they had a table and I thanked them again.

While I was browsing around the vendors looking for a gift for my CCD students’ First Holy Communion, I decided that I should patronize their bookstore.

They’re supporting what I believe in. I should support them with my money.

There is one Catholic parish in the Diocese of Cleveland that has its own bookstore on the parish property. I do not know anybody from the parish, so I do not know how well the parish promotes the store.

I have no idea what parishes charge to advertise in their bulletins, but that would seem like a good venue for a Catholic store to reach its target audience. It occurs to me that the store closest to me doesn’t do that, so how are people even supposed to know they’re around?

One store used to advertise in my parish’s bulletin. I also saw their ad in the bulletin of another parish in my neighbourhood. Unfortunately, the store still went out of business about 3 years ago.:frowning:

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