The CBA (Christian Book Distributors) is an acronym largely used to reference Christian publishing or the Christian marketplace. The ABA (American Booksellers Association) is its general, or secular, counterpart. Recently it was announced that Harper Collins (a secular company) has purchased Thomas Nelson Publishing (a CBA company). Harper Collins also owns Zondervan, another CBA publisher.
So what does this mean for Christian authors who want to publish in the CBA or the Christian marketplace?
No one is quite sure yet. But it does mean that the content coming out of Thomas Nelson in the future will have to be approved by higher-ups who may or may not find a Christian worldview and the Christian message favorable.
My agent, Steve Laube, has posts on his blog about it, from today and yesterday. CLICK HERE TO READ IT
Could this be an end to Christian fiction as we know it? Perhaps. If the demand is not there. Christian readers don't realize that when they share books or buy them at resale shops they are doing a disservice to Christian authors. I understand that readers want to be good stewards of their money, but if we're going to get serious about standing strong in the end times, we need to support Christian authors -- and other Christian talent.
How many of you have seen the movie Courageous? What about the movie Fireproof? If you have only borrowed the DVDs (or you're waiting to borrow them) from your church library, you're not doing Christian artists any favors.
I personally think most Christians are CHEAP. There I said it. Stone me. But it's so true. Many good Christian folks would rather beg and borrow than buy. This does our Christian publishing industry no good.
If our aim is to get Christ's message of love and redemption out in the form of fiction, we have to cultivate readers. But readers need to do their part too. They need to buy our books! And we, as authors, have a daunting job: We have to write books that readers want to buy!
But that in itself poses another set of issues.
Have you heard of the book Heaven is For Real? It's published by Thomas Nelson. Readers, both Christian and secular, are grabbing it off of store shelves. What do you think is the reason for it? I haven't read it, but I wonder if the Christian message has been watered down to a feel good story rather than the truth of our sin, which sent Jesus Christ to the cross.
Will the Christian message be watered down in the future, so publishers can sell, sell, sell and make money, money, money?
What do you think?