Cooke and Harvest House. Plus many Christian denominations operate a publishing arm. All told over Christian bookstores shuttered in the past three years, including LifeWay and Family Christian, leaving some 2, or so stores still in operation.
But what did LifeWay in was more than the impact of Amazon or the lack of interest in shopping at a Christian bookstore. LifeWay, as the bookselling arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, shifted from selling a broad range of faith-based books to ones that largely promoted Southern Baptist perspectives.
Falling sales force Family Christian to close stores
It was a mixed bag, but if they had all done it well, they would have had a longer life. The key advantage for independent Christian bookstore owners is the passion they bring to serving the spiritual needs of the community. It is their calling, not just selling books, but helping people in their spiritual journey. Successful independent book store owners also curate their product selection to the wide range of faith preferences in the community, unlike LifeWay which took a top down, rather than an across-the-denominational-divide approach.
Despite the fact that the number of adults who regularly attend religious services has been declining, according to Pew Research Center, three-quarters of Americans identify with the Christian faith, per the latest Gallup survey. A defining characteristic of these highly-religious Americans is they are committed readers, as well as committed believers.
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Amazon, the report said, had cut into the supplier's Bible business. Over the years, announcements from the company touted donations to hospitals, partnerships with charitable efforts, campaigns to raise money to help orphans and the less fortunate, a summer reading program, and hosting best-selling and well-known Christian authors at its stores.
Family Christian Stores Closes All Locations
Over the years it expanded to a nationwide chain. It has struggled to turn its sales around. The Grand Rapids-based Family Christian chain, including the store in Troy, is closing after 85 years in business.