the road ahead

And the Winner Is . . .
January 19, 2009, 1:27 am
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality


As we begin 2009, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the top 10 ECPA best sellers for 2008 in light of the following questions:

  • What does this top 10 list tell us about the reading preferences of those who buy Christian books?
  • What subject categories are not included in this list?
  • Do these books represent what the body of Christ wants to share with the world?

Over the next few blog posts, I want to look at each question in detail. I’d like your insights and reactions as well. So let me know your thoughts as we start this new year in publishing.


5 Comments so far
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I came across your site, and hoped you might be interested in my Christ-based book. I’m a college English professor and ordained deacon who has authored a soon-to-be released book called Teach and Reach for Classroom Miracles! Lessons on Teaching with Love. It’s being published through CSS/Faithwalk Publishing and aimed primarily at teachers, youth leaders, and others who have the opportunity to empower others through love. If you are interested, you may visit my site at My book is available for pre ordering through and
Thank you for letting me share.
God bless!
Wendy Byard

Comment by Wendy Byard

Looking at the top 10 I see books that focus on:
1) Stories and story telling
2) Relationships (men, women, marriage)
3) Prophecy

I also notice that NavPress’ titles aren’t currently in the top 50, the NavPress niche doesn’t seem to overlap much with the ECPA trade markets.

Comment by Peter Udall

I think it is a hard target to hit–somewhere that eternal truth overlaps with flavor of the month. My own titles with NavPress were more concerned with the former (spiritual disciplines, the Christian year, the day-to-day matters of faithful ministry and deeper aspects of the life of Jesus) and I suspect marketing had a hard time making any of that interesting to more mercurial tastes of readers and bottom-line booksellers. I mean no disrespect to anyone. I am just saying that, as St. Paul tells us, many have, as it were, “itching ears” (or eyes!) and like the folk at the Areopagus are interested in nothing but telling or hearing something “new.” Of course, the irony is that Christians, in the words of Frederica Mathewes-Green, are those who are proud to say they have never had an original thought! All of our writing is a footnote to Jesus, the prophets and Paul! I wish, on the one hand, I were more marketable (I am too liturgical for an evangelical press and too evangelicas for a liturgical press) as I would like to sell more books for you and for myself… then again, seeing some of the stuff on the list, I am happy to toil away, I hope faithfully, in relative obscurity.

Comment by Tom Steagald

I agree with Peter Udall that relationships seem to be a strong theme–human relationships (particularly family), and intimacy with God. There also seems to be a curiosity about end times and the afterlife.

NavPress titles may not be on the ECPA top 50, but in the largest Christian bookstore in Moncton, NB, Canada one NavPress title outsold every one of the ECPA top 50 in December 2008. HOPE FOR WHOLENESS: THE SPIRITUAL PATH TO FREEDOM FROM DEPRESSION was that store’s top seller!

Comment by Sharon Fawcett

I have read some of these books and may read others. I would guess that they are successful for two reasons, one being that word of mouth spreads among Christians. We are hungry for relevant and helpful resources. I am leading a study of the Shack tonight. I watched the Gosselins last night and would enjoy their book. Just because something becomes popular, that doesn’t make it somehow bad or trivial. Secondly, I am interested in books I will benefit from and that I could recommend to my friends and church members. I watch for favorite writers, themes, etc. I look for a good value, every one needs to do that right now.
I think this blog is a good idea. Blessings.

Comment by Susan Beckett

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