The Christian book market is big and it is booming. The Christian church has long been the source of a vast amount of written content, with the Guttenburg Bible being perhaps the first truly self-published book.
1. Can Christian books be best sellers?
According to the ECPA the best selling Christian books as at March 2023 were as follows:
10 Million + copies sold
- The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman
- Jesus Calling – Sarah Young
- Jesus Calling with scripture references – Sarah Young
- Jesus Calling – Large Text with Full Scripture – Sarah Young
- The Purpose Drive Life – Rick Warren
1 Million + copies sold
- Get out of your head – Jennie Allen
- Total Money Makeover Classic Edition – Dave Ramsey
- New Morning Mercies – Paul David Tripp
- Wild at Heart – John Eldridge
- The Love Dare – New Revised Edition – Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick
500,000+ copies sold
- Jesus Listens – Sarah Young
- Gentle and Lowly – Dane C Ortlund
2. How many Christians are there, can they read and what this means for Christian authors?
There are an estimated 2.4 billion Christians throughout the world, making Christianity the world’s largest religion and Christians by far the largest ‘people group’. This people group is not defined by geography, skin colour, gender or sexual orientation. Rather it is defined by belief – see Galatians 3:28. Christians follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the religion has continued to spread throughout the world over the past 2,000 years.
Where Christianity has spread, so has literacy (along with governmental, social, scientific and economic advancement). Literacy is a panacea for ignorance.
It is not surprising that literacy has been associated with the spread of Christianity because Jesus himself is described as the Word. The Bible’s New Testament was spread by the written word in the letters of Paul the Apostle and other apostles. Throughout the New Testament there are exhortations for Christians to ‘live in the Word’, many Christians taking this to mean to live in or meditate on the written word as printed in the Bible.
The Bible itself – the first self-published and first true crowdfunded book – is also planet Earth’s most influential and best selling book. It has been reproduced in print over 5 billion times.
The Christian church has historically been at the forefront of literture (writing) and artistic pursuit (painting and music).
With the above in mind it is suffice to say that literacy rates among Christians throughout the first, second and third worlds is significantly higher than the general population. This means there is a large and growing appetite for Christian books.
The Christian book publishing industry is a very significant part of the world’s publishing industry. Some of the largest Christian book publishers include HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Baker Publishing Group, Tyndale House Publishers, Zondervan, and Thomas Nelson.
The Christian self-publishing industry is growing at an even faster rate as thousands of Christian ministers and laypersons put revelation into print.
3. Do Christians in Australia read Christian books?
Yes. Australian Christians are avid readers of Christian books. They are hungry for well crafted books in terms of both content and design. Unfortunately sales of Christians books in Australia are dominated by high-profile American authors.
Of interest is that non-Christians also read Christian books, recognising that psychology (or taking pills) is not a complete answer to understanding the human condition and or resolving the problems of life.
Christians in Australia use several way to source content. Two of the primary methods are attending church services to listen to sermons and teachings. This is particularly relevant for Protestant Christians but can be present among Catholics. The second method is reading the Bible, again most applicable (but not exclusive to ) to Protestant Christians.
Other methods include sourcing audio recording including the streaming of church services, online videos e.g. YouTube, podcasts, radio broadcasts, television programs and books (both printed books and ebooks).
Printed books are distributed through all major bookshops, online retailers e.g. Booktopia, church bookshops, and ‘brick-and-mortar’ shops like Koorong and Word bookstores.
Koorong is now part of the Bible Society as part of its misson to spread the Word of God.
Koorong has been known among Australian Christians for more than 40 years, having started in a garage in Koorong Steeet Marsfield in the North of Sydney in 1978. Owned by Bible Society Australia since July 2015, they have grown strongly over 42 years with 14 retail stores located across every state and territory except NT having over 200,000 Christian titles available both in print and print on demand.
Koorong has a strong online presence, with an e-commerce website that offers a wide selection of products, as well as resources and tools for Bible study and devotions.
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