Tag Archives: book distribution

Authors Without Representation Need Not Apply



Awhile back, I posted a notice on Twitter and on Facebook to my friends and family. I shared there that I was no longer a customer of Christianbooks.com (CBD or @Christianbook). Now I’m sharing why. I’m hoping to accomplish two things.

First, to warn other authors not to bother requesting that CBD carry your newest book (unless of course, you know someone), because you will receive a form reply. Very polite, but bottom line: We’re too big. You’re too small. We’re too busy. Don’t call us, we don’t know you. Here are some suggestions. . . .

Second, to reconsider supporting a distributor that appears to care more about efficiency than what God may be doing (or saying) through new and unrepresented authors. Why not give you money to distributors that give everyone an equal opportunity to sell their books. Both Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble will carry your self-published or assisted published Christian book, but not CBD.

Fellow writers/authors, these are the facts: In July, 2009, I had asked Christianbooks.com (@Christianbook) to carry my first published book, available from my publisher in both paper and hardcover. They sent me a polite form email. In essence what they said was that unless you are represented (either by a publisher that does business with them or by an agent or someone they know) they are not interested. You can imagine that after having given them my personal (and our church’s) business for over two decades, I was shocked at the unwillingness to even CONSIDER carrying the book. Not even a phone call. Not even a question as to whether I was a customer or not.

Because I thought they viewed their business as a ministry to the body of Christ, I felt they would at least consider carrying the book or check reviews at Amazon.com. So I was shocked that no one showed the slightest interest in at least seeing what possibility the book had for contributing to the building of the body. For Pete’s sake, they’re not publishers, they’re a distributor. They really have nothing to lose and everything to gain. At least Amazon and B&N get that point.

Christianbooks.com won’t ask any questions. They will simply give you their stock reply and politely write you off. I hope this is helpful and saves you the disappointment and surprise I felt.

Below is the content of their email to me:

Thank you for your interest in having Christian Book Distributors and Christianbook.com carry your product. Please be advised that we do not accept any unsolicited products, books, proposals or manuscripts at this time.  We simply cannot accommodate the numerous requests that we receive and we are unable to review any materials sent to us.

If you are an author whose publisher is a regular contributor to CBD, they should be able to make direct contact with our Buying Department. We do have some suggested resources for authors in the FAQ section of our website.  Just click on the following link:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/cms_content?page=130199&eve nt=WW|128824|#23

Customer Service
Christian Book Distributors

When they read my Twitter post, they responded:

@davidcalves Sorry! We simply can’t accommodate the large requests we receive; but we’d be happy to suggest other resources for assistance. [the form FAQ page; not much help there for authors with books already published]

I’m encouraged by Ken Taylor’s difficulties with placing the Living Bible and getting it to the body. He had to begin his own publishing house (Tyndale Publishers) and Doubleday distributed the book in those early years. I thought that the memory of that success might still be in the minds of those who head some of the “blue chip” Christian publishers and distributors. Am I wrong? I’m sure I am.

We’ll have to trust the Lord to be our agent and distributor.

What I’ve shared is a faithful account of both what happened to me, and my opinions regarding that experience.

QUESTION: Have you found more openness among secular distributors than among Christian?

© 2011, David C Alves


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