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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Popular pursuits: reading religion, buying books

A Publishers Weekly survey shows 18 percent of consumers bought books about religion or spirituality in the past year. Titles such as The Prayer of Jabez, The Purpose-Driven Life and the "Left Behind" series have raised Americans' consciousness of books on religious topics.

Books that at one time would have been available only at a Christian bookstore can now be found at the airport, drugstores and discount retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target. The Publishers Weekly findings showed consumers preferred to buy their religion and spirituality books at chains such as Borders and Barnes & Noble.

The Associated Press reports that the Christian Booksellers Association lost 95 member stores in the past year. "When you have some books getting so much attention, and available in so many places, the consumer's thinking shifts to 'I don't have to go to the specialty store to get this book,' " said Bill Anderson, association president.


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