All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing

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TylerR's picture

Editor

This was not a good store. Never impressed. More fluff than actual books.

Jim, CBD usually is cheaper - but they don't have free Prime shipping. On systematic theologies, I'm reading Erickson's entire systematic text right now. It's been one of the more enjoyable reading experiences of my life. I might do Calvin after that, or perhaps Reymond. Lemme know how MacArthur is. I'm not really sure he has anything original to say that I don't already have in my other texts. I've been on the fence about buying another systematic.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Here's the original post, and a followup where lenders objected to the original bankruptcy terms. 

Finally, here is the post that discussed the final bankruptcy terms. 

Worth noting is that this has been a disaster from the get-go, and the final straw is the shocking news that vendors weren't going to give them great terms and great pricing when the company had just recently gone through bankruptcy.  Well, yes, that will happen when you've just stiffed them for over a hundred million bucks...and the sad thing is they took a few vendors down with them.  Paging Dave Ramsey.....

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

WallyMorris's picture

I haven't bought a new book in a "brick and mortar" bookstore, Christian or secular, in many, many years. Main Reason: High prices. Choice of the exact same new book in a bookstore or online - simple choice: Online. The Family Christian Bookstore in Ft Wayne was half fluff (probably high-profit) and half books. Never impressed with it. I do buy many used books from a large used bookstore in Ft Wayne (Hyde Brothers), great selection of 2 floors of used books. But even here, abebooks.com is eating into their sales. Who knows where all of this will end up.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

PhilB's picture

Just a heads up, and y'all may know this, but if you have a Lifeway anywhere close by they do price match internet prices.  I've taken advantage of it a couple of times recently and got it that day.  Great policy!

Bert Perry's picture

It strikes me that I've watched a couple of Christian bookstores leave the market, the first being the one Central/4th used to host, and the second being one down here in Rochester.   So it's arguable that the whole "evangelical bookstore" model is in trouble.  Amazon and CBD are part of what's going on, as are "google books" and "the Gutenberg project", which have put a lot of out of print works online.  Never mind the computer Bible programs that have thousands of works included!

So for theological works of serious depth, the bookstores (apart from the antiquarian ones Wally mentions) are out of the loop.  They had a variety of Bibles, book studies, self-help books, as well as coffee cups and other decorations.  And there is only so much "Jesus Junk" that the markets will take.

Typical markup at a bookstore is about 40%, so your cost structure is (or should be) about 70% from cost of wares and about 30% overhead and profit.   So cost of goods does matter quite a bit, your terms of payment matter some, but what really matters here is whether you turn over inventory often enough to pay for the buildings, utilities, and employees.   From the bankruptcy numbers--$20 million of the bankruptcy was consignment inventory vs. about $200 million in sales that year--it's not altogether clear whether they had adequate inventory turns and dismal price structure, or whether they had poor inventory turns and compensated by not getting new inventory. 

Which is a long way of saying that if we're going to have local Christian bookstores, owners will need to take a serious look at how they can, or cannot, compete with Amazon and CBD.  Smaller store footprint will help, too, if that can fit the business model.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.