The other day I noticed another Christian bookstore had ‘going out of business’ signs up – it’s the second one for our area to close down in the last half a year or so. From what I’ve heard, this is going on all over the country. Of course, Christian bookstores aren’t the only ones disappearing; bookstores across the nation are disappearing with the advent of online shopping and more significantly, digital book readers like the Kindle and iPad, eliminating physical book sales all together.
There’s a part of me that is sad to see these bookstores disappearing. I think we miss out on something when we don’t have bookstores reminding us to read – just having them as visual reminders influences people. And of course, as a pastor, I hate seeing Christian bookstores closing up shop – there is pain in that for the owners that started them, usually with a heart for equipping people with tools for following God, not visions of becoming rich. Those stores are a labor of love.
At the same time, I know it’s part my fault. Obviously, I wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back, but I order resources mostly online. With free shipping, and places like Amazon significantly underpricing the storefronts, it’s hard for me not to. Especially when my ministry budget is a fraction of what it was just a year ago! With so many people making the same decision I did, to value the immediate monetary savings over the long term benefits of Christian bookstores, it was bound to happen. It makes sense to me, things change and the reality is that people are still getting tools for following God, but there is a part of me that is incredibly sad every time I see another Christian bookstore going out of business.