Friday, May 8, 2009

The Economy and Christian Publishing

Everyone knows that the economy is a great concern to citizens around the world. People are losing their jobs, losing their homes and yet—surprisingly—sales in the realm of Christian fiction have soared. Hearing this fact over and over made me stop and think about why that is.

Why out of all the books out there today is the Christian market not being hit by this deficit? I believe it really has to do with the message of not only Inspirational fiction but also fiction in general. Being a trained historian, I look at current events through the eyes and ears of the past. We really aren’t experiencing anything that hasn’t already happened—occasionally many times over—throughout history.

Back in the 1930’s we had the Great Depression (which ended due to WWII and not government intervention—by the way). At this time, book readership and also movie attendance grew by leaps and bounds. Why? That’s easy. The people wanted a distraction from real life. And they found that in cheap entertainment which took them away from reality if even for a short time.

Think about the Andy Hardy films that were so popular with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. The Marx Brothers. Musicals with Fred and Ginger. Gangster flicks (where the law always caught up to them in the end).

What about books? Detective stories such as The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett and The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Agatha Christie mysteries, and even The Hobbit all came out during this time.

What does this have to do with today? Just as in the past, when things start going bad in our economic stability we need a reprieve if just for a little while. If just for a moment of time between work and bed. Between changing diapers and making dinner. And that respite seems to be coming in the form of Inspirational fiction.

What about secular fiction? There are some great works being published out there, but what is the message? We have lots of agnsty reads with reluctant heroes. Entertaining, it’s true. But where does that leave the reader?

What Inspirational fiction does is bring a Christian message and that is a message of hope, and in this ever uncertain world I think we all need a little hope in our lives. We who write Inspirational fiction do it to entertain, to make you think and also to have you realize that there is hope for your life if you would only accept Him in.


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Kara Lynn Russell said...

An interesting note on the Hobbit - I've read that when Tolkien first submitted The Lord of the Rings to publishers he was told that adults would never read it. So he wrote The Hobbit, which was then published as a children's book. Of course it became so successful that Tolkien was able to publish his greater work and we all know where that ended up in literary history. :)

Sharon Donovan said...

Interesting post and very thought provoking, Cindy. You know I love my suspense books, both reading and writing them. But this morning I was sitting in the kitchen with a cup of coffee tossing a few ideas around for both the crimson and white rose. And I asked myself again why I continue to read and write both. Then the answer came to me. The suspense takes me away for a few hours on an adventure. But once the last page is turned, it's out of mind. But the inspirational gives a message of hope that could change someone's life...stays and stays with the reader long after the last page is turned.

Cami Checketts said...

Thanks Cindy. I think you are right. We need an escape, but we also want to be inspired. Hopefully, we can give our readers both.

MarthaE said...

Cindy - Thanks for the interesting post! I love to read many genres but I always put an inspirational in every 6 or so reads. They always bring me back to a proper focus and leave me with a sense of peace and awe for God's great creation! I hope the boom in Christian books will reach the hearts of many!

Donna B said...

Wonderfully said and so true. Where better to escape from the troubles all around us than into a good book. THE GOOD BOOK is the perfect place to borrow from, to calm and comfort those who read our books. And we hope they take more from them than just the stories.

Marianne Evans said...

Great observations, Cindy - and a well done blog. I agree completely. In times like this, Christian themed fiction offers such warmth, hope, and the truth of His love. Thanks for exploring the topic. :-)