A speaker at one of yesterday's sessions started with a rhetorical question: 'So you've got a Catholic bookstore. What should you sell?' The rest of this post isn't what the speaker said, quite: this is what I think about the subject.
"Catholic" Bibles are an obvious choice for a Catholic bookstore. So are the various 'Lives of the Saints' titles. After that, it gets - interesting.
Bad News, Good News, and Catholic Book StoresFirst the bad news: Anything you put on the selves is going to offend somebody.
Now, the good news: Anything you put on the selves is going to offend somebody, so you're free to make your own choices.
Remember: I've got the authority of "some guy with a blog," and these are my opinions.
I suppose that the owner of a Catholic book store could put one of those 'the Pope is the antichrist' books on the shelves. That doesn't sound like a sensible thing to do, though.
The King James Bible isn't such an easy choice, though. As a work of literature, I think it's one of my cradle tongue's high points. As a Bible? I think it's a remarkable book, assembled by folks who used the best resources available to an island kingdom: back when saying 'me too' to Luther's ideas was kinda now, kinda wow.
Yesterday's speaker suggested keeping King James Bibles in the storeroom, available of a customer requested on. Or having them on a separate shelf, labeled to distinguish it from the New American Bible.
I sort of like the idea of the KJV as an 'under the counter' item - and that's almost another topic.
Why Run a Catholic Bookstore?Someone at the trade show said that nobody opens a Catholic bookstore to get rich overnight. At least, nobody who knew the score would.
I think that's right. There may be less-lucrative sorts of business: but I'm pretty sure that there's more profit in a store that sells general-interest books, maybe with an emphasis on sports and entertainment magazines.
Evangelizing, Not AnnoyingSo, why run a Catholic bookstore? Wanting to evangelize is an obvious reason - and one of the few that makes sense to me.
Definition time. "Evangelize" means "preach the gospel (to)" or "convert to Christianity." (Princeton's WordNet)
Before someone has a stroke: I do not think "evangelizing" has to mean
- Accosting strangers and launching into a wild-eyed recitation of Bible verses
- Convincing folks that the world is going to end at some particular date
- Telling your friends that they have to join your church
- Right now
- Or else
Because I'm a practicing Catholic, I have to believe that religious freedom is important. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2104-2109) For everybody. (Catechism, 160, 2104, 2106, 2107)
Getting back to the King James Bible and other-than-Catholic books in stock: provided that 'Catholic' and other materials are labeled.
Sour-Faced Saints?I think being happy about our faith is important. "From sour-faced saints, deliver us," as the fellow said.
We've got joy, which isn't pleasure - and that's another topic.
- "Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show, Labels, and Money"
(August 2, 2011)
- "On the Road to the Trade Show: Schedules, Attendees"
(July 31, 2011)
- "Same Mission, Same Basic Message, New Century"
(May 31, 2011)
- "Rich in Vocations: It Could Happen Here"
(March 2, 2011)
- "Compromise, No: Communicate, Yes"
(June 16, 2010)
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