Hobby Lobby Now Retailing Christian Books
Hobby Lobby, the 745-store nationwide craft chain has entered the Christian bookselling market.
They now carry the top 100 Christian bestsellers and place them prominently at check-out counters.
Hobby Lobby book buyer Kevin McDonell told Publishers Weekly that they did not intend to compete with mom and pop Christian bookstores, but saw an opportunity to serve their large existing customer base which is composed of both Christians and non-Christians.
“Our goal has never been to compete with Christian retail—our goal has been to make these resources available to our customers,” McDonell told Publishers Weekly.
The Christian-owned craft chain, which is closed on Sunday to support church attendance and family values, sees Christian bookselling as a ministry opportunity, McDonell said.
Stores Stock a Variety of Titles
The top 100 titles are selected from bestseller lists and from publisher recommendations, according to McDonell. The same titles are carried in all stores.
Most of the books are Christian nonfiction, with a small sample of fiction titles. Bibles are about 12 percent of the inventory.
Publishers Weekly reported that current nonfiction titles featured at Hobby Lobby include The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life by Joel Osteen, This Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever by Rory Feek and Between Heaven & the Real World: My Story by Steven Curtis Chapman.
If each of their stores only sold a dozen copies of each of the 100 titles they stock each month, it means they will sell over 10 million Christian books each year. Considering Hobby Lobby’s huge customer base, over-all Christian book sales could easily be far greater than 1,200 books per store per month.
Christian Bookselling Not New to Green Family
David Green is the founder of Hobby Lobby. His son, Mart Green, is CEO of Mardel Christian and Educational Supply, a 32-store chain that serves six Midwestern states. Mardel is a division of Hobby Lobby.
Mardel also offers a wide selection of Christian books online.
In addition to Mardel, Mart Green is in charge of Every Tribe Entertainment. That company has produced two high-profile Christian films. The first was a documentary, “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” in 2002 and the adventure film, “End of the Spear” in 2005. The films are different perspectives on the martyrdom of five missionaries, including Jim Elliot and Nate Saint, by Auca Indians in Ecuador in 1956.
The Green family puts Christ first in their business operation, and their new Hobby Lobby Christian book retailing venture is likely to succeed. McDonell said book sales were already exceeding their expectations.
According to the Hobby Lobby website, their mission includes, “Serving our employees and their families by establishing a work environment and company policies that build character, strengthen individuals, and nurture families. Providing a return on the family’s investment, sharing the Lord’s blessings with our employees, and investing in our community.”
The Christian values of the company have been tested in the marketplace and their sales continue to grow. Hobby Lobby has over 28,000 employees and more than $4 billion in annual sales.