There are a lot of Christian bookstores that do wonderful service. Many are going out of business because of the success of Barnes & Nobles and Borders. And online amazon.com and similar sites make it hard for a book business to make ends meet these days. Most retail stores only stay open because of the sale of products other than books. In fact, even the big book stores make more profit on items other than books. On top of this major publishing companies struggle as well. Both the economy and the availability of digital books, Kindle books and audio books have all changed the market dramatically. It is a challenging time to publish and to sell books, especially solid, orthodox Christian books.
Knowing several local publishers has always given me a clear view of the business side of this but being an author makes it even more personal to me. I have worked with five publishers over the last fifteen years. Each has a unique contribution. Some were better for me than others but all were lovely Christian people to work with as a partner/author.
Finding a truly great Christian book store is truly rare now. If you live near a good seminary you might be able to find a good store with good prices. But for the ordinary person what do you do? Besides the resources of amazon.com and christianbook.com I would like to suggest to you the very best place I know to get help with great books: Hearts and Minds Books, located in Dallastown, Pennsylvania.
The owner of this unique store has a heart and mind for serious, thoughtful and transformational Christian thought and practice. He knows his books, he reads them, and he writes some of the best reviews you will read anywhere. There are Catholic and Orthodox sites that are also valuable but as a Protestant I know no one better for books, reviews and helpful guidance (you can even call and ask for help) than Byron Borger at Hearts and Minds.
I met Byron at a Jonathan Edwards event in Annapolis, Maryland, several summers ago. It was my second time there as a speaker and my first and only time to meet and talk to Byron. I was so impressed with how Byron thought, how much he valued books, and how wise he was about discipleship of both the mind and the heart. Believe me, I have met hundreds of book sellers and dealers and no one, I mean no one, compares to Byron Borger. Take advantage of his insight and wisdom. Sign up on his site for book reviews and give him your business. You are helping yourself if you do and your purchases will help a truly great ministry thrive. I wish there were hundreds of people like Byron but I know only one. Take advantage of this resource. It is a link to some of Byron's most recent reviews to give you an idea of the scope and benefit of his work.
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Hi John. Just wanted to make a correction on the location of Hearts and Minds Bookstore. It is located in Dallastown, PA and not Dallas, PA. I appreciate your work. I am a 2008 graduate of Biblical Seminary and I am planting a church near Bethlehem, PA. I am a “son” of Cal Reed’s (with whom you served on the Board at Biblical) church, Lebanon Bible Fellowship.
John: Thanks Tim. I made the correction and appreciate hearing from you as well. I think very highly of Cal.
I worked in Baker Book House’s retail store for 7 years. When I started there, it was one of the few serious Christian bookstores around. Since, I left (almost 8 years ago) they have really gone down hill (except their used book department). It is nice to see there are still bookstores that are concerned with quality.
Thanks for giving some exposure to Hearts and Minds bookstore and its propieter, Byron. While I do not know him personally, nor have I been to his store’s physical location, I was exposed to his ministry of providing real intellectually stimulating books for Christians in college. He would bring a pretty vast collection for sale to the Jubilee Conference put on in Pittsburgh every February by the Coalition For Christian Outreach. I purchased “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” by Noll and “The Culture of Disbelief” by Carter from his portable display back in the late 90s – glad to hear Hearts and Minds is still going!
Yesterday was the first day of spring break. There are some books that my wife and I have been wanting to read, but we didn’t want to order them on-line and wait for them to come in the mail. So we ditched our kids and drove 2.5 hours to Hearts and Minds. Unlike other Christian bookstores that we’ve been to–where half of the space is taken up with greeting cards, cheesy gifts and other merchandies designed to appeal to a narrow slice of the Christian subculture–this place is packed with serious reading material. We were like two kids in a candy store. We stayed for almost 3 hours and didn’t want to leave. We picked up quite a few titles that will be useful for our ministry. And a couple of books on audio CD that we listened to on the drive home. This is what a Christian bookstore ought to be. I thank God for this place. In a tough economy, it must be difficult for a business like this to compete with Amazon and the other dot-coms. If you live within driving distance of this place, please pay them a visit. They deserve your support.
Have you reviewed any EP Books (Evangelical Press) on here? If you need a review copy of something let me know. Happy to help if I can.