Re: Sales of Lewis's books
- In a message dated 7/7/99 9:31:39 AM Central Daylight Time,
> Or istoday?
> Lewis considered too difficult for the people who purchase books at
> bookstores? Or is he considered too mainstream? Or does he not fit the
> conservative political opinions of people who run religious bookstores
>Well, you gotta name your religious bookstore. The one near me "Family
Books" (formerly Zondervan) is terminally lightweight. You won't even find a
=book= on the first floor, which is devoted to plaques, artwork (of sorts),
greeting cards, kiddiestuff, and tapes and CDs. The other one nearby used to
be "Baptist Bookstores" but they have come up with a new name (forget what it
is) which doesn't even mention books, though it sells quite a few.
I wonder how Catholic stores would compare, but we have none out here, only
downtown Nashville's St. Mary's.
If the weather wasn't so hot I'd go do a shelf count for you at these
places... yes, I know, it's only normal hot weather here, you have it even
worse in DC.
Lewis himself was plenty conservative politically. I think you are looking
at =theological= conservatism, which is unhappy, for instance, w/ Lewis' view
of Scripture, or of the possibilities of salvation for unbelievers. Or maybe
some managements have been spooked by the "Lewis as New Ager/Satanist" views
referred to earlier here. But I meet many quite conservative Christians on
the MereLewis list who are nuts about his books, give classes at their
churches based on them, etc. They are getting them =somewhere.=
Another general bookstore near here is privately owned, has a Christian slant
(conservative Presbyterian, I believe) to the ownership, and carries =lots=
of Lewis books and does, or did, run an evening Lewis-centered discussion
- I have to admit that the admittedly few 'religious' bookstores I've been in
seem to sell mostly very lightweight books. Most of them would be on the
order of daily meditations and books from the popular TV preachers. I
wouldn't consider many of CSL's books to be heavy - he was targetting less
educated people - but they do require a capacity for critical thought. I am
lucky to have a seminary close by (Episcopalian) with a good bookstore and a
manager who is very willing to order special books. I've found some neat
stuff just browsing through. Maybe some others of us are so blessed?
From: WendellWag@... <WendellWag@...>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Wednesday, July 07, 1999 10:31 AM
Subject: [mythsoc] Sales of Lewis's books
>May I change the subject to another of the Inklings?
>Has anyone else noticed the following? When I was in a religious bookstore
>little more than a year ago, I noted that there was only about eight inches(and
>(maybe 12 or so copies) of Lewis's books on the nonfiction shelves there
>there were a few Narnia books in the children's section). Now perhaps itthe
>wasn't surprising that there were less of his books there than in a big
>Borders that I checked shortly afterwards, where there was about seven feet
>(maybe 120 copies) of his nonfiction books (along with some books about
>Lewis), since that store was considerably larger than the religious
>bookstore. But then I noticed that the copies of Lewis's nonfiction books
>sold in a hip latenight bookstore/cafe that was only a little larger than
>religious book store took up about a foot and a half (maybe 24 copies). Isreligious
>this generally true these days? Does Lewis not sell well at religious
>I remember that twenty years ago the religious bookstore next to the campus
>where I was a grad student had a whole section called "Lewis and Friends".
>Am I just not looking at the right religious bookstores these days? Or is
>Lewis considered too difficult for the people who purchase books at
>bookstores? Or is he considered too mainstream? Or does he not fit thetoday?
>conservative political opinions of people who run religious bookstores
- In a message dated 7/7/99 3:23:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Stolzi@...
> Lewis himself was plenty conservative politically.Yes, but I wonder if he still wasn't *explicitly* conservative enough
politically to satisfy some people. On the average, his political opinions
would be considered somewhat conservative these days (although some would be
a little more conservative than most people now and some a little more
liberal than most people now), but he didn't tend to discuss his political
opinions in his books much. Partly this was he considered important issues
to be "pre-political" (in the sense that they had to be resolved before one
could even begin to do politics), but partly this was because he was trying
to keep the issues discussed in his books to what he considered "mere
On thinking about this issue though, I now suspect that the paucity of
Lewis's books in religious bookstores these days is more because the
lightweightedness of these stores and because many of them don't find Lewis
to be sufficiently *explicitly* fundamentalist.
- The generic Christian bookstore near me, the Lion and the Lamb, has an
excellent selection of Lewis' books. I haven't been to Berean Christian
Bookstore lately to check.
Ave Maria, my local Catholic bookstore, also stocks a fair amount of
Lewis, but not as much as the Lion and the Lamb.
- In a message dated 7/13/99 5:29:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> However, much to my shock, I recently heard someone call MacDonald's work ait had to do
> little too "new age" for her. After a lengthy discussion she agreed that
> with some personal perceptions that might be a little skewed, rather thanthe
> actual work of MacDonald, itself.I've heard of people who think that Charles Williams's books flirt with
In any case, we've established that some religious bookstores are rather
lightweight. Can people tell me how well Lewis's books sell in non-religious
bookstores? What surprised me was not only that there were only about 10 of
Lewis's books in the religious bookstore I checked (a Family Books in the
Laurel Center Mall), but that there were about 120 of his books (counting
books about him) in the largest of the Washington(DC)-area bookstores (the
Borders in White Flint Mall). This was quite a satisfactory selection of
Lewis's books, I thought.
The bigger surprise to me was that there was 20 of his books at Kramer Books
and Afterwords, a hip latenight bookstore/cafe in the Dupont Circle
neighborhood in D.C., which was as many books as any author in their
philosophy/religion section. This store is in a neighborhood that likes to
think of itself as bohemian (and being in D.C., it also tries to appeal to
policy wonks). Historical note: It was one of the two bookstores subpoened
by Ken Starr for a list of books bought by Monica Lewinsky. (The other was
the Barnes & Noble in Georgetown.)
So while some religious bookstores are a little lightweight, it looks to me
like some mainstream bookstores are not lightweight. That's why I wonder if
Lewis's readership is now perceived as being mainstream.
- Say, Wendell, Monica didn't buy any CS Lewis titles, did she? ;)
I have already reported the mall bookstore I found extremely light in the
matter of Lewis. Will check Barnes & Noble next time I'm in there.
- In a message dated 7/14/99 10:15:35 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Stolzi@...
> Say, Wendell, Monica didn't buy any CS Lewis titles, did she? ;)Can you imagine the cross-examination she would get if she had?
"So, tell us, Ms. Lewinsky, just exactly how did you plan to surprise the
President, and what kind of joy were you promising him?"
- In a message dated 7/16/99 3:56:05 AM Central Daylight Time,
>Miracles happen where Lewis is involved... look at Chuck Colson!
> > Say, Wendell, Monica didn't buy any CS Lewis titles, did she? ;)
> Can you imagine the cross-examination she would get if she had?