How Do Adventist Book Centers Make Money?

Image by Moe
OK…I gotta admit that I don’t have any inside information on how profitable they are. But it really seems like they have some hard times. Let me tell you what I mean…

Used to be back in the day the Adventist staple (vegetarian meat substitutes) were only obtained from the Adventist Book Center (ABC). But if you want to get some Vege-meat, guess what, head on over to Kroger or Wal-Mart Supercenter and purchase all kinds of meat substitutes. Even if you hooked on the Adventist brands you can find them there as well. And often for cheaper prices in that the big supermarkets can purchase many more than your local small ABC. And lets not forget that you can even go to Burger King and get a Vegetarian burger (see picture). Even if you want the “Adventist brands” you can get those at your local supermarket for a cheaper price than our ABCs can give.

Well what about buying some books. Surprise..Surprise…Head into your average ABC and it looks like a regular Christian bookstore…They have Max Lucado, T.D. Jakes, and John McArthur. While it is true that you can also get Clifford Goldstein and Herbert Douglass and of course there is a large section of Ellen Gould White (EGW) books, my point is that a good amount of the books that are in that store are available elsewhere.

At the end of the day, I wonder how many “Adventist” books they are selling? I wonder how many books they sell besides EGW. Really I wonder how many of her books they sell. I mean how many times can you buy Acts of the Apostles. No wonder they keep changing the cover of EGW books and creating paraphrases and the like of her books. But to be honest, this is a problem for all book sellers. But it has got to hit small specialty publishers like our Adventist publishers hard. I mean, how many books on such subjects as the Sanctuary, EGW apologetics, and state of the dead can you sell when the only people purchasing are a small segment of the church? And then they have to compete with many smaller publishers who have sprung up in the last few years. I understand why in many cases the book that they are pushing at this year’s camp-meeting for 20 dollars will 20 dollars will be in the closeout bin for 3 dollars in a couple of years.

Of course there is the whole Sabbath School lesson game where they sell the lessons through the ABCs. That probably makes some money, but I do wonder if they can stay afloat with that alone. Especially in light of the fact that a growing number of sabbath schools at least in the US are using different materials.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate on ABCs. I loved them, but I gotta admit, I only go in them every once in a while now. And often just to pick up a case of that Veggie Meat. I can’t help but think that this Adventist social activity of going to an ABC will soon be a thing of the past. I’ll probably miss it, but I will just get my reading materials online and my vege meat at the Grocery Store…

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