Image via WikipediaSomething I read this morning in the Christian Small Publishers Associationon blog was both encouraging and discouraging. It came from a 2009 report by the Evangelical Christians Publishing Association (ECPA) which stated that sales of Christian fiction continue to grow. The numbers were 19% compared to 23% for Bibles. This shows that Christians are looking for wholesome Christian books to read for pleasure. But at the same time, the report showed that evangelical Christians in the 18-29 age range purchased a smaller number of books compared to all book buyers in that age group.
What could be the reason for this? Could it be that these young people are too busy with work and college life to have time for reading fiction? Or could it be that they are simply not interested in the material that is available? There are so many diversions to take a young person's attention away from things that are godly: movies, the internet, video games to name a few. A young Christian has to really love reading to set aside the time to read.
However, I couldn't help thinking about the dangers of young people reading books that are counter-productive to building godly character and which may even be dangerous. Books on pornography, killing, Satanism are some that come to mind. One of my co-workers, a devoted Christian, told me that she is very worried that her teenage son seems interested only in books on death and dying and the like. I think she has every reason to be worried.
The Bible says we are to "set out affections on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2). If you are a young Christian, you are inundated with all kinds of messages on the job, in school, in the music you listen to, the movies you watch and the things you read. The enemy is out to control your mind and one way to ward him off is to immerse yourself in the Bible and in Christian books.
I believe that Christian authors should focus on young people when writing and marketing their books. Our books should explore topics that are of interest to this group, and that will motivate and instruct them in living the Christian life. Marketing to clubs and organizations to which young Christians belong will be one way to get their attention. If you can think of other ways to get young people to read more Christian books, please let us know.