PLANO, TEXAS — FaithVillage.com, Baptist Standard Publishing’s social network for faith experiences launched last year, is opening a new online bookstore this week. The store will serve FaithVillage’s growing community of readers with a faith-friendly, nonprofit shopping experience that helps support its free services to site members and participating causes, churches and ministries.
FaithVillage Books opens with an offering of more than 200,000 Christian titles. Book and music categories will expand as the store matures.
“While the retail book industry has been undergoing massive changes, we have increasingly heard from Christian readers, authors and publishers who want more alternatives to the existing channels for finding new authors and purchasing books online,” said Brad Russell, senior editor.
The Christian Leadership Alliance (CLA), already has adopted FaithVillage Books as its official online bookstore to support its rapidly expanding continuing education program for Christian leaders.
Tami Heim, CLA’s president and CEO and a former executive with Borders Books and Thomas Nelson Publishing, praised the partnership.
“As the premier provider of lifelong learning resources for Christian leaders, CLA is thrilled to be partnering with FaithVillage as our exclusive online bookstore,” Heim said. “We share with them a deep passion for providing transformational content which leads to higher thinking for greater Kingdom gain.”
“People can be put off by the aggressive commercialization, controversial products and monopolistic strategies of some online retailers,” Russell said. “We just think there should be a place where you don’t have to worry about these things when you’re trying to do some good in the world, a place where your purchase supports your life work and not merely stockholders.”
The unique integration of content, community and commerce in the FaithVillage.com website also creates an unprecedented benefit for readers and authors alike by providing a seamless continuum from discovering new authors, to engaging them, shopping and sharing, Russell noted.
Authors can become independent content contributors to the site or be represented through content partnerships with a publisher or publicist. Readers can discover new authors and books through the many articles, book reviews, videos and podcasts found in more than 20 thematic buildings, or channels, on the site. When a reader is interested in a book, a click on a “Buy Now” button locates the item in FaithVillage Books, where the book can be reviewed, purchased and shared to social media channels.
Engagement and feedback
The growing number of established and emerging authors active in the site’s social community also provide readers with opportunities for engaging them through their blogs, member profile pages or groups they might form, such as book clubs.
“Easy to navigate, bright and inviting, the FaithVillage bookstore is a boon to both authors and readers,” reported Mary DeMuth, an author and early contributor to the site.
“FaithVillage is dedicated to nurturing emerging writers,” Russell said. “As a community of young leaders, thought-shapers and artists, FaithVillage gives these writers an online space that validates their faith experience and gets their voices heard. That’s why we dedicate space in the bookstore to featuring the authors and contributors who live in this community.”
New channels for discovery
Dave Schroeder, a Nashville-area marketing publishing strategist, affimed FaithVillage’s concept and execution. “As a consumer, I value the process of discovery in finding the best books that will help me, my family, my church and my business make a difference, “ he explained. “I am thankful for the innovative FaithVillage bookstore. It has the benefit of new channels for author discovery and engagement, a faith-friendly online space for book clubs and the value of a nonprofit shopping venue that supports Christian causes and churches.”
Proceeds from FaithVillage Books will help sustain the broad range of free services that are offered to individual site members and churches. They include: access to all content; hosting services for blogs, videos and podcasts; use of the social platform to form public or private groups and church profile pages, with added features, such as file sharing, group messaging and customizable landing pages.
FaithVillage.com is a service of Baptist Standard Publishing, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. For more information or to arrange interviews with Brad Russell about FaithVillage.com or FaithVillage Books, contact Amber@FaithVillage.com or call 214.630.4571 x1024.