Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Shack by William P. Young

At least by the definition I've come to know-Fiction written by a Christian. But to avoid the confusion of one unique market exclusively claiming this label to define their unique brand of fiction, I'd have to say that The Shack is simply fiction written by a Christian.

What's important to point out about The Shack?

The Shack was written for the general market (which includes readers who are Christians.) Clearly, based on sales and astounding reviews from readers of this market, the book does an absolutely wonderful job of appealing to the Christians in this market.

Way to go William!!!

The CBA and ECPA, two gatekeeper affiliations set up to determine what goes into affiliated Christian Bookstores (95.5% of all Christian bookstores) wouldn't touch this book at first because they were afraid it would offend their core market of conservative evangelicals, the market they were set up to protect. Certainly within reason they would do this as they do an excellent job of protecting their core market.

But based on some of the post and comments I've seen, it seems CBA was right. Based on the fact that The Shack now tops the CBA best-seller's list, it also seems they were very, very wrong.

So why didn't CBA stick to their guns and not carry it?

I guess because The Shack was selling so well everywhere else. They wanted in to. So they added the nifty little warning, Read at your own discernment and now let affiliated bookstores carry it if they wanted to.

The Shack now tops CBA's best-seller's list--along with topping many other best-sellers lists.

Mr. Young, according to what I read in an interview, has even been approached by several CBA affiliated publishers who want him to write for them and their conservative market of evangelical Christians even though they wouldn't look at him before.

To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Young said, no thanks. :)

A fine example of someone who knows his market!

What an interesting risk CBA bookstores are taking by allowing a book in that is so controversial to their core market when there are so many non-affiliated Christian books that would work so much better and cause far less problems. I guess this is one of those times when money wins out and we have to apply the CBA is a business first and a gatekeeper for a paricular market second.


cathikin said...

I'm a bit disappointed because I thought you were going to do a review of the book. I keep hearing about the book but little of substance. This wasn't really about the content at all. Too bad.

Sue Dent said...

Why don't you review it Cathy? You do such grand reviews. I wish I had time to read right now. :(

Even if I did read the book, I probably wouldn't review it. I don't do book reviews. I don't feel qualified. That's a definite calling, I believe and you certainly have it. :)

I'm just astounded by the fact that the book is being carried by booksellers who only pull stock from a very definite source but then break rank and allow a book in that's -- hmmmm, controversial to their core market.

It's fine to break rank but why not for books that actually might appeal to their core market?

cathikin said...

I will have to get it from the library in order to read it. Can't afford to buy anything right now. Eventually, I intend to look at it, but I have commitments backed up right now. I have been intrigued by the diverse opinions that I have read so far. Just like the two I saw on your Shoutlife blog.

I'm not sure I have a calling for reviews, but I just hope to get the word out on books that I think deserve to be read, like the ones from TWCP!

Caprice Hokstad said...

Well, I am not at ALL surprised. I never doubted it was all about money. This is the same reason why well-known non-fiction authors get to sell sub-par fiction and well-known fiction authors get to break rules that apply to everyone else.

The publishing industry is FULL of double standards, but the Christians seem to have more than their fair share, when they should have less.

Sue Dent said...

And to know that The Shack is self-pubbed is a hoot!! Gotta love it.

Anonymous said...

I guess this is one of those times when money wins out and we have to apply the CBA is a business first and a gatekeeper for a paricular market second.

i.e. It isn't Mammon if CBA member$ per$onally benefit from it. MONEY TALK$!

Sue Dent said...

i.e. It isn't Mammon if CBA member$ per$onally benefit from it. MONEY TALK$!

Few core market CBA readers have benefited from The Shack at all from what I can tell. Based on the reviews many of them have left (and they make know secret about what market they read when they leave their comments,)a book burning is in order. I suppose they'll have to buy the book before they can burn it though! :)

tracysbooknook.com said...

I have to say that "The Shack" by William P. Young was a very thought provoking read.

After reading the book, I was left pondering several things about it – which is a true testament to the book's worth. I had several questions on the validity of some of the descriptions of God but I had to humbly admit that there may be no answers this side of heaven for how God presents Himself to each individual.

I posted a more in-depth review of this book on my own blog www.tracysbooknook.com.