Friday, September 5, 2008

DISCUSSION: Buying books

I created the OCB blog with the intent to offer Orthodox publishers a vehicle for promoting their book and magazine news and for readers to learn that news. After all, I don't think it's a secret that I work for one of the aforementioned publishers. But today, instead of posting the usual press release or book review, I'd like to get your opinion on what you buy as readers. So here are some questions up for discussion:

(1) Would you say that the recession has affected your book-buying at all? Slowed it down? Or not?

(2) How often do you buy Orthodox books and from where?

(3) How much does price factor into your decision to buy (or not buy) a book? Are Orthodox books too expensive?

(4) What can publishers of Orthodox Christian books do to improve their products and services?

(5) What is your favorite Orthodox book? Your favorite Orthodox publisher?

(6) Is there anything you can't stand about the way Orthodox books are currently published in the English-speaking world?

(7) Orthodox children's books: do you ever buy them? Why or why not?

(8) What kind of Orthodox book would you like to see more of in the future?

(9) Would you buy a book from your church book store as a matter of principal, even if it were offered for a much lower price on Amazon? Or would you go for the deal?

(10) Are books flying off the shelves at your church bookstore, or have they been collecting dust for years?

Please take a moment to comment on any one (or all) of these questions. And while you're at it, respond to our poll. After all, it's your feedback that helps us publishers provide you with books of increasing quality and integrity. Without your feedback and support, we would be nothing.

Have a great weekend, and keep reading!

In XC,
Heather Zydek
Blog Moderator

5 comments:

Mimi said...

1) Would you say that the recession has affected your book-buying at all? Slowed it down? Or not?

-- I would say that my participation in Paperback Swap and other book sharing sites has slowed my book buying. However, if there is a book I really want, I will still buy it (or if it is for a specific need - like Book Club

(2) How often do you buy Orthodox books and from where?

--- now and then. I'll buy them from anywhwere - mostly Conciliar Press, Light-n-Life, or the parish bookstore.

(3) How much does price factor into your decision to buy (or not buy) a book? Are Orthodox books too expensive?

--Sometimes, but then sometimes, they are pretty inexpensive too.

(4) What can publishers of Orthodox Christian books do to improve their products and services?

--I don't know, but I look forward to hearing more answers on this.

(5) What is your favorite Orthodox book? Your favorite Orthodox publisher?

-- Probably "Facing East" but then I really like the historical fiction coming out - "Ella's Story" etc. I wish they'd do a series for adults.
Consistently, Conciliar Press publishes books that I enjoy.

(6) Is there anything you can't stand about the way Orthodox books are currently published in the English-speaking world?

---no

(7) Orthodox children's books: do you ever buy them? Why or why not?

--yes. For my children and for me.

(8) What kind of Orthodox book would you like to see more of in the future?

--Historical Fiction for grownups.

(9) Would you buy a book from your church book store as a matter of principal, even if it were offered for a much lower price on Amazon? Or would you go for the deal?

--Probably from the bookstore.

(10) Are books flying off the shelves at your church bookstore, or have they been collecting dust for years?

--It seems that they are consistant sellers, but I am not in charge of the bookstore.

Thanks, Heather!

Matt said...

(1) Not at all.

(2) 4 or 5 times a year. Directly from Conciliar, SVS Press, or my parish.

(3) Not at all.

(4) Better bindings and papers. Some books just fall apart and I have to hold them together with binder clips.

(5) The Bible and Holy Fathers for Orthodox. SVS Press.

(6) Sometimes I am afraid that we are moving in the direction of immitating the EvProt publishing industry.

(7) Yes. I have two young sons and two young goddaughters.

(8) More reference books. A critical commentary and concordance of all the service books in English would be helpful.

(9) I've never bought an Orthodox book from Amazon. I'm not opposed to it, I've just never thought of it until now.

(10) I don't know the answer to this question.

Philippa said...

(1) No it has not.

(2) About once a month from Amazon, ABE Books, Half.com, SVS Press, Conciliar, and Light n Life.

(3) Price factors in very large for me thus I purchase paperbacks whenever I can, as well as used books. When purchasing a book about Orthodoxy, I weigh how much I want/need it versus the cost. Most of the time, if it is $15 or less I purchase it.

(4) Continue publishing in paperback.

(5) Favorite Orthodox book: Any book by or about Blessed Fr. Sophrony Sakharaov. Favorite Orthodox publisher: None.

(6) Not that I can think of

(7) Orthodox children's books: Yes I do for my Sunday school students.

(8) Nothing in particular.

(9) It would depend on the book but I would lean heavily towards saving money.

(10) We do not have a church bookstore.

Eastern Orthodox Librarian said...

1) Would you say that the recession has affected your book-buying at all? Slowed it down? Or not?

--It has slowed my purchasing. But if I see a title that interests me I go ahead and buy it. The recession has definitely made me more selective.

(2) How often do you buy Orthodox books and from where?

--I buy approximately one or two titles a month. I buy from most of the main Orthodox Publishers, e.g. Light and Life, St. Vladimirs, Regina, St. John of Kronstadt, Uncut Mountain, Counciliar Press, etc. I do look for new translations and always buy the new translations from Chrysostom Press. Oh, I belong to St. Vladimir’s Orhtodox Press Club, and they send several of their new titles out about once every twelve weeks or so. I also select Orthodox titles for the academic library I work for.

(3) How much does price factor into your decision to buy (or not buy) a book? Are Orthodox books too expensive?

--Price is always a factor. Generally, I would say Orthodox titles are moderately priced and of good quality.

(4) What can publishers of Orthodox Christian books do to improve their products and services?

--Keep prices moderate and the quality of the books high. Difficult I know. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your potential readers. Diversity of titles and subjects is important too.

(5) What is your favorite Orthodox book? Your favorite Orthodox publisher?

St. Vladimir’s is probably my favorite publisher, mainly because I seem to buy a good deal from them. But St. John of Kronstadt Press is very good. My favorite book? That is difficult to answer. Fr. Michael Pomanzanky’s, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, I enjoy very much and go back to it regularly. Then I try to read anything from St. Theophan the Recluse. I do especially enjoy re-reading the litlle book, Spiritual Psalter of St. Ephraim the Syrian, translated by St. Theophan. It is from Kronstadt Press.

(6) Is there anything you can't stand about the way Orthodox books are currently published in the English-speaking world?

Nothing I can think of off hand.

(7) Orthodox children's books: do you ever buy them? Why or why not?

I don’t ever buy them. My children are grown.

(8) What kind of Orthodox books would you like to see more of in the future?

I would like to see more translations from Russian and Greek Church Fathers. I am especially impressed by the work and quality of the publications of Chrysostom Press, which is translating and publishing The Explanation of the New Testament by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria and the series of St. Demetrius of Rostov’s, The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints. The titles are Orthodox classics and the translations are excellent, plus the books are published of high quality materials.

(9) Would you buy a book from your church book store as a matter of principal, even if it were offered for a much lower price on Amazon? Or would you go for the deal?

I do both, it depends how my cash flow situation is, but I do try to support my local parish Orthodox Bookstore.

(10) Are books flying off the shelves at your church bookstore, or have they been collecting dust for years?

Maybe not flying, but they are being purchased.

Dave said...

I know this post is a little old, and it doesn't look like the blog is updated much now, but I thought I would throw in my $.02

------------------------------
(1) Would you say that the recession has affected your book-buying at all? Slowed it down? Or not?

Not in the slightest. Book buying is one serious vice on mine.

(2) How often do you buy Orthodox books and from where?

A few times a month. Amazon and parish bookstores.

(3) How much does price factor into your decision to buy (or not buy) a book? Are Orthodox books too expensive?

If a book is expensive, I'll usually save up for a month or so. $15 - $25 for a paperback is reasonable.

(4) What can publishers of Orthodox Christian books do to improve their products and services?

I think online sellers should provide as much information as possible about the book. Overviews, reviews, pdf samples, large pictures of front and back covers, reader comments, etc.

I will say that pdf samples of books are real important to me. Poor interior design, font choice and readability will make me look elsewhere for content.

(5) What is your favorite Orthodox book? Your favorite Orthodox publisher?

While not Orthodox, I really enjoy Cistercian Publication's book. They are well done, nicely designed and reasonably priced. I'm a big fan of their early church history and hagiography books.

(6) Is there anything you can't stand about the way Orthodox books are currently published in the English-speaking world?

I really dislike a lack of concern put into the style and design of the books. Consistent cover design, readable layouts should be a priority. I tend towards Patristics in my reading, and I think series like SVS's Popular Patristics get a lot right (attractive content, decent price and great look/layout/feel)

(7) Orthodox children's books: do you ever buy them? Why or why not?

Would be interesting in Sunday school 'homeschooling' style materials.

(8) What kind of Orthodox book would you like to see more of in the future?

(9) Would you buy a book from your church book store as a matter of principal, even if it were offered for a much lower price on Amazon? Or would you go for the deal?

I would (and have) purchased in a parish bookstore in order to support it, but I usually find the selection to be weak. Online usually just offers a better, more targeted selection.

(10) Are books flying off the shelves at your church bookstore, or have they been collecting dust for years?

Collecting dust. No doubt about it.