Christian Retailers Pull Controversial Books

bookstoreMore than half of Christian retailers have pulled a product from their shelves in the past year because of concerns about its content.

Questionable language, unsound doctrine or an author or artist who had fallen were among the most common reasons cited by the 54 percent of respondents who told Christian Retailing they had withdrawn an item.

The majority (80 percent) of those who took part in the magazine's latest Vital Signs industry survey, looking at how stores handle controversial content, said that they felt that they have a responsibility to operate as "a safe environment for Christian shoppers with regard to content." Two-thirds (66 percent) said that they saw their role as one that protects customers by selecting "product that will not tempt (Christians) to stray from their faith."

Content decisions in most stores lie with the owner or manager in for-profit stores and the manager or clerical leader in church stores, the survey found. But only 5 percent of respondents had any type of written policy stating exactly what content would get a book pulled.

Over half (55 percent) of stores said that they had stickers attached to certain products—mostly books and music—that it was felt should be handled carefully. Some managers required frontline staff to point out these "content warning stickers" or other types of content alert attached to certain products when customers reach the checkout counter.

Read the full report in the July issue of Christian Retailing magazine.

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