If there is not a local store you are able to shop at, mail order is the next best thing. For that reason, I’m 100% behind all catholic retailers. But you’ve got to support your local shop, because they do a work the mail-order folks can’t do. Mine:
- Provides real live friendly clerks to answer questions about the faith from passersby.
- Opens a whole world of catholic thought to people who just stopped in a for a first-communion card.
- Lets you look at the books! It’s way easier to size up a book in person than on the pc.
- Supports local catholic events with a bookshop presence.
- Turns out for parish sales, allowing Catholics who would never even know great Catholic books exist to browse at their leisure.
- Provides a venue for authors to sell books and meet readers.
- Offers free book study courses — authentic, faithfully Catholic religious ed that reaches an audience your parish may not be equipped to teach.
This is not a profit-making venture. No one is getting rich stocking GKC and nun-of-the-month calendars. Book stores have miserable margins, small dealers face higher costs than the big guys, and the Catholic niche is tiny. These shops are run as a ministry.
If you knew your parish religious education program was evangelizing hundreds of non-Catholics and fallen-away Catholics, wouldn’t you put a few bucks into the special collection for that ministry?
If your parish had a full-time staff person whose only job was to answer questions about the faith from people too shy to darken the door of a church, don’t you think a little contribution towards that person’s puny salary would be in order?
Support your local Catholic bookstore.
Here are the ones I know about in my corner of the universe:
UPDATED to add:
If you know of others, please add them in the combox. Or write a post with your own links.