After such a cynical title, I should start by saying I’m a big fan of Cokesbury Bookstores. I couldn’t imaging going to seminary at Methodist Theological School of Ohio without the Cokesbury store in the basement.  But the seminary based stores are set to close with the rest of their retail counterparts. In their stead, they have promised to focus in on their online, catalog, phone, and event sales, dubbed Cokesbury Next. For more information:

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I have no doubt that their retail operations are a lot more expensive to run than the rest, except the event sales, which will be essential for marketing from here on. The reason I’m disappointed is because they will be late to the game. 90% of Cokesbury’s online catalog can be found on Amazon for a cheaper price, tax free, and in many cases free shipping. Cokesbury will not compete with their current product mix. If I were them I would use this time to develop new digital content, to expand their product base to niches that cant be found in other online venues, and to work directly with authors/publishers for original content and products. If all they do is refocus on their distribution channels, it will just delay the inevitable.

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