Niche Bible Nosedive
Niche Bible Nosedive

From After Class Podcast

Despite record holiday sales, a titan of Christian merchandising is entering the new year in the red. Rumors of layoffs and closures at Living Path Christian Stores are growing. While sales on phone cases with crosses, waffle makers that burn the face of Jesus on batter, and “Save Your Breath” mints are up, executives fear their biggest moneymaker—the niche study Bible—has reached its saturation point.

Living Path executive Jordan Gecko shared his vision: “Our goal has always been to put a targeted Bible into the hands of every seeker. So we try to follow cultural trends and become ‘All things to all people.’”

Guided by this principle, Living Path recently published the Upside-Down Bible for Stranger Things fans, The Bible Awakens for Star Wars junkies, and Bible Royale for Fortnite fanatics.

While The Marvels of the Bible series has proven quite popular, the Justice League series has experienced a tepid reception, at best—the lone exception being the Wonderful Woman: Become a Heroine for God edition. Regrettably, even such “successes” have proven unprofitable, as licensing payments to Disney and Time Warner have siphoned away most of the earnings.

As a result, it appears this publishing giant is about to fall. In a recent brainstorming session, the creative team dreamed up numerous fresh and innovative concepts. Or so they thought. In every instance, when they thought they had a winner, a quick Internet search sent them back to the drawing board. The concept had already been done.

Living Path even brought in John Crist as an outside consultant—they hoped his keen wit and snarky demeanor might serve to inspire new Bible ideas. But even Crist was stumped, and he finally conceded, “It looks like you all have wrung those poor Christian saps dry.”

Yet Living Path isn’t ready to throw in the towel. With Christmas 2018 in the rearview mirror, they have 10 months to roll out a fresh lineup in time for next Christmas. Promising prospects include:

* The Ancestry Study Bible with study notes tailored to DNA analysis

* The Weight-Loss Word whose font choice and color scheme force readers to exert more energy while reading, thus burning more calories

* The MAGA Bible, which helps readers see the connections between Israel, the church, and America

* The #resistance Study Bible, which helps readers see the connections between Babylon, Rome, and America

“We have some ideas that have not been explored yet,” explained Gecko. “It may be time for us to look beyond our borders. Billions of untapped seekers need Bibles just for them. Why not offer a Life in Limbo Bible for refugees still searching for a safe haven?” But such a Bible raises another difficult issue, he conceded. “Establishing a price point for that demographic may prove challenging.”

The After Class Podcast guys are Bible and theology professors at Great Lakes Christian College; from left to right in the logo, they are Samuel C. Long, Ronald D. Peters, and John C. Nugent. They strive to engage provocative contemporary topics with wit and careful biblical scholarship.

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