Family Christian Stores--the largest Christian retail chain, with almost 300 outlets nationwide--has started selling its own e-reader. With a seven-inch screen, the Android-based edifi can also play music and videos and retails for $149.99. Following last month's release of the Family Christian Reader app, the color touch-screen edifi comes pre-loaded with the YouVersion Bible app, offering 27 translations and four free e-books. It includes safe Internet search options and can be used for e-mail.

In the works for a year, the edifi was developed in response to customer demand, Family Christian said in a statement. “We already offer a wide selection of digital products. It is logical to also offer a product that will help our customers get the best use out of those good books, Bibles, music and movies.”

Family Christian customers “expect us to simplify the experience by helping them curate the search to the titles in which they have an interest,” said Amy Garrigan, Family Christian’s v-p, marketing and brand, in the launch announcement. “Plus they expect us to offer a safe environment for their kids, whether in store or online.”

Customer feedback that the device does not include some features they associate with a tablet prompted the company to switch to referring to the edifi as an e-reader. Though the correct spelling of “edify” was already trademarked, Family hoped that its name for the device expressed its desire that the e-reader would be used “to build up the Church and other believers.”

ACM Digital Inc. launches its MYeebo color tablet for independent Christian stores in October. Retailing for $179, the eight-inch-screen device includes a camera and can be used for e-books, music, audio books, Bible software, and video games.

The digital book moves were announced last week during the International Christian Retail Show, where David Kinnaman, president of the research firm the Barna Group, reported in a CBA-commissioned study that Christians have been embracing computer tablets and e-readers at a faster pace than most consumers.