LifeWay Christian Stores, which announced in March the closure of all 170 of its bricks-and-mortar locations by the year’s end, is offering other independent Christian retailers the opportunity to carry all of its branded Bible studies and more through an authorized dealer program. Although LifeWay is putting a greater focus on digital sales moving forward, it's still looking to reach physical outlets. “There’s a need in every community for people to go and peruse and browse Christian books,” says LifeWay’s president and CEO Ben Mandrell.
More than 400 stores in 45 states have signed up for the program since it launched in June, according to LifeWay’s David Humphrey, director of trade sales.
“The Authorized Dealer Program opens the door for independent bookstores to carry LifeWay Bible study resources, which have always been sold exclusively through LifeWay Stores,” Humphrey tells PW. “As we close our bricks-and-mortar chain, our desire is to continue to provide individual customers, small groups, and entire churches with a physical retail option to peruse and purchase these particular resources.”
To become an authorized dealer of LifeWay products, including books by authors such Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Lysa TerKeurst, retailers must adhere to the manufacturer’s advertised price agreement and designate a section of their store to LifeWay products. In exchange, retailers will receive the discount off MSRP, free freight on orders over a certain amount, and additional marketing support. Backlist titles as well as new releases published under LifeWay's trade books imprint, B&H, are also available for independent retailers through the new program. For more information, contact BHTradeSales@lifeway.com. Changes to the Christian retailing landscape present new opportunities for ABA stores, which are also eligible to become LifeWay authorized dealers.
“We have been partnering with indie Christian stores for decades on most of our product lines (Bibles, books, reference, church supplies, etc.), but this is the first time we have offered LifeWay Bible studies to these retailers at a discount,” says Humphrey.