As growth in religion continues to confound expectations and outpace every other category in publishing, PW decided to take a closer look at the action on the ground—consumer buying behavior. Our online survey this spring provided sometimes surprising answers to such questions as: What are people buying in religion/ spirituality? Who are these buyers? What life situations and issues motivate their purchases? What kinds of influence do religious leaders and media coverage—in both general and religious publications and broadcast media—have on which books they buy? Where do they prefer to shop, and why?

In this issue of Religion Update, we cover some of the highlights of our findings and examine how the study results line up with what publishers and booksellers are telling us. Together, the data and the day-to-day experiences and observations of those in the industry can provide some gathered wisdom about the future for this vital segment of publishing.