The appeal of self-help books in the religion/spirituality category has been an enduring one. Americans tend to be practical about their faith, to believe it should permeate every aspect of their lives and provide help with daily struggles. In evangelical Christian publishing especially, the biggest sellers tend to be books that offer that kind of guidance, that promise of a better life. Americans want a faith that works.

A major driver of religion's rise in publishing over the past 15 years has been the pilgrimage of spiritual seekers to bookstore shelves. In a more settled, more traditional world, troubled people might have taken their questions to the neighborhood rabbi, the parish priest, the local pastor. Now, it seems, they are more likely to take them to books.What's Inside PW's Religion Update: