In our introductory post, we provided links to a half-dozen online retailers where you can pre-order Besides the Bible. But we overlooked one important bookstore, maybe our favorite option: Hearts & Minds Books in Dallastown, Pennsylvania. One of the regular features we’ll run on this site will be profiles of the Best 10 or 12 bookstores in the country. By our way of thinking, Hearts & Minds is a shoo-in on a list that also includes no-brainers like Powell’s in Portland and City Lights in San Francisco.
We were such fans of the Hearts & Minds Booknotes blog that we asked the shop’s proprietor, Byron Borger, to contribute an essay to Besides the Bible. With the possible exception of Phyllis Tickle (another guest contributor, founding editor of the Religion Department at Publishers Weekly), I would venture to guess that no one knows more about Christian literature – and I mean the really good Christian books – than Byron Borger. He is a kindred spirit who approaches bookselling as a religious vocation. Fittingly, Byron’s essay for Besides the Bible is on a wonderful book that is all about vocation: The Call, by Os Guinness.
I won’t lie: Three times a day I check the Amazon sales rank for Besides the Bible, and as the sales rank has risen from the two millions to, as of yesterday, #40,000, it was like I was watching my own stock rise. I even planned on ordering a couple copies from the internet behemoth just to sense an increase in my own self-worth. But I’m going to order those copies from Hearts & Minds instead. I want to support a little shop that seems like an outpost of real knowledge and purposefulness and good humor, a refreshing oasis amidst the parched and impersonal landscape of the big box stores. (Piss off the chain stores – good marketing strategy, John.) There are a lot of places you can buy our book, and frankly we’ll be grateful no matter what. But you should consider ordering it from Hearts & Minds. Here is a link to the order form on their website.