Overall, millennials are actually buying more books than older generations and still favor printed copies. Their tastes, Janz says, have led to higher-quality offerings from Christian publishers—from the end of cheesy Christian book covers to more culturally engaging topical offerings. “The millennial buyers are driving this,” he said. “If they’re going to buy something, it better be good.”
But when it comes to where they shop, younger Christians, as Barna Group president David Kinnaman warned nearly a decade ago, aren’t looking for safe spaces. They side with authenticity—even if it comes with strong language—over squeaky-clean offerings. Millennials are used to encountering a range of perspectives online and among their friends. They tend to value diverse viewpoints over Christian gatekeepers or denominational labels.
Most discerning readers of all ages want to see bookstores offer a variety of viewpoints, though some have reservations about putting certain resources out there under a Christian banner. What if new believers get caught up in books whose teaching requires some sorting through?
That becomes the seller’s call….