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Books and Culture

I just finished reading the most recent issue of the Barna Update. The article investigated the reading habits of Americans by looking at who is buying the best sellers. Here's a snippet:
  • The DaVinci Code actually drew its most prolific fan base from the Catholic population. The book also drew many readers from those who are aligned with a faith other than Christianity and from those who are atheists and agnostics. Self-described liberals were more than twice as likely as those who portray themselves as conservative to have read the book.
  • The Purpose Driven Life is the most popular of the religious titles among evangelicals (60% of whom have read the whole book) and is a particular hit among upscale Baby Boomers. Conservatives were twice as likely as liberals to have read Warren’s tome.
  • The dozen books in the Left Behind series managed to attract a fairly broad base of readers. The books did, however, attract mainly conservatives and born again Christians.
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom skewed heavily female, upscale, and ideologically middle-of-the-road. Evangelicals remained at arms length from these books.
  • Your Best Life Now was the only book for which more men than women were counted as readers, and the only book for which a larger percentage of people with a high school diploma than with a college degree were readers. Osteen’s bestseller was also the only book among those tested that demonstrated no appeal at all among people who do not consider themselves to be Christian.
Did you catch that last line about the Osteen book? By contrast, the DaVinci Code is attracting the "atheists and agnostics" by the tens of thousands.

What do these "insights" say about how we should market the church to those who don't attend? I'm just thinking out loud, here...

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