In 1987 Phyllis Tickle, then the religion editor at Publisher’s Weekly, foresaw a rising demand for religious books. Books, she wrote, were about to become “portable pastors.” Her prediction proved true. Beginning in the early 1990s, sales of religious books began a steady increase. In fiscal 1997, when Tyndale’s Left Behind series hit bookstores, growth in the market surged again (especially for Tyndale) and has remained robust.
The market for religious books continues to expand. Lynn Garrett, who took over Tickle’s post at PW when Tickle retired in 1996, said recently that despite predictions of a decline in religion sales in 2003, the Association of American Publishers was seeing an increase. “The latest figures we published (February 9) showed a 36.6 percent gain in December over the previous December.”
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).