If you’ve never used Amazon.com, the Internet bookseller, you may not know about an interesting feature they provide. Whenever you select a book to read about, the description also includes a sales ranking to identify where that book ranks among Amazon purchasers. They also have a “Hot 100” ranking that is updated hourly, which allows you to see the fastest selling books on this e-commerce site.
Recently I read that many best-selling authors have taken to checking Amazon through the day as a way of seeing where they stand in comparison to other authors. For example, I can just imagine John Grisham going on-line to see how The Brethren is doing compared to Michael Crichton’s Timeline. Learning that his book is #20 compared to Timeline’s #277, Grisham can do an author victory dance (except that Grisham is Southern Baptist, so he probably doesn’t dance very well). But then he realizes that the latest Harry Potter book is #1, and it could very well ruin an otherwise happy day.
I recognize that we ministers don’t have ego problems like best-selling authors (or is that we don’t have bank accounts like best-selling authors?). Nevertheless, in the interest of science, I thought I’d see haw some of my own modest publications were doing compared to other “preacher books.” Until I did this, I had no concept of just how modest my work was!
The first book I checked out was the Abingdon Preaching Annual 1998, which I edited. It stands at #329,163 on the Amazon list. No wonder that royalty check was so small! I compared that to the Abing-don Preaching Annual 1999, which is #214,964 on the list, but identified as “out of stock” by the publisher. Wait a second! The 1999 book is more than 100,000 places higher than the 98 book, yet it’s out of stock. Are these Abingdon people insane!
The Abingdon Preaching Annual 1997 actually has two listings: the first is #1,578,074, while the second is #560,556 but listed as out of print. I want to know who’s been buying all those out of print copies and diverting attention from the first listing?
Another recent book is Communicate With Power, which comes in at #272,893. My top seller, however, is the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching, which is driving upward in sales to the ranking of #165,917. Feeling pretty confident, I made the mistake of checking some other sites.
My friend Calvin Miller is a great writer, but did he top me in sales? Oh, well… His Singer Trilogy is ranked at #57,777 — and it’s been on sale for at least 80 years! (Somewhere right now, Calvin is doing a little author victory dance.) His more recent The Book of Jesus is #87,289 — no Harry Potter, but not bad. The only good news is that his newest book, The Christ We Knew, is only at #692,799! (OK, so it just came out in late March. It still has to climb more than 300,000 spots to top my 98 Preaching Annual!)
Then I made the mistake of checking out some other preaching books. Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching is at #49,487 — he’s broken the 50,000 barrier! And Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching is at an incredible #25,930! I suspect he’s been forcing all his loyal former students to purchase multiple copies through Amazon!
So here’s the deal. I’m urging (better yet, begging) all you loyal readers of Preaching to go to Amazon now and buy one of my books. (Remember: it’s spelled D-U-D-U-I-T. Don’t worry, there aren’t any other ones to get confused.) Let’s see if we can’t get one of these volumes over the 50,000 barrier! Your reward? Just imagine that somewhere I’m doing a little author victory dance in your honor!

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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