God’s book sales flourish on the web

by
16 August 2007

by Bill Bowder

RELIGIOUS BOOKS are a salvation to the book trade, even when they set out to disprove the existence of God, says the online bookseller, Amazon.

Statistics published by the company suggest that the number of people buying books from it about religion or spirituality has soared in three years by 50 per cent. The increase has outshone all other categories, including history, which has grown by 38 per cent, and politics, which has grown by 30 per cent.

Pope Benedict XVI’s work Jesus of Nazareth (Bloomsbury, 2007; Books, 6 June) comes in third place among the bestsellers in the category. But the anti-religious polemicist Richard Dawkins comes top with The God Delusion (Bantam, 2006; Comment, 26 October 2006). He is followed by another anti-religious title, Christopher Hitchens’s God is Not Great (Atlantic, 2007; Books, 6 July).

Amy Worth, a books manager at Amazon, was quoted in The Observer last Sunday as saying: “The Dawkins Delusion [by Alister McGrath and Joanna Collicutt McGrath (SPCK, 2007)] has also been successful, although we had a customer vote on The Dawkins Delusion versus The God Delusion, and the winner was The God Delusion.”

In the spring, Professor Dawkins’s book was doing so well that it outsold everything except advance orders for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the latest titles by the chef Gordon Ramsay, Amazon said.

As well as the other religious titles, sales of the Bible through Amazon increased by 120 per cent last year.

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