CosmoGirl Bible

This month Thomas Nelson, Inc. launched Revolve, a New Testament for the teeny-bopper set. Thomas Nelson has profited greatly from leveraging customer segmentation into valuable, niche editions of the Bible. Revolve is their latest execution of this strategy.
Although the success of Revolve is less than certain, its publication is a clear sign of things to come for the hyper-traditional world of religious trade publishing. No longer will the assumption that one product fits all be the status quo. Look for successful religious publishers of the future to take a page from the sci-fi/apocalyptic Left Behind series and combine it with elements of the successful cross-over Christian rockers Creed and P.O.D.. In the new world of blogging, self-publishing, McSweeney's, pdf's, book-rings, digital video and audible.com, leading publishers will no longer be "printers with an ability to leverage relationships at Barnes & Noble". Leading publishers will be "savvy media marketing companies with an unparalleled understanding of American popular culture--and their place in it".
In the end of the day, religious publishers have to realize that they are not competing for "shelf space", they are competing for TIME. And for Americans to even consider sharing their limited time with you, you have to be RELEVANT to them. It is a lesson that the institutional churches have failed to learn. However, while the traditional religious institutions rush into irrelevance and fewer Americans park themselves in the pews each Sunday, a void of opportunity opens for the religious media companies of the future.
The jury is still out on Revolve, and it is by no means a sure thing. In fact, the mainstream media (ABC News and the New York Post) as well as the "culture police" (Gothamist.com & metafilter.com) may have already doomed the publication. However, the fact that Revolve was even "newsworthy" hints at the potential for "relevant religious content" in the USA.
In the future, the success of religious media companies in the US will need to be less about following convention and more about creating movements akin to WWJD. What's next? Christian "flash mobs"? They are certainly a posibility.

Posted by Bradley Peacock | Permalink | Comments (1)