Interview with a Pagan Bookseller: Trends in Spiritual Books
Pagan bookseller Debra Strasser is my go-to person to find out what’s happening with spiritual books, whether Christian, Pagan, or other religions. She blogs at The 5 Things I Need for Pagan Blog Project 2012 and at 200 Books I Own and Haven’t Read.
When I asked her if I could use her real name in conjunction with her Wiccan spirituality, she told me yes because she has the luxury of living her life in the open. Isn’t that grand?
What are the trends in spiritual books?
I wanted to know what trends she’s seeing among spiritual books, from her unique perspective as both a pagan and a bookseller. Here’s what she had to say:
The Spiritual Eclectic: As a bookseller, what books are you seeing that seem to be speaking most to the spiritual seeker and why?
Debra Strasser: The Christian inspiration books right now are being driven by relationship motivation tiles such as Joel Osteen’s Every Day a Friday, which focuses on how to find the things in life which make you happy and run with them every day.
The next is three titles that focus on relationships and communication: The Five Love Languages, The Love Dare, and Boundaries, all of which are based on communication as a key to building and saving relationships.
It’s encouraging to see books being driven on reflection and self improvement dominating that market, as opposed to ‘hellfire and repentance.’
The Spiritual Eclectic: Many long-time spiritual people are craving deeper knowledge of their religions. Which books stand out to you as a “next step” for the spiritual-minded reader?
Debra Strasser: The annual titles from Llewellyn, the almanacs, and calendars continue to be bestsellers, which shows an interest towards incorporating practice into daily life. The Scott Cunningham titles continue to dominate, showing a continual stream of seekers as well as those who look to find the ease of daily practice.
The Spiritual Eclectic: What interesting or unusual trend are you seeing among readers of spiritual books?
Debra Strasser: It’s not easy to speak to cultural diversity, but the dominating themes of Celtic, Norse, and Greco-Roman mythologies tend to bring the peoples who identify with these pantheons into the festivals and classes I attend. But the anonymity of the bookstore tends to be a gauge to what a majority of people are looking for.
The thing that has stood out to me is regular customers of young African American men who have come in requesting obscure esoteric tiles. Not only have I had the privilege to engage in conversation about titles I am familiar with but have been led to titles I had never heard of to expand my knowledge in occult studies. The stream of seekers from any place in the world will never ebb, I’m sure.