Who Likes Deseret Book?

If you are a Bloggernacle regular, probably not you. You most likely have little sympathy for their fluffy books and a whole heap of disdain for their other kitschy products.

But you can help change that: purchase their titles which represent the best of Mormon scholarship and thought. If you do, Deseret will be more likely to publish similar material in the future. (And if you don’t, they won’t.) Here are two books to get you started:


Crucible_of_Doubt The Crucible of Doubt, which I reviewed here.








Miracles_of_Jesus The Miracles of Jesus, which I reviewed here.








24 comments for “Who Likes Deseret Book?

  1. Struwelpeter
    September 30, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    While you’re at it, purchase this as well: http://deseretbook.com/Girls-Who-Choose-God-McArthur-Krishna/i/5120275

  2. Julie M. Smith
    September 30, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I have heard very good things about that title as well.

  3. September 30, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I bought “Miracles of Jesus” today solely due to Julie’s review and more recent FB posts. I have “Crucible of Doubt,” too — forgot to cancel my preorder when I was provided with a review copy, so I paid for that extra copy. Bought “Girls Who Choose God,” and all (so far) volumes of “Women of Faith.” Bought an extra copy of one “Women of Faith” volume for a Keepa giveaway. Also bought the GQC diary. So … DB should count me as a regular purchaser when they offer something beyond the cotton candy of “Chicken Soup for …” and “All I Needed to Learn …” variants.

    DB’s marketing strategy is inexplicable. They haven’t promoted “Miracles of Jesus,” and they missed Christmas promotions of some of the “Women of Faith” volumes. I haven’t seen any promotion of the Cannon diary except by Chad Orton personally. I have to depend on word of mouth to alert me to occasional solid, non-fluff DB publications.

  4. the narrator
    September 30, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    And purchase non DB titles, like this one (http://deseretbook.com/Re-reading-Job-Michael-Austin/i/5128455), so that they can see that there is profit in promoting works from other publishers!

  5. the narrator
    September 30, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Call me an annoyed non-DB publisher, but I’m quite certain that DB is quite aware of the sales that those books are getting. CofF and MofJ are their best selling titles on Amazon right now, and it is hardly the case that DB is not promoting those titles. Just go into any store and you’ll probably have one thrown at your face.

    DB has a long history of trying to make it difficult for other publishers to succeed in their stores, and it is virtually impossible to get a non-DB title promoted by them. Neylan McBaine’s “Women at Church” is selling better online than most DB titles, and yet DB hides them away on the shelves so that they would only be bought by persons actively looking for the title–and even that doesn’t work, as I’ve been given several complaints by persons who have gone to their stores to purchase Women and have left empty-handed because the DB employees couldn’t event locate in their own stores (even though their inventory lists several copies in their stores).

  6. jcc
    September 30, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    The general authorities don’t write anymore, compared to earlier decades. Any books they do write are usually compilations of past talks. Another causalty of correlation?

  7. September 30, 2014 at 6:59 pm
  8. September 30, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Narrator- I’m certainly not on the ground, but it seems awfully stupid of DB to hinder sales of their best-selling book. They’re capable of that stupidity, but I think (and suspect you’d agree) that if such is happening, it’s being driven by something other than sales, like ideology or doctrinal protectionism of some kind. Or else an evaluation of its readers that is even more cynical than the typical bloggernacle reader.

  9. Anonymous
    September 30, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    “This Is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology” by Charles R. Harrell


  10. Mary Ann
    September 30, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    A non DB title that I was pleasantly surprised to see in the store: http://deseretbook.com/Authoring-Old-Testament-Genesis-Deuteronomy-David-E-Bokovoy/i/5123915

  11. MagpieLovely
    September 30, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    They make less money (a smaller percentage) on titles that they do not publish, so it is not in their interest to promote books, DVD’s, or any other fluff that is not their own. DB owns Seagull but not Kofford books, so it’s not in their best financial interest to promote McBaine’s book (published by Kofford). They’ll do stuff like keeping books/DVD’s prices as high as possible (on items they don’t own or don’t like, such as Women at Church) instead of marking them on sale so they can then returning the items to the smaller publisher. They just like to see smaller publishers fail whenever possible so they are the only cultural gatekeeper. Yes, they are evil like that.

  12. Chris
    September 30, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Ardis and all – that’s what independent bookstores that cater to history loving individuals are for. We even promote these items published by DB and all publishers and have signings with the authors. DB retail will do just fine selling kitsch and devotional books. We hope to see you support a wide variety of publishers of Mormon history, biography, and scriptural criticism. Might I suggest a few local stores – Benchmark Books in SLC and Zion’s Books in Provo.

  13. Randy B.
    October 1, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Yep, what Chris said. By all means, buy those books, but get them at Benchmark! I love that place.

  14. Terry H
    October 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm


    I recently had a conversation with a long-time figure in LDS scholarship and he frankly said that DB knows that 85% of their product are purchased by women and that the vast majority of them are gifts. We should basically follow the money. If they do produce scholarship, its more by dumb luck than anything else. Eric’s new book is clearly a gift book. He just happens to be talented enough to write something that is also smart and scholarly.

    The other problem is DBs buyers. I once offered to our local DB Manager that I would pay Sheri Dew if she would let me torture their buyers. (That wasn’t a joke offer either).

    Once DB bought Bookcraft because GBH was tired of the sniping and arguing between them, DB went into a different mode. I think that DB should publish less and build their stores for LDS goods, books and services (even those which aren’t as “scholarly” like that paperback series which makes everything easier) in foreign markets. Not as much money in that, but People outside the Mormon corridor enjoy kitsch as much as anyone else.

  15. living in zion
    October 1, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    DB doesn’t carry the best books. The very best books are found by word-of-mouth, one delighted reader at a time.
    If you want to read an interesting book about 2 kids adopted into a hellish LDS family and how they managed to grow up spiritually intact despite their childhoods, check out “Ezra and Hadassah: A Portrait of American Royalty.”


    Warning: This book isn’t entertainment, it isn’t going to make you laugh or forget your troubles. Instead, it is going to let you know you are not alone in your suffering and should remind you that having compassion for the person sitting next to you is the only way to live. Excellent read with a positive message.

  16. October 2, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Hi everybody,
    Just a quick comment. I noticed that most apostles and GAs publish their books via DB right ?
    I have never understood why they had to publish their book and not put them for free online ? (under creative commons would be better)

    That way more people could read them, translate and share them. Do they really need money from those books ?
    The church is a worldwide church that is very active online. If a GA wants for instance to help us draw closer to God, He/She could have a blog !

    It bothers me

  17. Mike
    October 3, 2014 at 12:37 am

    Perhaps they figure selling their books is a good way to collect donations for charity. I honestly don’t know what they do with the proceeds.

  18. N.
    October 3, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    “If you are a Bloggernacle regular, probably not you. You most likely have little sympathy for their fluffy books and a whole heap of disdain for their other kitschy products.”

    More than that, mentioning it can rile up the unwashed masses and make them bring out the pitchforks in the comment thread.

  19. October 5, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Does it ‘count’ if you buy from, say, B&N instead of directly from DB? I have gift cards at B&N but no DB within 100 miles.

  20. October 5, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    “If you are a Bloggernacle regular, probably not you. You most likely have little sympathy for their fluffy books and a whole heap of disdain for their other kitschy products.”

    Well, IMO that thinking is completely wrong headed. The kitsch is necessary because it helps stores pay for the space in which they can sell the better products. If university bookstores can’t even survive on campus without selling kitsch, what makes anyone think that any bookstore anywhere can survive just on “good books” (whatever that means). Somehow they have to pay the rent and employee salaries.

    One of the real significant problem with Deseret Book is that they do so poorly in stocking the more scholarly and thoughful books, especially those from other publishers. I don’t care if they carry the kitsch and fluff or not. But failing to carry more important works IS inexcusable, and, frankly, bad business. If nothing else stick a handful of copies of each title in a warehouse and sell them only online and by request.

    Another inexcusable problem is DB’s failure to try to expand its business. There is still no DB store east of the mississippi, nor is there much of anything outside of the Intermountain West. It can’t even seem to do the simplest and most obvious steps, like putting together a website in Spanish and trying to address the 1 million or so ACTIVE members who speak Spanish.

    DB seems to think that being a profit center for the church means you don’t take any risk at all. If they really want to produce long-term profit for the church, the market for LDS products will need to be expanded. You can’t concentrate on the relatively stagnant Intermountain West when all the growth in the church is in South America, Africa and elsewhere.

  21. Terry H.
    October 6, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    @Kent Larsen. AMEN.

  22. Luis
    October 7, 2014 at 11:51 am

    These titles are published by a non-DB publisher, but are worthwhile, non-kitschy, reading that the chain carries.

    “Latter Leaves in the Life of Lorenzo Snow”

    “Divine Providence: The Wreck and Rescue of the Julia Ann”

    “The Life of Orson F. Whitney: Historian, Poet, Apostle”

    The Lorenzo Snow title garnered a positive review from BYU Studies Quarterly:

  23. Bruce F
    October 13, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Someone mentioned “Girls Who Choose God”. I enjoyed that book very much. It is pretty much a children’s book, and it has a wonderful message. It gives a brief history of the various women, the problem they faced and the choices they could make, and then tells the right choice they made. I am going to be getting the book for my grandsons (no granddaughters yet) as I feel boys can learn from the lives of the righteous women talked about in the book.

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