When Caring What People Think came out years ago, imagine my surprise when I Googled the book and found a link to The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore. I’d never heard of them and was ecstatic to find they carried my book.
I recently had the chance to meet the owners, Ellis and Tina Still, at the Faith and Fiction Retreat in Dallas. They were very personable, professional, and of course had my books to sell at the conference. They didn’t have just a few either—they hooked a sister up! Actually, they had a great assortment of books for all of the authors featured at the retreat.
I love interacting and promoting people with a passion for books and offered to feature TBBCB on Books, Writing & Life.
How long have you been in business?
We were technically formed as a business in 2009, but officially began doing business on August 29, 2010.
What sparked the idea to start an online book store?
What sparked the idea for the store was meeting a need. I was challenged by the fact that there was no Christian bookstore (or any other bookstore for that matter) in my urban community. I figured that since I had ten years of retail management experience, I could use that experience to create something worthwhile for the community.
My wife, Tina, gave me the name of the bookstore, in a roundabout way. I went to the Men on Fire Men’s conference hosted by Abundant Life Family Worship Church and Agape Family Worship Center. At one of the sessions, Pastor John Guns spoke about Moses and the burning bush and it really spoke to me. How God called Moses, through the burning bush, to do great things, even though Moses didn’t feel worthy. It sounded a lot like me. When I shared this with my wife she said, “That’s the name. The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore.” That was the beginning of TBBbookstore.com.
What do you love about your business?
I enjoy helping people. I now realize that when I left the management position, the void that was left in my heart stemmed from my love for customer service… my love for helping people.
Also, I enjoy the personal and professional growth that I experience as a result of running the business. The challenges of being an entrepreneur will force you to grow spiritually and professionally, and so you have to be open to what God says, and to what your advisors say.
The online bookstore is the first phase of a larger bookstore venture. The goal of the online store is to build up our brand and our cash flow for the purpose of opening physical stores in the future. We also do a wide variety of signings, from smaller indie author events of 50 people, to large civic center events for 30,000.
Lastly, I like the fact that we are a family business. My wife, Tina is the Vice president of Marketing, and Peanut is our Chief Pet Officer. I mean… really – who else has a CPO? :- )
Can you get any title?
As long as your book has distribution with Ingram / Spring Arbor or Anchor Distribution.
Yet also, I counsel and give workshops to new and independent authors on how and the types of information that is needed when listing with distribution. Independent publishing companies are almost predatory, in a sense that they say that they give you distribution, list you, and take your money, without telling you what the different types of information means to bookstores, or how it positions the author’s book to gain exposure.
What separates you from the industry giants?
In a word, Relationships. We not only sell books, we try to build relationships with our authors, distributors and customers. We host book signings, we attend conferences and we help authors supply their books for their events. Essentially we don’t just build partnerships, we build friendships.
Today, we are a bookstore without walls but even when we have a physical brick and mortar store, our business model won’t change, we could not exist without our customers, authors and distributors. Our vision is “To build people up, one book at a time.” We can’t do that without building relationships.
Along with our vision, our motto is “Empowering people to grow personally, Encouraging people to grow spiritually.” At TBBbookstore.com, our goal is to develop the whole person so while you will find the traditional bibles, devotionals and inspirational writings, we also provide resources on finance, personal and professional development.
Thanks, Ellis and Tina. As an author, I’m truly thankful for your support and I’m thankful that you had the motivation to do what God has placed in your heart. I wish you the very best and may God continue to bless you and grow your business beyond your expectations.
Visit the Burning Bush Christian Book store online today.