Amazon Vs. Cokesbury

This is the first of a 3 part series comparing my use of amazon to other retailers.  I’m particularly interested in hearing what others think about this.

Yesterday when I posted about Lenten worship ideas I included links to a couple of resources.  The links are to Cokesbury’s website.  I only did this because they were the first links google returned, not because I would necessarily buy these resources from Cokesbury.  I might.  But I wouldn’t necessarily.

My experience has been that Cokesbury is usually more expensive than other book retailers, prohibitively so at times.  In fact, when I was serving in North Indiana the manager of the Indianapolis Cokesbury was retiring and Bishop Coyner organized a special “Bishop’s Bundle” of books that he encouraged all clergy in the conference to read.  They were going to be sold through Cokesbury at a special discounted rate (I believe 40% off).  It was still cheaper to buy them from Amazon.  So I did.

I know that as a United Methodist clergyperson I should maybe feel some kind of loyalty to purchase from the “company store” but I don’t.  I almost always buy resources where I can find them the cheapest.  This often isn’t Cokesbury.

How about you?  Do you buy more from Amazon or Cokesbury?  Or from somewhere else?  If an advocate of Cokesbury, can you convince me of why I should choose them?



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7 responses to “Amazon Vs. Cokesbury

  1. Luke

    I’m a seminary student and we have an on-campus Cokesbury store. I tend to order most of my books used through Amazon or whatever online retailer(s) makes it work out the cheapest. They simply make it convenient to get used books often at 25% of the cover price. That said I still buy a number of books from Cokesbury. I do think it is important to support Cokesbury. The profits go (by way of annual conferences) to the Central Conference Pension Initiative (

    • Thanks for your comment, Luke (and the link regarding CCPI). I remember the good days of the campus Cokesbury store. We used to be able to charge to the account, which was an added bonus!

      Today I typically find stretching the dollar to be the priority for my young family and it often seems that this precludes buying from Cokesbury. Maybe in a different budgetary place in life I can give higher priority to buying from Cokesbury.

  2. I’ve had similar issues with Cokesbury vs. online booksellers. As a student, there are some books that my classes require that I can only find at the local Cokesbury store. Otherwise, I tend to buy used from online retailers, because my family also does its best to stretch every dollar as far as it can go right now. I’ve also discovered that I quite like reading on my phone’s Kindle app, so I have gone that route for as many books as I can lately. The price point for that option is generally somewhere between the cheap used books, and the higher priced Cokesbury new books, however the convenience factor is worth it to me.

    While I know a portion of Cokesbury sales go toward pension funds, I’m far enough removed that it’s not a big factor for me. I would rather save the $ and put them directly into my husband’s 403b myself, than spend extra $ at a store where I may or may not someday see a return on that investment.

    • Thanks for the comment, Andrea!

      I haven’t spent much time reading on my phone’s kindle (or ibooks) app, that does open up another level of the conversation. I had an iPad through work for awhile and really enjoyed reading on it, but have worried that my phone’s screen would seem to small. I also feel that a lot of “churchy” books aren’t as readily available on e-readers as other titles.

      I’m with you 100% regarding the save $ now vs. invest in something that may or may not come to fruition in the future.

  3. The Central Conference Pension Initiative provides retirement income for United Methodist pastors in conferences outside of the U.S., especially in Africa, Asia and Central Europe. These are people who have served God through the UM church who have no income at all after retirement without CCPI. That said, I buy from both sources, but I always do so with an awareness that my Cokesbury purchases help to fund CCPI through my annual conference. I’ve been in the place financially when I couldn’t afford the difference, and Amazon was the only alternative. I grateful, though, that Cokesbury is helping to make a difference through CCPI.

    • Thanks for commenting, Kim. This struggle (spend a bit more when it could do good or spend as little as possible) is one that I struggle with in so many ways: books, food, clothes, and more.

  4. Pingback: Amazon Vs. iTunes | Changing To Bring Change

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