Deseret Book Stops Printing Mormon Doctrine

First printed in 1958, Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie was (and maybe still is) a staple of the LDS Church.  It is used and quoted in many of the instructional books and teaching manuals.  But now it is being taken out of print.  The publisher, Deseret Book, claims that it's not selling.  However, KUTV 2News in Utah reports that sales are not low and that something else might be behind letting the book's printing life coming to an end.

The KUTV reporter went to a number of book stores in the Salt Lake area, including Sam Weller's and Barnes & Noble, and learned that the book is still a strong seller.  They can't seem to keep it stocked and at Sam Weller's, there is a waiting list for the title.  But the sales of a few local bookstores doesn't say much for overall sales.  Maybe it is just that the book is not selling well in Deseret Book stores?  Aaron Shafovaloff, author of the blog Mormon Coffee is arguing that Amazon sales rankings show the book in a higher position than many other popular LDS books.   Sandra Tanner of Lighthouse Ministries believes removing the book from print is more likely about the various controversies behind the book.  She feels it could be about the LDS Church "trying to have a better control on how their message goes out to the world."

In the KUTV news report, Deseret Book says there is a life cycle to every book and Mormon Doctrine's life cycle is up.  Speaking to an employee in the corporate offices of Deseret Book, I was told that they take books out of print all the time, this is not an unusual practice.  But I wonder, if it is only about sales, would it be a problem for Deseret Book if another publisher started publishing the title? I'm sure there are a few publisher's that would jump at the chance. Could it be that it is not sales that are a problem but content?

Another argument is that the book is simply outdated and that many books like this one are replaced as new titles become more popular.  One could make the argument for many older Christian titles on theology and doctrine, like the Scofield Study Bible and Christian Doctrine by Berkoff--both, I might add, are still in print.  In fact, printing presses are still churning out many older, unpopular titles.  But, if ta title has so fallen out of favor that there is no longer a market to sell the title, they are often made available on-line for free to serve has a historical reference.  All thought I doubt it will happen, I hope that is the case for Mormon Doctrine, a popular (and selling) book now claimed to be not worth the effort to print.

* I have no material connection to the book mentioned in this post.