Written by Eric Tiansay
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 08:58 AM EST

Christian retailers anticipate receiving a sales bump from products tied to The Bible, a 10-hour TV miniseries that debuted March 3 on the History Channel.

More than 13 million viewers watched the first episode of The Bible, the highest-rated cable show of the year, although the figures fell 800,000 short of the network’s record-setting 2012 Civil War drama Hatfields & McCoys.

Best known for producing the TV shows Survivor, The Voice and The Apprentice, Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, of Touched by an Angel fame, produced the five-part miniseries of major Bible stories, from Noah’s ark and the Exodus to the death and resurrection of Jesus, slated to air for five Sundays this month—climaxing on Easter, March 31.

"We could not be more thrilled with this out-of-the-gate success," said Downey and Burnett in a statement. "The world is watching right now, and we are incredibly humbled by the reaction to the series. … Ultimately, The Bible will be seen and felt by billions around the globe."

FaithWords has released two novels and a devotional based on The Bible: A Story of God and All of Us: A Novel Based on the Epic TV Miniseries; A Story of God and All of Us: Young Readers Edition; and A Story of God and All of Us Reflections: 100 Daily Inspirations Based on the Epic TV Miniseries—all were written by Burnett and Downey. Twentieth Century Fox will release and distribute The Bible on DVD and Blu-ray April 2.

Chuck Wallington, Covenant Group founder and president, told Christian Retailing that he watched the first installment of the miniseries, and "thought it was very strong."

"I’m looking forward to the DVD release, and I thought the [TV] commercial on the book products was strong," said Wallington, who is also owner of Christian Supply in Spartanburg, S.C.

The Bible products’ sales have been "slow up to now, but I suspect, this week, we will see a strong pick-up, since the miniseries was such a hit on Sunday," he added. "We are anticipating the DVD being a major release for us, and a strong traffic driver when it releases in early April."

LifeWay Christian Stores, which has gotten behind The Bible among others in the Christian retail channel, is offering a pre-buy sale on The Bible DVD and Blu-ray. The promotion calls for a more than 15% discount on the $49.99 and $59.99 the regular retail price for the DVD and Blu-Ray, respectively.

Karen Grosse, owner of Lighthouse Christian Books in Green Bay, said she was looking forward to watching The Bible on DVD.

"We did not watch it yet because we do not have cable," she said. "We will carry the DVD."