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Events draw crowds to Baker Book House, the largest independent Christian bookstore

Calvin University January Series draws crowds to Baker Book House

Program for writers, Prologue Writer Nights,  flourishing at Baker Book House

Grand Rapids, MI—Baker Book House, the largest independent Christian bookstore in North America, drew crowds to its event space as an offsite viewing location for the popular January Series hosted by Calvin University, located in Grand Rapids.

The January Series, in its 33rd year, is a free, 15-day lecture series designed to cultivate thought and conversations about issues of the day. This year’s events ran from Jan. 8-28 on the Calvin campus and were seen at more than 60 remote sites across the United States and Canada, as well as Lithuania. Speakers included Alice Marie Johnson, Mitch Albom, Ann Compton, and Karen Gonzalez.

Baker Book House filled its event space nearly every day of the series, with some days requiring overflow seating in the store’s community room. Average attendance was 83, with a high of 137 guests for Albom’s talk.

“We see the January Series as a way to meet the needs of the many people who want to participate in the series but who may not want to attend at the large university. It’s a good way to engage the community in important conversations,” said Sue Smith, EVP of Retail. “The live broadcast is also a way to introduce people to the store who may not have been here before.”

The bookstore offers a 25 percent discount on books by January Series speakers, and sees an uptick in book and café sales during the series. Mid-day foot traffic at least doubles from any other month’s mid-day traffic.

“We love offering people a relaxed, pleasant place to view the January Series speakers, and love it that they can take advantage of our café,” said Smith. “Bookstores, via good use of technology, have a unique opportunity to provide the public with access to events and speakers they may not see otherwise.”

Visit the website at for information on store events.

Program for writers, Prologue Writer Nights,  flourishing at Baker Book House

Baker Book House, the largest independent Christian bookstore in North America, is reaching its niche customers via Prologue Writer Nights, a free, monthly program for writers. Authors and publishing professionals from the West Michigan area are guest speakers at the event.

“We have a vibrant writing community here in West Michigan,” said Prologue organizer Julie Schwab. “We want a space for new writers to learn and grow, and an avenue for experienced writers and publishing professionals to share their knowledge.”

Prologue Writer Nights began in May 2019 and has seen steady growth in attendance, with an average of 20 attending each event, held Tuesday evenings once a month. Baker Book House stocks a wide range of books for new and experienced writers, and gift products that appeal to writers such as journals, bookmarks, and stationary.

“Baker Book House not only sells good books but also attracts bookish people. We want to connect with those who love books and dream of writing them,” said Sue Smith, EVP of Retail. “That’s also why we have so many books about writing and gifts that appeal to writers on our shelves.”

Prologue speakers have included Zondervan acquisitions editor Andy Rogers and Cornerstone University professors Cynthia Beach and Jason Stevens. Upcoming speakers include Our Daily Bread Ministries editor Tim Gustafson and NY Times bestselling author Lorilee Craker.

For more information on Prologue Writer Nights, visit

About Baker Book House
Baker Book House was founded in 1939, when Herman Baker started the store with 500 books from his personal library. Baker is known world-wide for a deep selection of Christian titles, including new, used, and bargain books. Visit for more information.

Contacts: Becky Schwartz, Event Coordinator, 616-957-3110,
Julie Schwab, Nonfiction Buyer and Prologue Organizer, 616-957-3110,