Stop Dating Your Book Covers

*UPDATE: Joshua Harris was kind enough to read and link to my post today on his own blog. He’s a very humble man and he’s written some clarifying words on why he’s the “P. Diddy of Christian writers”. Here’s a link to his post.

I own two Joshua Harris books: Not Even a Hint and Stop Dating the Church. One of them is out on loan to someone, and the other I have two hard cover copies of just so I can give one away sometime. Both books are excellent in their subject matter and I regularly recommend them to people. And for that matter, both have great titles and great covers…or at least they used to.

Not Even a Hint is a book on sexual lust. It’s probably one of the best books on the topic both for the Biblical view it presents, and for it’s balance in handling a sensitive subject matter. I will often recommend it to young people, especially the college students I work with because it was in my own college life that I read it for the first time. Unfortunately a few years back I called the local Christian bookstore to find a copy for someone and they had no idea what I was talking about. I said, “I know it’s by Joshua Harris, and I know it’s called Not Even a Hint. I’m looking at my own copy right now”. The nice clerk responded, “Yeah, I don’t see it. Are you sure it’s still in print?” “It’s gotta be there!”, I said. She could probably tell I was annoyed. “The only thing on that subject I see is a book called Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is)”, she explained. My jaw dropped. Are you serious? I mean, I get the point, but that’s part of the problem. What college student is going to get comfy at their local Starbucks with that title staring everyone else in the face and basically exposing their own struggle to the entire room? Not a single one I know, that’s for sure.

Bethany informed me tonight that Josh Harris was re-releasing my other favorite book of his Stop Dating the Church under the new title Why Church Matters. Boring. Sounds like a theology book title, and is pretty generic to boot. But it’s not just the title he’s changing, look at that cover (below)! Did we just go back to the early 90’s? Is this some kind of joke? This is hands down (no pun intended) the best book on local church purpose and involvement and now they’re going to lose their audience (which I believe is a younger audience) to the hands of wonder. The font is old, the yellow line is out of place, and the hands…oh, the hands.

Now you might be thinking, “oh come on Shay, don’t judge a book by it’s cover — it’s an age old adage.” I know, I know, and for the most part I agree. It’s just I don’t have time to double check that the book I’m recommending my lust filled, church hating friend has the same title it did when I read it last week. I think Joshua Harris and his marketing team need to stop having second thoughts about each one of their covers and titles. Stop dating your book covers and commit already!

5 Comments
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  1. Ginny says:

    SO true! ha ha ha ha!

  2. Megan Koontz says:

    Shay! I was looking at Josh Harris’ post about his book covers changing and it led me to your blog! So crazy. I agree with you totally, also! I used to lend “Not Even a Hint” to my high school girls at my church, and we even gave out copies to all the participants of our True Love Waits/Sexual Purity class that I was helping teach. Now that the name has changed, I’ve been so hesitant to give it to 15-18 year old girls who don’t want to be seen with a book with the word “sex” in it! Funny post and totally true. And totally weird that Joshua Harris’ personal blog led me to someone I knew in real life. Ha. Hope all is well. :)

  3. Shay says:

    @Ginny - Thanks!

    @Megan - Hilarious you found out that way. I was cracking up when I saw Joshua Harris’ post, and a little surprise that he linked back to me of course.

    We were just having this discussion with our men’s college staff leaders the other day. Definitely harder to pass along a book that has a more in your face title on such a hard subject matter — especially a book I thought was really helpful. But I appreciated Josh’s humility in his post.

    Thanks for your comments!

  4. Christian Burkhardt says:

    I love it that he called you Shay Camison. It sounds so cool and designer-ish.

    see you monday! go blue!

  5. Jill says:

    “and the hands…oh, the hands” - LOL.

    Referred to your site by Josh Harris’. Hahaha, I agree about the font, the yellow line, and especially about the hands. Maybe you should try to get a job designing for his publishers? :)

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