Interview – Curtis Riskey, President, CBA

Deb’s Dozen: Encourage one another. Help us better spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

While at ICRS, I had the opportunity to interview Curtis Riskey. Curtis has been a member of the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) for eight years and the President of CBA since 2009.Curtis Riskey

When he took over, CBA was in desperate straits. He says there were more challenges than one person could handle and stay sane—(he laughed). CBA has gone through a refining fire over the past few years and he now looks at the industry through eyes of opportunity. “We can’t go back to where we were, but the future is exciting.”

Riskey sees opportunities for independent stores and other retailers. He sees more traditional stores carrying Christian product, and changes coming to retailing will be dramatic. “Consumers are challenging us to provide more and better product and to provide it in different ways than we did previously – probably more so than when CBA began in 1950.

Curtis says we must do two things: we must understand the reader today and produce and deliver product targeted to the way they get and read information. We must be able to touch the person who would never set foot in a brick and mortar bookstore, plus those who want to connect with their favorite bookstore both in-store and online.

These trends drive both retail and publishing. He feels we will see more mergers, more consolidation, and more attention to the bottom line in retailing and publishing. But he also feels strongly that if retailers and publishers work together in unity, both can succeed. He also sees authors and booksellers working more cooperatively on book sales in this new environment. CBA Logo

He quoted Charles Spurgeon, “Anything that drives you to God is a blessing.” Our work should make Jesus Christ known and glorified.

Curtis Riskey is married to Barbara. They grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and now live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Riskeys have three children: Emma is a nursing student; Andrea is a photographer and writer; and Quinn at the present time is in Swaziland on a missions’ trip.

Curtis stated that as president of CBA, he is going to do everything he can to ensure the gospel and knowledge of Jesus Christ is spread around the world. He is going to work to bring unity to the divisions in the industry. Asked what he would like my readers to take away from the interview, he said, “Encourage one another. Help point out to us and each other what we could do better to spread the message of Jesus.”

Thank you, Curtis, for spending time with me and the readers of Positive Grace.


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