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Runaway bestseller? Somebody alert the media!
Posted By Jim Fletcher On 04/02/2012 @ 10:17 pm In Faith,Front Page,U.S.,World | No Comments
Everyone loves a good mystery, and the runaway publishing success of “The Harbinger” – and its accompanying video documentary, “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” – is becoming a mystery wrapped within a mystery where media coverage is concerned.
So popular is Jonathan Cahn’s book that the publisher, Charisma Media, has released current sales numbers.
“We are now around 330,000 sold,” says Christian media mogul Steve Strang, who published the book. Those numbers are huge by any standard of measurement throughout the publishing world (Thomas Nelson’s Michael Hyatt is famous for saying that the vast majority of books published never sell-through their first printings – a mere few thousand copies).
“The Harbinger” has as its basic premise the idea that patterns in the Old Testament – specifically the judgments that befell ancient Israel – “uncannily parallel what is now taking place in the United States of America.” It reveals the nine harbingers listed in the book of Isaiah, that preceded a time of terrible judgment for Israel, are being manifested today in a series of disasters that have befallen America.
Currently no. 8 on the “Top 50″ for the Christian Booksellers Association, it has established residency among the top 20 on the New York Times bestseller list. It is 59th on the USA Today bestseller list.
Oddly though, the book is not being discussed by much of the media. Joyce Hart, of Hartline Marketing, has been involved with Christian publishing for decades. She is puzzled by the lack of attention:
“This book business is so unpredictable. When the general public is reading the book the national media should pay attention,” he said.
Strang, a veteran of the publishing industry with a string of book successes, thinks he knows why the book is resonating with readers:
“People in our country sense that something is seriously wrong. “The Harbinger” helps connect the dots.”
Cahn recognizes the “media blackout,” but doesn’t seem overly surprised:
“I don’t believe the secular media has yet fathomed or understood what “The Harbinger” is about. The New York Times describes it on their bestseller list as: ‘A man tells of his encounters with a mysterious figure who has given him a series of messages that hold the secret of America’s future.’ But do they have any idea what the message is, or what ‘The Harbinger’ is actually about – or that it’s actually real? I don’t think so.”
He also muses about what he feels is an inevitable connection:
“Since the message is revealed in a narrative, I don’t think the secular media realizes that the essence of book is non-fiction reality…yet. It’s sort of like when Messiah revealed truths in the form of parables, those who had ears to hear, heard. But I do believe that the next stage is for ‘The Harbinger’ to begin to spread into the secular realm and world. When that happens, the controversy will multiply several times. But I believe that’s what has to happen.”
Joseph Farah, CEO of WorldNetDaily, agrees that “The Harbinger” is not really a novel.
“It’s not fiction, because these things are happening,” he said. “I produced the documentary about the book ["The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment"] because I believe in the message of the book. We are seeing a huge response to both the book and DVD.”
In addition to the blockbuster sales of “The Harbinger,” the documentary film produced on the same teaching by the author, “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” released last month rose to become the fastest-selling faith video on Amazon – completely depleting initial supplies.
“The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” is the latest release from WND Films, directed by George Escobar and produced by Joseph Farah with a script written by Cahn and Escobar. It is currently the fastest-selling product in the WND Superstore and demand from bookstores and Christian video distributors is building. It tells the same story as “The Harbinger” but in a different, non-narrative format – exploring in amazing detail the parallels between events beginning on 9/11 in the U.S. and those that occurred in ancient Israel through its judgment leading to the destruction of the Temple and the nation.
“I was fortunate to get an early, pre-release glimpse of ‘The Harbinger’ and jump on this project last year,” said Farah. “I believe it is one of the most important teachings I have ever heard and I wanted to make it available to the American public in a way that might be even more accessible than the book, which is officially listed as fiction,” said Farah. “Instead of reading about the relevant events of 9/11 and its aftermath, you get to see them in ‘The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment.’”
Supplies of the video have been replenished and orders are strong from across the country. In addition, churches and prophecy conference are holding screenings for the film.
The DVD preview:
Both Cahn and his book publisher are reporting strong word-of-mouth; there are currently 262 reviews on Amazon. Tessie DeVore, executive vice president for Charisma Media, has tracked this channel:
"Just take a look at the Amazon reviews! Those have all been unsolicited and 100 percent generated by people reading the book."
DeVore also recognizes the disconnect between the book's success and the silence from mainstream media:
"For one thing, it is election year and their attention is on other things. But on the books, there is no doubt the message is hard-hitting and makes the reader come face to face with some facts that can't be denied. We have not come close to reaching a tipping point in the mainstream circles. Some seem to get stuck on what Cahn says about 9/11, but that is not the cornerstone of the book and if you read it you would understand it in context."
DeVore also raises an issue that for some will be uncomfortable and controversial:
"The media have a hard time dealing with a Jewish man who acts like an evangelical – that is polarizing to some. The book can be perceived as conservative, and it is certainly pro-Israel. That can be controversial in some circles. What is sad is that if they could set those things aside, and read the true intent of the book they would see the significance and relevance this message has for everyone."
The author, described as a Messianic believer, leads the Jerusalem Center/Beth Israel worship center in Wayne, N.J.,
A book-publishing novice, Cahn is just happy to be a participant in this phenomenon:
"I don't believe 'The Harbinger' came from me, but that I was being directed to write it. So I and others have believed that it was appointed for America, for this hour. Whenever I speak about or teach the mysteries contained in 'The Harbinger,' the immediate reaction has always been that this message has to go forth to America, that everyone needs to hear it."
Because many authors toil for years to obtain a publishing contract, Cahn seems even more amazed at the intense reaction from readers.
"We did expect that it would go forth and reach many people. But never did we expect that it would happen this quickly. I've never written a book before. The fact that it was even being published by Front-Line/Charisma House was pretty miraculous. But then for it to become the No. 1 new release on Amazon the week of its release and on a New York Times bestseller that same first week was something nobody expected."
He knows the message of the book is reaching a fast-growing audience because of the growing unease people have about the country.
"I believe it's spreading so quickly because it resonates with what people feel inside – that something's happening to America, that we're on the wrong course, in trouble, and danger. 'The Harbinger' reveals the reason for it, and the very specific ancient mysteries, patterns, signs, and prophetic warnings that are behind all of it, from 9/11, the economic collapse, to the actions of American leaders, to our bank accounts, to our future."
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