As a writer, I love paying attention to the way other cultures communicate. Some of these examples can be extreme; some of them are small but distinct.
Hearing an Aussie or a Brit talk about “bookshops” always amuses me, but at the same time, causes me to think of them as more highbrow than an American who is used to shopping at “B&N.”
It just sounds somehow elegant.
I thought of that last week when I browsed through Dragon Hall Bookstore at the Creation Museum near Cincinnati. The brainchild of Australian creationist speaker Ken Ham (who sometimes says “bookshops”), the museum is a project of apologetics giant Answers in Genesis. Dragon Hall also stands apart as a singular achievement, for various reasons.
For one thing, Ham – a true bestselling author – would be a bestselling author even if his books weren’t stocked in conventional bookstore chains (which they are, due in no small measure to the efforts of Master Books, an independent publisher). How many people have their own luxurious bookshop – er, bookstore – with a captive audience?
In less than three years, the Creation Museum hosted its millionth visitor, and in the past two years has added another half-million visitors.
That’s a lot of bookstore shoppers, since one must exit through Dragon Hall to get home.
Think of it, hundreds of thousands of visitors – nay, customers! – combing through hundreds of books and DVDs. I contributed to the cause as well, purchasing a hard-to-find book about the Bible, along with DVD about dinosaurs. I passed on the candy containing actual “edible” insects. Edible to whom?
Dragon Hall Bookstore is also handsomely appointed, and no detail was spared. One does get the feeling of being in a medieval castle. The museum designers didn’t buy secondhand shelving from the local Piggly Wiggly.
Usually, with Writer’s Bloc, I try to point out something in the writing life that will practically benefit all of us inky wretches who want to advance our writing careers. Profiling Dragon Hall Bookstore won’t really do that; I write about it because it is so, well, unique.
Ham’s books have sold in the millions, and that’s no small feat. Since founding AiG in 1994, the former science teacher has done his part to impact the culture with the message that Scripture is authoritative. Part of that effort has been to develop the most deluxe distribution system I’ve yet seen from a ministry (save perhaps the system being broadened by Catalyst Space).
Imagine being able to disseminate your message to millions of people through publications, seminars and online teaching. It’s positively brilliant.
And it all came about because as a young man in his native Australia, Ken Ham, had difficulty finding creationist material in his country’s bookshops.
As he continues to expand AiG’s now-global reach, Ham comes up with a ministry vision and then throws another dinosaur on the barbie. In all of it, the making of many books is very much part of the magic recipe.