Sept. 11 Attacks Create Surge in Sales of the Bible, Quran

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Byline: Laura Zahn Pohl Daily Herald Correspondent

Within days of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Marilyn Pollitt was helping Naperville customers choose Bibles for themselves and family members. Some weren't all that familiar with the various types and they spent a long time looking at them, she said.

"We've seen a significant increase in Bible sales since the attacks," said Pollitt, manager of Vine and Branches Book Shop in Naperville.

Pollitt and other managers of Christian book stores have witnessed a surging demand for Bibles, spiritual books and books about Islam since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Many customers at Pollitt's store have purchased general books about Christ, the Christian faith and finding God as well. Among the most popular are titles including "The Case for Christ," "Case for Faith," and "More Than A Carpenter."

Books that offer hope and comfort, like "The Book of Hope" and "How to Live Through a Bad Day," are selling better than usual, Pollitt said. Other fast-sellers discuss heaven, handling fear and the differences between world religions.

"I also had a greeting card salesman tell me that any type of Christmas card with a message of peace is selling out," she said.

In Carol Stream , Mark Gross, who manages John's Christian Stores, has noticed the same pattern in customer purchases.

"We've have a number of people coming in and saying 'I want a Bible,'" he said.

Other popular titles include a Billy Graham book entitled "Peace with God," and "Where's God When It Hurts?" by Phil Yancey. The latter has been published in a special edition since the attacks, with proceeds going to the American Red Cross.

"We've sold dozens of that title, whereas in the same period, we might sell a half dozen," Gross said. "It's been nice to be able to help people find answers to questions they have about life's uncertainties."

Both Pollitt and Gross along with Christopher Dixon, the manager of the Quest Book Shop in Wheaton, have reported a big interest in the teachings of Islam and the Koran. …