NASHVILLE, Tenn., (Nov. 5, 2012) – The Board of Directors of the United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) has announced the launch of a transition initiative, CokesburyNext, for its retail division. CokesburyNext will redirect focus and resources toward expanding and enhancing products and services at, the Cokesbury Call Center (1-800-672-1789), and through a team of Cokesbury Sales Representatives. As part of this transition, Cokesbury will be closing its 38 full-line stores and 19 seminary stores.

Cokesbury, which offers resources for congregations, seminaries, church leaders, study groups, and individuals has seen a steady increase in sales through and its Cokesbury Call Center operation over the past 10 years. At the same time, the number of Cokesbury customers relying solely on store locations has steadily declined. In the most recent customer survey, only 15 percent of Cokesbury’s customers reported shopping exclusively in stores. As a result of changes in the industry and the consumer shift to digital shopping and purchasing, the local stores are no longer financially viable.

“Cokesbury has been serving for more than 200 years, and during that time has continuously adapted to the changing landscape affecting congregations and their leaders,” said UMPH President and Publisher Neil Alexander. “A shift toward all things digital and the convenience of placing orders at any time is the reality of Cokesbury today. It is difficult to see the closure of Cokesbury local stores, but doing so will allow us to make a greater investment in the ways of shopping with Cokesbury that customers increasingly prefer.”

CokesburyNext involves the enhancement of four distinct purchasing channels. The Cokesbury Call Center (1-800-672-1789) will be extending its hours to 10 p.m. Eastern Time and increasing staffing to better suit busy customer schedules. will be continuously improved to serve customers and will regularly feature special offers and products. The scale and frequency of Cokesbury’s presence at local conferences and meetings will increase, and Cokesbury will work with church partners to host many of its most popular events. To better serve customers who require personal attention, we will deploy more than 40 Cokesbury Sales Representatives who will bring information about a full complement of products directly to customers at their churches and other ministry settings.

Cokesbury is taking steps to help ensure the well-being of store personnel following the closure of the local stores. The ministry will assist them in the transition, providing both severance packages and job search services.

CokesburyNext will be rolled out throughout 2013, and the last Cokesbury local store is expected to close by April 30, 2013. More information on CokesburyNext is available at

About Cokesbury
Cokesbury is the retail division of The United Methodist Publishing House, a publisher and distributor of books, bibles and other resources to the greater Christian community. Our mission is to provide quality resources and services that help people come to know God through Jesus Christ, learn to love God and choose to serve God and neighbor.

Cokesbury operates the online store, the 1-800-672-1789 toll-free Cokesbury Call Center and a team of sales representatives located in 25 states plus the District of Columbia.


Media Contacts:
Lauren Kerensky

Amy Smith


  1. just saying – I get quicker service from Kirkland Store than I do from Cokesbury in general – sorry to see the loss of our local state Cokesbury Store.

  2. I don’t usually buy a book if I cannot thumb through it and taste its contents. Kirkland Cokesbury has been a great resource for this. If I buy a book on line and find I do not like it will I be able to return it for a refund? Will the refund be immediate or will I have to wait for the Cokesbury establishment to wander through its maze before a refund is received?

  3. That’s too bad. I really like going into the store and looking over the items. I agree with Elmer – being able to look and compare items side by side is really nice, and I get a lot quicker service from the Kirkland store than I do from the website. Plus, it’s really easy to send the bill to my church instead of hunting down the PO number.

  4. I will really miss the Kirkland store! As Children’s and Adult Ministries Director for Kent UMC–one of the larger UMCs in this area– I use the Kirkland store amost exclusively for all our needs, visiting the store many times during the year to look through and find new resources. Whenever I have a question or concern, I am able to call the store and get an answer right away, get action right away, get what I need RIGHT AWAY. And if anything goes wrong with an order, or I need MORE of something IMMEDIATELY, the Kirkland Cokesbury staff bends over backward to make sure my needs are met as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Also, it is great to be able to call the store and consult with Lee when I’m looking for a specific kind of curriculum. And I always find things when I visit the store that I probably would never have seen–and if seen, not have purchased– if I was shopping exclusively online. Last but far from least, Lee, Sue, Dorothy, Nancy and the rest of the Kirkland staff and the Kirkland store itself are more than booksellers. They are resources. They are an extension of our church. They are partners in ministry.

Leave a Reply