I met Jonathan Carswell about 11 years ago. I was serving in a parish in England. He had recently started 10ofthose.com, and our parish used them to create a parish bookstall. We have kept in touch over the years, and I was pleased when 10ofThose recently opened a U.S. branch. I’m excited to introduce you all to 10ofThose.us and its founder, Jonathan Carswell.
10ofThose has been around for a while, but many in the U.S. may not be familiar with it. How did you all get started and how are you different from other booksellers?
10ofThose began as a hobby in my bedroom when I was a youth worker in Northern Ireland. When it began, you had to buy 10 copies at a time, hence the name “10 of those.” What makes us different from other booksellers is that we handpick everything that we sell so that we know that it holds to the Bible. We pick the best books from across all the evangelical publishers and then discount them to make them more affordable and so that more books are distributed. We sell in four main ways: online, direct to churches, and at pop up bookstores for churches and conferences. Since 2010, we’ve also been publishing affordable resources that add great value to the Christian publishing world that other book sellers have picked up as well.
When did 10ofThose.us get started?
It began in the UK in 2008 and in the US at the start of 2019.
When buying books, there are good reasons for not supporting some sellers, such as Amazon. Unlike the U.K., North America has a lot of options for purchasing Christian books and materials. Why expand to the U.S., and where do you see 10ofThose.us fitting into the already crowded landscape?
10ofThose came to the U.S. for two main reasons. One, we wanted to see the whole church family reading quality Christian books that excite them about Jesus. Often pastors and seminary students have access to great books; however, there are many in the church family who are not regularly reading these resources or attending conferences where these books are being promoted. We wanted to impact that by making them readily available for the whole church family. Additionally, we have a great passion to see evangelistic resources used widely to reach out to those who don’t yet love Jesus. We are aware that, sadly, there isn’t a habit of publishing and distributing digestible, winsome, affordable evangelistic material. In what we publish and promote, we want to see that change so that millions of pieces of literature will go out across America and are used by God to bring people to himself.
10ofThose.us is often at conferences. At which conferences might our readers have seen you?
10ofThose provides books at lots of large and small events! Large conferences you may have seen us at include T4G, TGC Conferences, Sing!, and Cross Con, but we also do lots of small to medium sized conferences including Acts 29, the Pillar Network, Faithful Conference, and many more. One of the other things that 10ofThose provides is pop up bookstores for churches where we bring hand picked materials to Sunday services or other events, give personalized book recommendations to the group, and make them available for purchase. If you’re interested in having us come to your event, please email us at email@example.com, or you can find events near you on our website.
What are your long-term aspirations for 10ofThose.us?
Ultimately, our aspiration is not about 10ofThose, but about seeing the gospel go out and people fall deeper in love with Jesus. If 10ofThose can play a small part of helping with that, then I would love to see 10ofThose distribute a number of books, with a focus on evangelistic resources. The US and the church in the West at large is in a fortunate position that we are generally affluent; therefore, I’d like to see sales in the West supporting distribution of resources in places that currently have limited finances. We already do this on a small level, but I would love to see it increase.
What are some books and materials that 10ofThose.us sells that you’re particularly excited about right now?
It’s funny I’m in this job because I’m dyslexic and I find reading difficult. If I read a book once, I think I’m doing well! If I read it more than once, it’s because I forgot I read it or because it is so good I want to read it again. A book I’m rereading for the fourth time is Incomparable by Andrew Wilson. In it, he goes through sixty names and characteristics of God in short chapters that are easily digestible. Another one that I read recently is Jackie Hill Perry’s Holier than Thou, which in many ways doesn’t say anything new, but she has an excellent turn of phrase which helps make her content really fresh and also deeply challenging. I do very much enjoy biography and learning from those who have gone before us. A London Sparrow tells the story of Gladys Aylward, who was a pioneer missionary to China. Though her story was familiar to me, the in-depth reading of this biography by fellow missionary Phyllis Thompson was encouraging and powerful.
What book are you in the middle of reading and what’s the best part about it?
I’m currently reading a couple of books by the same author, which is not something I usually do! I’m reading Surprised by Jesus and Deeper, both written by Dane Ortlund. The former is a book that takes the surprising events of Jesus in each of the four gospels and draws out the character of Christ through these unlikely events. Any book that takes our eyes off ourselves and puts them on our Saviour is, in my view, worth reading. Deeper is a book with a couple of stand-out chapters. Chapter 4, on the love of God, has been one I’ve been meditating on. On one level, God’s love is so simple and yet, because of its depth and reach, I still struggle to comprehend it.
Is there anything else about 10ofThose.us that would be helpful for our readers to know about?
On a practical level, our shipping in the United States is only ever $1, no matter the size of your order and, unlike some companies who use their profits to send their owners to space, we use our profits to support missions around the world! On a deeper level, I would greatly appreciate people praying for our ministry. We see each book we sell as a little gospel seed that could grow into eternal fruit in the power of God. Therefore I’d ask people to pray that these books would not only be bought, but read and given away to spread the good news to those who are perishing.