The Love Dare continues to climb for the top of bestsellers lists since its release two months ago.
The book that began as a plot device for faith-based movie “Fireproof” is No. 2 on the New York Times' Top Paperback Advice list after eight weeks on the list and No. 1 on the list of CBA (The Association for Christian Retail) Best Sellers.
Before its release on Sept. 26, over 300,000 copies of the pro-marriage books were already sold and a third round of printing was underway.
“This is the fastest-selling book we’ve ever handled,” reported John Thompson, vice president of marketing for the book’s publisher, B&H Publishing Group, in an announcement.
“In America, the average book sells about 5,000 copies,” he noted.
Before hitting the printers, the book was merely a plot device in the highly-anticipated movie “Fireproof,” which has so far reaped over $30 million in ticket sales.
In “Fireproof,” fireman Caleb Holt (played by Kirk Cameron) is asked by his father to take a 40-day marriage challenge before moving forward with divorce proceedings to end his seven-year marriage to wife Catherine (played by Erin Bethea). The “challenge” is presented in the form of a book, The Love Dare, which Holt agrees to read and which eventually transforms him and his view of love, marriage, and faith.
According to the movie’s promoters, pre-screenings for “Fireproof” left audiences asking, “How can I get the book?”
In response, brothers and associate pastors Alex and Stephen Kendrick, who together directed and produced “Fireproof,” made the effort to get it out.
“We shut out the world and wrote for several weeks,” said Stephen Kendrick in a released statement. “We weren’t expecting such demand so early.”
The result was The Love Dare, a book that helps readers learn each day about a unique aspect of the nature of love and offers a “dare” to help implement that characteristic into their marriage.
“It’s a plot device, it’s a book, it’s a marriage saver, it’s a movement,” commented B&H Publishing Group’s Thompson.
The book’s release comes as married couples have become a minority, with studies showing that 50 percent of people – regardless of religious affiliation – will be divorced at least once in their lifetime.
And, more recently, a poll by Gallup’s 2008 Values and Beliefs survey earlier this year found that an alarming 70 percent of Americans now believe that divorce is “morally acceptable.”
The latest figure – the highest on record – represents an 11 percent increase from just 7 years ago and a 3 percent increase from 2 years ago. The acceptability of divorce among Americans was ranked higher than all of the other 16 ethical issues surveyed – including the death penalty, gambling, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, abortion and medical research on animals.
It is for such reasons that pro-family groups have been rallying behind “Fireproof” and The Love Dare.
“Few things are more important to church and society than marriage and family life,” explained Brad J. Waggoner, president and publisher of B&H Publishing Group, in a released statement.
“When the destruction of a broken marriage strikes close to home, people normally desire a remedy,” he added. “The Love Dare is a great source of practical wisdom that will help marriages, whether just starting out or celebrating golden anniversaries.”
Evidence of The Love Dare’s impact is readily available at ShareTheLoveDare.com, where visitors create online journals to document their journey through the “love dare” process.
“I am on day 7 of falling back in love with my wife,” writes “Gregg,” who received a copy of the book from his father after he and his wife “Jennifer” filed for divorce, much like the characters in “Fireproof.”
“This movie and this book have truly made an impact on how I see things and how I should see things,” he wrote Monday.
“I hope that things will continue to progress towards a happily ever after,” he said, noting that his divorce could be finalized as early as Dec. 22. “The first week was tough at times, but we are still sticking it out.”
The Love Dare is currently selling for $14.99 a copy and will be released again next year as a special keepsake. The keepsake edition’s release will coincide with the DVD release of “Fireproof” on Jan. 27, 2009. The Spanish edition, El Desafío del Amor, hits stores this Dec. 15.