The Love Dare, the book that began as a plot device for the upcoming faith-based movie "Fireproof" could become the top-selling Christian book of 2008 based on sales figures prior to its release next week.
Weeks before The Love Dare hits bookstores to coincide with the theatrical premiere of "Fireproof," over 300,000 copies of the pro-marriage book have already been sold and a third round of printing is already 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 releases Sept. 26.
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 upcoming 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, especially in mobilizing people to watch the film on the opening weekend.
"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."
The book is currently selling for $14.99 a copy and will be released again in spring 2009 as a special keepsake. The keepsake edition's release will coincide with the DVD release of "Fireproof."