21 October 2022
10ofThose 15th Anniversary!
Celebrating 15 years of 10ofThose
That’s right, at 10ofThose we’re celebrating our 15th Anniversary! 15 years of hand selecting and selling resources which point to Jesus.
We talked to Jonathan Carswell, CEO and founder of 10ofThose, about how it began and the future of the business, plus we share some incredible offers to celebrate.
Jonathan Carswell isn’t your typical bookseller. A dyslexic who struggled with reading at school, his teachers may be surprised to know that he now sells books around the world.
Starting as a hobby when he was a Youth Pastor in Northern Ireland, he initially bought key books he had enjoyed and contained great Christian teaching, and sold them off cheaply to people he knew.
Jonathan explains, “I bought three books, around 1000 copies of each, and got them at a good deal, but then sold them in tens to anybody and everybody I could think of. That was really the start of 10ofThose as people said, ‘I’ll buy 10 of those, 10 of those and 10 of those!’ “
That first batch sold in about a week, and although Jonathan wasn’t initially seeking to start a business, one developed from there. By 2007, selling books had become more than a part time pursuit and the business had outgrown the spare room where the books were being stored. In September 2007, the 10ofThose website was launched, and by 2009, we had started to attend events with our travelling bookstore. 2012 saw 10ofThose transition into publishing, too.
Jonathan continues, “I was aware that books were becoming longer and more expensive, and there was a shortage of evangelistic books. We tried to bring a combination of those three things together: books an accessible length, lower cost, and also focusing on books that were written for people who weren’t yet Christians. We try not to publish for the sake of publishing, but to publish things that are needed and perhaps aren’t being done elsewhere.”
Over the course of the past 15 years, 10ofThose have sold millions of books, while also enabling millions of resources to be given away—whether gospel tracts or evangelistic testimony booklets and books.
Jonathan credits books as having had a profound impact on his own life.
“The reason why I think Christian books are so important is that if they hold to the Bible and make much of Jesus, they can totally change your life. One of the first books I ever read was the biography J. Hudson Taylor: A Man in Christ, written by Roger Steer and published by Authentic Media. Even today the impact of reading that book, and discovering Hudson Taylor’s life, and the principles and biblical guidelines that underpin his life, are impacting my life.
“In the biography of Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place, published by Hodder, there is depth and truth that I often remind myself of, and it teaches, and trains, and helps me become more like Christ. A line I always remember is when Corrie and Betsie are in the concentration camp, and Corrie turns to Betsie and says she can’t go on and Betsie turns back to her and says, ‘There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.’
“Somebody once said, ‘Books don’t change people, sentences do’, and I think that’s right. Sentences from books can have a profound impact on somebody’s life, whether it’s helping them in their walk with Christ, or perhaps introducing Jesus to them for the very first time. That’s why I want people to be reading Christian books.”
The first 10ofThose bricks and mortar shop was opened in October 2015 in Leyland, Lancashire, at the site of our warehouse. The shop is open weekdays and is a popular destination for book browsing and free tea and coffee. The offices and shop also host events throughout the year.
When asked what the highlight of the past 15 years of 10ofThose has been, Jonathan replied, “Without a doubt, it’s when I’ve spoken to somebody and they’ve asked for some recommendations. Then, sometime later, they have come back and said, ‘Thank you for your recommendation; it impacted my life in this way or that way.’ Or perhaps when somebody gets in touch saying, ‘I was given this book and I wasn’t a Christian, but I read it and as a result, I’ve come to know Jesus not only as my Saviour, but also my Lord.’ And that is very, very hard to beat as a top highlight.”
As we seek to expand 10ofThose, now having a US arm to the business that has been developed over the last 4 years, our aim is still to point people to Jesus. Being faithful in both the content of the books we sell and honouring God in all we do is a top priority, alongside developing a range of resources which bless the church and are used to share the gospel.
This year we’ve even launched a new 10ofThose podcast to share more about the work we do, and talk about Christian books – find it wherever you get your podcasts!