With the release of the final Harry Potter book, the Washington Post reports on the explosive growth of Christian fantasy:
Christian fantasy, which had been a slow seller, has caught fire recently, industry analysts say, ignited by the success of the Potter series, which has sent some Christian readers looking for alternatives. Secular and Christian publishers are churning out titles aimed at the lucrative and growing audience of readers, who are snapping up an estimated $2.4 billion in Christian books a year -- about a 30 percent increase in the past four years.
Of course, the paper continues, the growth in Christian fantasy is actually part of the overall growth in Christian fiction:
The growth in Christian fantasy books is part of the recent escalation in sales of Christian fiction. Stirred by the success of the apocalypse-themed Left Behind series, publishers are producing works of Christian suspense, thrillers, sci-fi, romance, horror (the devil is a prominent figure), mystery and -- the latest trend -- "chick lit."
"Fiction has probably been the strongest category within the Christian book explosion," said Jana Riess, religion reviews editor for Publishers Weekly. "It's definitely leading the way."