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The Discerning Reader

NOTE: Discerning Readership is now under new ownership (and I just happen to be the owner). The information below is now obsolete as the former owners no longer have anything to do with the site.

The Discerning Reader was once considered the best place on the internet to buy Reformed literature. Almost all the books they stocked were solid and they really showed good judgment in what they did and did not sell. Recently, though, complaints against the store have begun to add up. There are three very serious complaints registered with the Bad Business Bureau that you can read here. There is a consistent theme with the complaints:

  • “I wanted to cancel backordered items, like other customers. They responded by calling me “unchristian”, a “jerk” and worse expletives.”
  • “[The] owner and operator of DR, phoned me at home to verbally abuse me. He told me that I was a horrible person, terrible Christian, etc. When I politely tried to reply, he bullingly shouted over me so that I could not be heard. Then he said, “Go [expletive] yourself…” I hung up.”
  • DR’s owner replied to my email immediately (suddenly I have no problem getting responses from them), to reinforce his own confidence in “where my life is ultimately headed” (if you get my drift). Again, much more blunt terms were used by him, and I was told that I needed to get my life on track.”

Phil Johnson (John MacArthur’s right-hand man) has documented much of this and writes “as we have sought to understand and make sense of the changes taking place on the various Discerning Reader-sponsored Web sites, we have more than once been on the receiving end of some choice but unprintable expletives from Mr. Schlapfer.”

Beyond the alleged abusive language and poor service, The Discerning Reader has also changed its theological stance. It no longer focuses on Reformed literature but has fully embraced postmodernism, even writing an article entitled The Dangerous Pursuit of Reformed Theology.

One alternative, other than Amazon, are Monergism Books. And as I indicated yesterday, Read ‘N Reap seeks to stock only solid books.

Consider this a public service announcement.