The United Methodist Publishing House is closing all its Cokesbury stores, ending a signature bricks-and-mortar presence for the denomination, one that has been in place for generations.

A fast-changing landscape in bookselling prompted the publishing house to focus its energy and investments in selling online and through its call center.

By April 30, 2013, all 38 “full-line” stores and 19 seminary stores will close.

“Cokesbury has been serving for more than 200 years, and during that time has continuously adapted to the changing landscape affecting congregations and their leaders,” said UMPH President and Publisher Neil Alexander in a Nov. 5 statement.

He added: “A shift toward all things digital and the convenience of placing orders at any time is the reality of Cokesbury today. It is difficult to see the closure of Cokesbury local stores, but doing so will allow us to make a greater investment in the ways of shopping with Cokesbury that customers increasingly prefer.”

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