Hedstrom starts with a brief, of sorts, for the book markets and book cultures, and why that study is important in the study of religion:
"Religions also always take on the characteristics of their moment, of their surrounding culture. When you think about the United States in the 20th century, and still in the 21st century, I think the most powerful cultural forces we've got are media and the consumer marketplace. We shape our identities so much through what we consume and how we choose to consume all kinds of commodities, and how we consume media in particular. And, for a lot of Americans, over the course of the the 20th century, the most culturally significant commodity that they bought were books."
His book, I think, will be a good addition to the growing body of work on religious book cultures.