CBD not sold here: Big Christian bookseller drops its initials after brand confusion

The next time you walk into a shop with a sign reading “CBD sold here,” you’ll be a lot less likely to find shelves full of Bibles.

One of the world’s largest retailers of Christian products, Christian Book Distributors LLC of Peabody, Massachusetts, is changing its branding to become Christianbook Inc., the company quietly announced last month. That’s because the initials by which it has been known for more than 40 years are CBD.

Like the cannabis product. And that was confusing for believers and marijuana enthusiasts alike, the company said.

“Over the last 12 months, there has been a rise in popularity of a medicinally used product derived from the cannabis plant — cannabidiol, commonly referred to as ‘CBD,'” Christianbook said in a statement. “Across the country, people see signs for ‘CBD sold here,’ which creates brand confusion.”

A row of CBD products that have never been available at cbd.com.Lucy Nicholson / Reuters file

As it turns out, Christianbook also has the official registered trademark for the name CBD and the URL cbd.com. That used to be a good thing, but no longer.

“In the past, a Google search for ‘CBD’ would place our company at the top of the results page,” the company said. “Now ‘our CBD’ is nowhere to be found in the search results, only sites for the cannabis product are listed, and paid ads are no longer allowed.”

(Google prohibits ads for “CBD,” as does Facebook, although both companies are reported to be considering whether to relax those bans.)

“As this wave of popularity over the ‘other CBD’ is not likely to subside, we will stop referring to ourselves as ‘CBD’ and will also drop the word ‘Distributors’ from our company name,” Christianbook said. “Going forward, we will operate under the name of ‘Christianbook.'”

The URL cbd.com now redirects to christianbook.com.

Sarah Bolme, director of Christian Indie Publishing Association, applauded the change.

“As CBD became more widely known for the product derived from the cannabis plant than a Christian book company, changing their brand was the wise choice for Christianbook,” Bolme wrote in the industry newsletter Marketing Christian Books.

“Wise authors and publishers will monitor their brand and be willing to make changes should a more popular similar name or acronym become more of an impediment to their brand than an asset.”

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