Alex Malarkey's admission about making up near-death story threatens Heaven tourism industry

Alex Malarkey has retracted his story about going to heaven and returning.Tyndale

The admission of an author of a best selling heaven tourism book that his account was not real could send the industry into a downward spiral.

Heaven tourism refers to accounts of people who allegedly experienced near death and had visited Heaven during the time that they were pronounced clinically dead, and is a very lucrative genre in Christian publishing.

However, the industry is in a spin after one of its most successful authors admitted that his published account is not true.

Christian Today had previously reported that Alex Malarkey, co-author and subject of bestselling heaven tourism book The Boy Who Did Come Back From Heaven, had revealed that he did not go to Heaven and meet Jesus as the book claimed.

Alex's admission has triggered a wave of responses from staunch critics of the heaven tourism industry. Christian publishing veteran Phil Johnson, one of the longtime detractors of the genre, told Vocativ that Malarkey's retraction of his claims "spells the end of the genre as we know it."

Publishers and booksellers also reacted to Malarkey's revelation by cutting distribution of the book, which reportedly sold more than 1 million copies. Tyndale told the Washington Post last week that they are taking the book out of print.

"We are saddened to learn that Alex Malarkey, co-author of 'The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven,' is now saying that he made up the story of dying and going to heaven," The Post quoted the Tyndale's official statement as saying. "Given this information, we are taking the book out of print."

Christian store LifeWay is also pulling out the book from its shelves, according to the Pulpit and Pen.

"LifeWay was informed this week that Alex Malarkey has retracted his testimony about visiting heaven as told in the book 'The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.' Therefore, we are returning to the publisher the few copies we have in our Store," the store said in its official statement released last week.