Christian Retailing

David C Cook announces key hire, promotion Print Email
Written by Burns   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:19 PM America/New_York

Publisher names new editorial director and associate publisher

IngridBeckDavid C Cook has appointed industry veteran Ingrid Beck as the editorial director of trade books and hired longtime publishing professional Tim Peterson as associate publisher of trade books.

Beck started with David C Cook as an assistant editor before moving into the position of developmental editor, working primarily with the Honor Books line. Her role later expanded to managing editor and author relations manager for the trade books team. Prior to her appointment as editorial director, Beck held the position of senior managing editor. Her new position also broadens her role into the acquisition and development of new titles.Tim-Peterson

“Ingrid has long brought a creative and consistent leadership presence to our team,” said Alex Field, publisher of trade books & media for David C Cook. “Her reputation among her peers and within the industry is widely recognized, and this promotion is well-deserved.”

Before joining David C Cook, Ingrid worked with River Oak Publishing—which was later purchased by David C Cook—and then with Bordon Books as managing editor.

“It is a great joy and privilege to collaborate with our authors and the Cook team to birth great books that transform lives,” Beck said about her promotion.
Peterson comes to David C Cook from Baker Publishing Group where he worked for the Bethany House imprint as an acquisition editor. Prior to that, Peterson was a marketing director for Baker Publishing Group for nine years, and he also spent several years as a sales manager with Zondervan.

“David C Cook has a long legacy of inspiring and instructing the body of Christ,” Peterson said about the move. “I’m pleased to join this team which has faithfully reinvented that legacy during one of the most challenging and exciting eras in publishing history.”

Field sees Peterson as “a fantastic addition to the growing David C Cook trade books team,” he said. “We’re excited for the future, especially with Tim helping us to strategically build a forward-looking publishing program.” —Burns

Val Buick joins Lighthouse Christian Products Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:18 PM America/New_York

Executive held role at Inspirio and Family Christian Stores

ValBuickLighthouse Christian Products Co. announced the hire of Val Buick as executive vice president and CEO.

“We are very excited that Val decided to join our team,” said George Nizynski, president and co-owner of the company with his wife, Pat. “We cannot think of anyone more highly regarded in the Christian gift industry. We have known Val for approximately 18 years. She was our first gift buyer at Family Christian Stores. Val will focus on helping Lighthouse expand its product offering into new and additional categories.”

Buick said she was “thrilled” to be a part of the company.

“I look forward to working closely with the wonderful and talented people to grow Lighthouse into the future,” she added.

Buick comes to Lighthouse from RBC Ministries where she was director of marketing. Prior to RBC, she was senior vice president at Inspirio, the gift group at Zondervan. —Johnson

Mary Manz Simon reflects on changes in the children’s market Print Email
Written by Production   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:17 PM America/New_York

Children's author-educator finds pluses and minuses in kids’ products in the last 20 years of Christian publishing

 Twenty years ago, CBA-released trade books had a “Sunday school look.” Today, most of our products are visually competitive with general market releases.

 As inventory in brick-and-mortar stores shifted to include more gifts, retailers relocated their children’s department so it was not adjacent to breakables. As a result, the children’s department is often buried at the back of the store.

 When adult authors down-aged into the children’s space, picture books became even more text heavy. In recent years, there has been a significant improvement, as word counts continue to drop.

 Publishers have become excellent trend-spotters. Twenty years ago, a theme would appear in Christian retail at least two years after launching in the general market. Today, products in Christian stores reflect what’s trending in every aspect of publishing and production.

  This fall, VeggieTales in the House (DreamWorks Animation) is slated to become the latest chapter in the Big Idea success story. In previous years, some retailers credited their survival to Veggie releases. However, some children’s video series have missed an opportunity to grow due to the increasing dominance of licensed Veggie products.

 New Day Christian Distributors has pursued aggressively prime general-market toy companies Melissa & Doug, Playmobil and Fisher-Price. As a result, CBA retailers can offer products, some of which have generic Christian content, from these quality brands. In addition, the bar for toy excellence in our channel has been raised in the past four years.
 The homeschool section in Christian stores has paralleled the growth of this educational market.

 Because Christian market publishers typically have smaller print runs, our publishers continue to limit the number of novelty elements in books because of high production costs.

 Two product categories—children’s Bibles and Bible storybooks—have been criticized as being over-published. However, retailers say this is a growing sales category. As our publishers offer such incredible variety, customers can find products to meet their needs.

 Kerusso did retailers a great service with the introduction of their small footprint children’s T-shirt merchandiser. Many of the “holy hardware” companies have followed their example with display units that attractively (and neatly!) display product in a small space.

 The tween section is still looking for a home at bricks and mortar. Too often, books for 8-to 12-year-olds are still shelved dangerously near books for younger children.

 After church-based stores were accepted and acknowledged as legitimate, children’s products got a boost from this new sales channel, thanks to the consistent presence of children and family ministry at the congregational level.

 In a nod to the experienced-based shopping experience demanded by today’s consumers, most stores now offer at least a table/chairs, TV and play space for children.

See p. 22 to learn more about attending Mary Manz Simon’s children’s product workshop, celebrating 20 years at the International Christian Retail Show this year.

Cambridge Bibles’ sales and distribution reverts to Cambridge Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:11 PM America/New_York

Baker Publishing Group refocuses on original works as partnership ends

CambridgeBibleBaker Publishing Group has been the North American distributor for Cambridge University Press’ Bible publishing since July 1990. Twenty-four years after starting the partnership, Baker and Cambridge Bibles have agreed to move sales and distribution back to Cambridge.

Dwight Baker, president of Baker Publishing Group, said the move signals a refocus for his company.

“We plan to focus exclusively on our mission, which is to publish original works,” Baker said.

Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing David Lewis added: “It has been a privilege and an honor to be able to sell Cambridge Bibles to the North American market for the past several years. We are confident that Cambridge will do an excellent job of supplying these wonderful Bibles to the market going forward.  We wish them every success.”

Cambridge University Press, which is part of the University of Cambridge, started accepting orders in early June. —Johnson

'Inc.’ names John Maxwell No. 1 leadership expert Print Email
Written by Burns   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:10 PM America/New_York

Hachette Nashville author tops list that includes Seth Godin, Jack Welch

JohnCMaxwell_200Mainstream business publication Inc. named author John C. Maxwell the No. 1 leadership and management expert ahead of Seth Godin, Jack Welch and similar well-known names. The list was born out of an extensive study measuring influence across nine metrics, including number of Twitter followers, blog reputation and Google search ratios.

“Even truly groundbreaking business thinkers use the ideas, the perspectives and the advice of others as the basis for their own thoughts and actions,” Jeff Haden wrote in the “Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts” Inc. story. “The purpose of our work was to find out which people are globally the most popular management and leadership writers, in the English language.”

Hachette Nashville is publishing three titles with Maxwell in 2014: How Successful People Grow: 15 Ways to Get Ahead in Life (Center Street, April); Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership (Center Street, Oct. 7); and Learning From the Giants: Life and Leadership Lessons From the Bible (FaithWords, Nov. 11).

"This number-one ranking by Inc. is a great affirmation of John Maxwell's tremendous work in leadership training," said Rolf Zettersten, publisher. "Millions of people have benefited from the insights he has shared in his best-selling books and speaking engagements.  We extend our congratulations to him!"

Hachette Nashville also announced in March that the company had sold more than 3 million books by Maxwell, whose career sales top 21 million. The milestone was celebrated at a special event with Hachette employees.

“Three million copies is just one way to measure the profound impact that John Maxwell has had on a generation of leaders,” Zettersten said. “His books are such a rich resource for leaders at every level who aspire to grow and develop.”

Hachette Nashville first partnered with Maxwell in 2002 for the best-selling book Running With the Giants. His Hachette titles now include How Successful People Lead, How Successful People Think, The 5 Levels of Leadership and The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.

Maxwell, founder of The John Maxwell Co. and EQUIP, has career sales of more than 21 million books. —Burns

BelieversPress acquires Glass Road Media Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:09 PM America/New_York

Authors to benefit from acquisition of former Thomas Nelson publicist’s company

RebecaSeitzDaveSheetsBelieversPress acquired the publishing and PR divisions of Glass Road Media as of June 1. The publisher—a part of 1Source, a collaborative effort with the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild, SuzyQ Author Coaching, Bethany Press and Anchor Distributors—continues to build a comprehensive platform of author services with the acquisition.

With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, BelieversPress and Glass Road Media expected the full execution of contracts by July 1.

Founded by former Thomas Nelson fiction publicist Rebeca Seitz, Glass Road was launched in 2005 as a public relations company specializing in the promotion of story-driven projects. Publishing and agency divisions were added in 2010. The firm has secured coverage for its authors in a wide variety of outlets—from USA Today and NPR to The 700 Club and Christian Post—and worked with the majority of major CBA houses. Seitz said it is also home to the oldest blogger database in the industry.

“I am humbled and honored with the partnership that has developed with BelieversPress,” she said. “After nine years of building this firm, even through the economic downturn, I am grateful for the privilege of growing it into a part of something that can achieve even greater impact. Our expansions have always been pursued in answer to the needs and desires of authors. I think coming under BelieversPress yields an enormous addition of resources we can bring to the author table.”

Seitz will remain on board as president of the Glass Road division of BelieversPress. LeAnn Hamby, who has served with Glass Road for more than four years, will remain director of publicity. All publishing and public relations assets will transfer to BelieversPress.

Additionally, the nonprofit SON: Spirit Of Naples, which Seitz helped found, is acquiring Glass Road’s agency division.

“BelieversPress has a passion to serve authors, whether they are successfully published—see Jerry B. Jenkins Select Line—or first-timers,” said Dave Sheets, president of BelieversPress. “Glass Road Media gives us a similarly passionate team with experience in publicity that we didn’t have before. Our authors asked for strong PR, and we’re excited that now we can deliver it.” —Burns

Todd Starnes launches nationwide book tour in ‘God Less America’ bus Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:06 PM America/New_York

FOX News commentator and Charisma House author mobilizes culture warriors for religious liberty in U.S.

GodLessAmericaBusLifeWayFOX News Radio host Todd Starnes visited top stores, including Christian retailers, on his nationwide book tour, making his way from city to city in a bus adorned with an advertisement for the newly released God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values (FrontLine/Charisma House).

The bus tour included book signings at stores including LifeWay Christian Stores in Missouri, Georgia and California, and Christian Supply in Spartanburg, S.C. God Less America sold out at a number of stores.

On the tour, Starnes hosted speaking engagements and town hall events at various city centers in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and California.

Starnes’ book raises the alarm about the war on Christian and traditional values in America. He uses recent news stories and compelling interviews with today’s top conservative leaders to bring to light the brewing storm in the United States. Among the issues he cites are the White House waging an all-out assault on religious liberty and public schools indoctrinating children with the gospel of secularism.

“Together we are a mighty force,” Starnes said. “We need men and women willing to stand firm in the faith. We need patriots willing to defend religious liberty. They may spy on our phone lines. They may throw us in jail. They may take away our shops and bakeries. They may demand to know the content of our prayers. But we will not be bullied. We will not be intimidated. We will not be silenced.”

LifeWay’s Bridgeton, Missouri, store hosted Starnes for the second time.
“The people that came loved him,” said Francine Evans, manager of the Bridgeton store. “They went wild that he was here.”

Local media covered the tour in various cities with print and radio reports. Supporters showed up in droves to meet Starnes and voice their concerns about waning religious liberties. Fans also took to social media with tour pictures and encouraging words via #godlessamerica and @toddstarnes. —Burns

HarperCollins Christian buys Olive Tree Bible Software Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:04 PM America/New_York

Publisher views e-commerce company acquisition as ‘significant addition’ to digital portfolio

OliveTree_200HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) has announced its acquisition of Olive Tree Bible Software.

Olive Tree ( is a leading online and mobile Bible resource and e-commerce company with software accessible on desktop, tablets and mobile devices across all major platforms. The company focuses on providing e-only products to facilitate how consumers read and interact with content.

The acquisition of Olive Tree directly aligns with HCCP’s mission and digital growth strategy. 

“Olive Tree’s product and technology expertise, combined with HCCP’s resources, will better equip us in the digital Bible study resources market,” said Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HCCP. “Our business objective is to continue delivering content to our readers in the format that best fits their lives. Olive Tree offers its customers incredible value through its apps and software, and this acquisition, although relatively small and strategically different than content acquisitions, provides our business with the opportunity to enhance our technical capabilities and create unique experiences for our consumers.”

Rachel Barach, currently general manager of HCCP’s Bible Gateway, will oversee Olive Tree’s operations.  

“I am thrilled to lead these two groups,” Barach said. “Olive Tree’s focus on high quality, educational Bible experiences will complement Bible Gateway’s mission to provide easy access to Scripture. Together, they will help grow biblical knowledge and engagement worldwide.

“We are committed to upholding the integrity of Olive Tree with its operating partners, publishers and consumers,” she added. “We believe that these relationships are, and will continue to be, an integral part of our strategy moving forward.”
HCCP has long experienced the value Olive Tree Bible Software brings as a retailing partner. 

“Olive Tree has always had a positive impact on the discoverability of our products,” Schoenwald said. “We believe this is a significant addition to our digital portfolio, but we are also committed to maintaining and growing relationships with all of our current online retailer and Bible software companies.”

Schoenwald believes such partnerships are “vital” to business.

“We could not fulfill our mission without their support,” he said.

Olive Tree is based in Spokane, Washington. Company founder Drew Haninger will move immediately into an advisory role during the transition period. —Johnson

News Corp to acquire Harlequin Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:03 PM America/New_York

News Corp announced May 2 that it has agreed to acquire Harlequin Enterprises from media company Torstar Corp. Harlequin will become a division of HarperCollins Publishers, a News Corp subsidiary, and will remain headquartered in Toronto.

As a leading publisher of women’s fiction, Harlequin has issued titles in 34 languages and in over 100 international markets. The acquisition will extend HarperCollins’ global platform, particularly in Europe and Asia Pacific, and is expected to accelerate the digital evolution of both companies.

Harlequin publishes the work of more than 1,300 authors and releases more than 110 titles monthly.

HarlequinWithTagline_200“Harlequin is a perfect fit for the new News Corp, vastly expanding our digital platform, extending our reach across borders and languages, and is expected to provide an immediate lift to earnings,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp. “Harlequin has a devoted audience around the globe and an empathetic insight into contemporary cultures, which is itself a remarkable resource. This acquisition will broaden the boundaries of both HarperCollins and Harlequin, and is a significant step in our strategy to establish a network of digital properties in the growth regions of the world.”

Craig Swinwood, publisher and CEO of Harlequin is “excited to be joining HarperCollins Publishers,” he said. “This transaction will allow Harlequin to continue to operate as a distinct and successful brand within a larger publishing company. We’re excited to be able to take full advantage of HarperCollins’ robust resources, scale and capabilities to expand the reach of our books and grow our business.”

The purchase price of the acquisition is C$455 million (US $415 million) in cash. Closing is anticipated by the end of the third quarter of calendar year 2014.

Literary agent Steve Laube of The Steve Laube Agency noted that a large part of Harlequin’s sales is through direct-to-consumer mailing.

“While some titles make it to the shelves, they stay in the retail environment for only a month until the next books in the line take their place,” Laube said on his agency’s website.

He added that Harlequin’s Love Inspired and Heartsong Presents lines release about 20 new titles each month. and called Harlequin “the single largest publisher of Christian fiction in the industry” by number of titles. —Johnson

Barbour Publishing launches Shiloh Kidz imprint Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:02 PM America/New_York

Company partners with Twin Sisters on Christian, children’s educational titles

ShilohKidz-Vertical_200Barbour Publishing has announced the launch of its new children’s imprint, Shiloh Kidz, in partnership with Twin Sisters. With initial releases coming in November, the imprint will offer a wide range of educational products with formats that include boxed games, stickers and board books as well as books—devotionals, Bible stories, Bible reference and fiction—for children ages 3 to 12.

“Our vision for Shiloh Kidz is to develop kids’ products rooted in biblical truth, and it’s important that those products also teach, encourage, inspire—and if they entertain along the way, even better,” said Kelly McIntosh, Barbour’s vice president editorial.

Twin Sisters is well-known in the Christian and educational markets, and has been in business nearly 30 years.

“Being the Christian content-provider for Barbour Publishing’s newly launched Shiloh Kidz brand is an honor,” said Kim Thompson, president of Twin Sisters. “It allows us to focus on creating products that share the message of Christ.”

First titles from this new partnership include My First Bible Color and Trace Book and My First Memory Match Game: Noah’s Ark. 

Barbour’s McIntosh said she is “looking forward” to working with Twin Sisters.

“Adding their experience for already proven titles to the Shiloh Kidz catalog is really exciting for us—and nicely rounds out our mix of kids’ product offerings,” she added.

“We have been impressed with Barbour Publishing’s business and dedication to the Christian market,” said Karen Hilderbrand, CEO of Twin Sisters. “This strategic partnership will allow our Christian music and educational content to continue to impact teachers, children and families.”

Barbour also will be taking on the distribution and production of 71 Twin Sisters titles already available in Christian retail outlets. As titles go to reprint, they’ll be rebranded as Shiloh Kidz products. Customers currently ordering these products will be transitioned to Barbour and will be contacted by their sales reps so there is no interruption of service.

The company recently adopted a strategic publishing strategy that includes a number of imprints as a way to brand titles that are not part of its longtime value publishing program. Along with Shiloh Kidz, imprints include Barbour Bibles, Daymaker, Barbour Books, Value Books and Spanish-language imprint Casa Promesa.

In addition, earlier this year, Barbour launched Shiloh Run Press, a new imprint for the company’s original full-length fiction and Christian Living titles, which include Thank You, Billy Graham, compiled by three of Graham’s grandchildren. —Christine D. Johnson

Legacy project to highlight Dr. Dobson’s work Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:00 PM America/New_York

New DVD series harks back to his groundbreaking film series

YourLegacyDVDSeriesPoster._200tifFamily Talk’s Dr. James Dobson is introducing a new DVD series, “Building a Family Legacy,” that builds on highlights from his historic first film series, “Your Legacy.” Accompanying the series are a number of new and repackaged books and study guides in support of Dobson’s life work. Each trade book relates to a series’ DVD  from Provident Distribution and its own curriculum through LifeWay.

“Unchanging biblical principles change who we are, and we can pass that to our children, grandchildren and beyond,” said the child psychologist who built Focus on the Family and now Family Talk. “ ‘Building a Family Legacy’ can help every generation be all a family can be.”

The series ( adds new footage from Dobson’s lifetime of experience and learning. Eight DVDs—supported by books and study guides—bring intergenerational advice from Dobson, his wife, Shirley, daughter Danae and son Ryan. Along with bonus features, the titles are: Your Legacy; Bringing up Boys; Bringing up Girls; Love for a Lifetime; The Strong-Willed Child; Dare to Discipline; Straight Talk to Men; and Wanting to Believe With Ryan Dobson.

Audience numbers for the original films—shown mostly in church settings in a pre-DVD era—soared past 80 million. When Ryan Dobson, now a parent, viewed the old films on DVD in 2008, he asked his father about reworking them for today’s moms and dads.

“The first thing I did was laugh at my dad’s glasses and clothes, but I realized quickly how valuable and timeless this information was,” he said. “I picked up the phone and said, ‘Dad, my friends and I need this!’ ”

Produced and directed by David Nixon, the updated series will be available on DVD in October through Christian stores and online. A simulcast—available in churches Oct. 1-5—is expected to introduce the series to 1 million people.

“I’m at a place where I could have just retired,” said Dobson, now head of the Family Talk ministry and radio broadcast. “But God told me the job’s not finished.”

Provident’s vice president of sales believes the new DVD series will speak to this generation.

“What classic children’s films are to kids, Dobson videos are to parents,” Davis told Christian Retailing. “The ‘Legacy’ videos will be new again—and timeless—with each new generation.”

FaithWords is releasing Your Legacy: The Greatest Gift by Dr. Dobson on Sept. 2, and B&H Publishing Group is releasing Wanting to Believe: Faith, Family, & Finding an Exceptional Life by Ryan Dobson in September.

In addition to the DVDs, Tyndale House Publishers, has five titles that will be repackaged and released in September. Tyndale’s five titles are: Bringing Up Boys, Bringing Up Girls, The New Strong-Willed Child, The New Dare to Discipline and Straight Talk to Men.

Jan Long Harris, publisher of Tyndale Momentum titles, is aware of the need for such materials for parents.“During the past 12 months, Tyndale’s sales of Dr. Dobson’s books grew 16.8% compared to the previous 12-month period,” Harris said. “There is a hunger on the part of parents and families for sound Bible-based advice. Dr. Dobson’s ‘Building a Family Legacy’ project will speak into this need, and we are delighted to support the effort with the publication of special editions of Dr. Dobson’s timeless best-selling books.” —Johnson