Industry News – Baker Publishing Group Acquires Regal Books from Gospel Light

Baker Publishing Group announced today plans to acquire about 600 titles from Gospel Light. Here’s the press release:

Gospel Light has entered into a Letter of Intent to sell the publishing assets of Regal Books to Baker Publishing Group. According to Stan Jantz, interim CEO of Gospel Light, and Baker president Dwight Baker, the goal is to have the final purchase agreement signed in May and the transaction closed by June 30, 2014.

“Over the last several months, the board and leadership of Gospel Light made a strategic decision to concentrate on Gospel Light’s core mission,” said Jantz. “From the time Henrietta Mears founded Gospel Light in 1933, resourcing churches with curriculum and Vacation Bible School materials so they can reach children and families with the gospel has been at the core. In order to concentrate on that mission, the board decided to find a compatible new home for Regal’s authors.”

Dwight Baker is keenly aware of that compatibility. “As a family-owned publisher of three generation and 75 years, Baker Publishing Group has a long-standing fellowship with the Gospel Light/Regal Books community,” he said. “Our two respective publishing programs complement each other well. I have observed with admiration as Regal introduced such authors as George Barna, John Perkins, Norm Wright and Dutch Sheets to a wide readership. This is the legacy of Regal, and a standard that we are compelled to maintain.”

“Regal was founded by Bill Greig Jr. in 1965, and the first book published was How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious by Fritz Ridenour,” Jantz added. “That the book is still in print and still selling, with the author living 30 minutes from our home office in Ventura, is a fitting testimony to the staying power of Regal’s authors and mission. The Greig family is pleased that the legacy and ministry of authors like Fritz and hundreds more published by Regal over the years will continue to grow within the Baker Publishing Group.”

ECPA Announces 2014 Finalists

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) has announced the 2014 finalists in seven categories: Bible, Bible Reference, Children, Fiction, Inspiration, New Author, and Non-Fiction. I put the Baker titles in bold. Here’s the list:

Category: Bibles

  • The CEB Study Bible, Abingdon Press, 9781609260408
  • Holman Study Bible NKJV Edition, B&H Publishing Group, 9781433605093
  • The MacArthur Study Bible NIV, John MacArthur, General Editor, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 9781401677404
  • The New Inductive Study Bible ESV, Precept Ministries International, Harvest House Publishers, 9780736947008
  • The Wayfinding Bible NLT, Doris Rikkers, General Editor; Jeannette Taylor, Development Editor, Tyndale House Publishers, 9781414361925

Category: Bible Reference

  • The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Tremper Longman III, Ed., Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 9780801012976
  • Christianity and World Religions, Derek Cooper, P&R Publishing Company, 9781596384460
  • Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (2nd Edition), Joel B. Green, Jeannine K. Brown, Nicholas Perrin, InterVarsity Press, 9780830824564
  • Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters, Marion Ann Taylor, Ed., Agnes Choi, Associate Ed., Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 9780801033568
  • The King in His Beauty, Thomas R. Schreiner, Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 9780801039393
  • Sermon on the Mount, Scot McKnight, Zondervan, 9780310327134

Category: Children

  • The Boy and the Ocean, Max Lucado, Illustrated by T. Lively Fluharty, Crossway, 9781433539312
  • Circle Maker For Kids, Mark Batterson, Zondervan, 9780310724926
  • God’s Love For You Bible Storybook, Richard and Renee Stearns, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 9781400321872
  • Eternity, Randy Alcorn, Kingstone Comics, 9781936164257
  • The Sparkle Box, Jill Hardie, Ideals Publications, A Guideposts Company, 9780824956479

Category: Fiction

  • Burning Sky, Lori Benton, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, 9780307731470
  • Dark Justice, Brandilyn Collins, B&H Publishing Group, 9781433679537
  • Iscariot: A Novel of Judas, Tosca Lee, Howard Books, A Division of Simon& Schuster, Inc., 9781451683769
  • The Prayer Box, Lisa Wingate, Tyndale House Publishers, 9781414388250
  • Wings of Glass, Gina Holmes, Tyndale House Publishers, 9781414366418

Category: Inspiration

  • He Walks Among Us: Encounters with Christ in a Broken World, Richard and Renee Stearns, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 9781400321865
  • Launch Your Life, Kenny Silva, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 9781418550110
  • Sober Mercies, Heather Kopp, Jericho Books, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, 9781455527748
  • 20,000 Days and Counting, Robert D. Smith, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 9780849948541
  • Welcome to Our Table: Sharing Favorite Recipes, Inspirational Stories, and Heartwarming Gatherings, Shirley and Danae Dobson, with Julie Johnson (photographer), Harvest House Publishers, 9780736959445

Category: New Author

  • Called to Stay: An Uncompromising Mission to Save Your Church, Caleb Breakey, Harvest House Publishers, 9780736955423
  • Falling Into Place,Hattie Kauffman, Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 9780801015380
  • Inspired You, Marian Parsons, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 9781400320882
  • Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage, Allison Vesterfelt, Moody Publishers, 9780802407290
  • Resurrection Year, Sheridan Voysey, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 9780849964800

Category: Non-Fiction

  • C.S. Lewis – A Life, Alister McGrath, Tyndale House Publishers, 9781414339351
  • Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem, Kevin DeYoung, Crossway, 9781433533389
  • The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent: An Informed Response to Islam’s War with Christianity, Erwin W. Lutzer, Harvest House Publishers, 9780736951326
  • God’s Double Agent, Bob Fu with Nancy French, Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 9780801015724
  • Joni and Ken, Ken & Joni Eareckson Tada with Larry Libby, Zondervan, 9780310314691

Some observations. Thomas Nelson has the most titles on the list with seven. Baker Publishing Group is second with five. Third place is tied between Tyndale and Harvest House. I was surprised by the absence of Bethany Publishing from the fiction list.

Some Articles of Interest from the Christian Research Journal

I don’t talk a lot about magazine articles on this blog. We’re mostly about books. But we do sell magazines and occasionally I browse through ones that we sell. One of the more popular ones is the Christian Research Journal. In the most recent issue (Vol. 36/No. 06/2013)  I found a number of articles that interested me. If one or more these seems interesting to you pick up a copy. The issue is dedicated to the gun control debate but that’s not what caught my eye.

What Cops Can Teach Christians about the Critical Use of Language” by J. Warner Wallace

“Does the Bible Require Christians to Attend Church?” by Kevin DeYoung and Jason Helopoulos

The money quote here is a quote they give from John Stott: “I trust that none of my readers is that grotesque anomaly, an un-churched Christian. The New Testament knows nothing of such a person.” (The Living Church, p. 19. IVP, 2007)

“God and the ‘Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics’” by William Lane Craig

Two articles were extended book reviews:

“The New Nothingness: A Look at Lawrence Krauss’s A Universe from Nothing by Dean C. Halverson

Halverson offers a nice review of A Universe from Nothing.

“The Myth of Persecution: A Provocative Title, an Overdone Thesis” by Paul L. Maier

In this article Maier gives a critical review of The Myth of Persecution by Candida Moss. (HarperOne, 2013) Maier says, “The basic problem is that what is true in this book is not new, and what is new in this book is mostly not true.” Moss writes, “Scholars of early Christianity agree that there is very little evidence for the persecution of Christians (p. 18). Maier responds, “In fact, the only scholar I know of is Candida Moss! The evidence is instead overwhelming and categorical.” (55)

Christian Research Journal

Thank you HarperCollins Christian Publishing!

I want to say thank you to all the good people from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP)  for allowing me to attend their sales conference last week. For a week I was immersed in the fall line up and I must say there are some very exciting things on the horizon. Though my interests lie mostly in academic, reference and Bibles I took something away from each of the presentations including general trade, Spanish, fiction, and gift books. I appreciate this element because as a retailer I need to have at least some awareness of other product outside of my specialty so as to better serve all of my customers.

I owe a special thanks to Russ Schwartz (Vice President of Independent Christian Retail Sales) and Larry Avery (our sales representative) for extending me the invitation to attend. It was a pleasure to meet with many of the HCCP team who are among the best in the industry. They worked hard to make my stay comfortable. Several meals with the field reps allowed me to see the dynamic relationship they have between each other and with the company. Their job is not an easy one. How do you condense a week’s worth of material into an hour or two presentation to a store? I’m sure Larry thinks he doesn’t need to come to our store now since I can do his job for him. Sorry Larry, we still want to see your happy face. You can’t get off that easy. In the next few days I’ll give you some of the things I’m most excited about.

Just a quick note. The Word Biblical Commentary is moving from Thomas Nelson to the Zondervan side of the house. I didn’t see any new covers just a new set of editors will be maneuvering this series forward.

I’m Going to Nashville!

Next week I’ll be heading for Nashville, Tennessee. At the kind invitation of HarperCollins Christian Publishing I’ll be attending their sales conference looking at forthcoming books and Bibles. I’m very excited about this opportunity and grateful to HarperCollins for allowing me to participate. When I get back I’ll give you some of the highlights and some of the titles I’m most excited about. I’ll be leaving on Monday (Mar. 10) and returning Friday (Mar. 14). The added bonus in all of this is getting away from Michigan for a week. I’m so tired of the snow and frigid temperatures. My hometown has had over 145 inches of snow.


A Prayer for Lent – “Our Father, We Have Wandered”

I found this beautiful hymn called “Our Father, We Have Wandered” in a Lenten devotional. I offer it today as a prayer for Ash Wednesday. It can be sung to the tune of O Sacred Heart Wounded.

Our Father, we have wandered

and hidden from your face;

In foolishness have squandered

your legacy of grace.

But now, in exile dwelling,

we rise in fear and shame,

as distant but compelling,

we hear you call our name.

And now at length discerning

the evil that we do,

Behold us, Lord, returning

with hope and trust, to you.

In haste you come to meet us

and home rejoicing bring,

In gladness there to greet us

with calf and robe and ring.

O Lord of all the living,

both banished and restored,

Compassionate, forgiving

and ever-caring Lord,

Grant now that our transgressing,

our faithlessness may cease.

Stretch out your hand of blessing,

in pardon and in peace.