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55 Years of Tyndale House Publishing

We originally ran this in May 2012, so if we’re doing the math correctly, this is Tyndale’s 55th Anniversary year. Here it is with minor updates.

As the story goes, Ken Taylor wrote Living Letters on a commuter train to read to his kids in their nightly family Bible story time. Armed with yellow lined paper and a copy of the NRSV, he restated the text in words they could relate to.

And a whole lot of other people related to those words, too. When nobody was interested in a publishing deal, Ken formed Tyndale House Publishers which turns 50 — now 55 in 2017 — this year. An endorsement from Billy Graham of Living Letters and later Living Gospels and later Living Psalms and Proverbs followed.

I have a threefold relationship with the company that’s identified in my internal systems simply as TYN.

  • I’m a longtime consumer. We share the same values and I respect their product integrity. Readers of my two other blogs will note that when I need a go-to translation for a scripture, my preference is NLT. My take-to-church Bible is also a large print NLT.
  • I’m a blogger. Tyndale, Nelson and Zondervan have been most generous with print review copies, and though I haven’t done much with Tyndale product in the past year, I appreciate the opportunity that exists.
  • I’m a retailer. At this point, I’m prepared to say; “Two out of three ain’t bad.” I don’t let the politics of retail cloud my admiration for the company’s products, though I really do wish a lot of things were different right now.

So congratulations to Mark Taylor and the rest of the gang at Tyndale. I most sincerely wish you all God’s best in the years to come.

The picture above is from a photo history of the company. Click this link and then click the small boxes under the timeline.

When this first ran I left the “wish a lot of things were different” phrase hanging. That’s not really fair. So 5 years later, here are the things I was thinking about at the time that never made it into the finished article:

  • We’re 50% full-service Christian bookstore and 50% Christian book outlet. I wish Tyndale played the remainder game. Our Baker, Nelson, Zondervan, Cook remainders serve to introduce us and our customers to many authors and products we wouldn’t otherwise carry. Many become permanent part of our inventory later on at full price.
  • Some of TYN’s nicest Bible cover concepts are [personal opinion to follow] squandered on leather editions of One Year Bible product. I’ve had more than one woman tell me she wants “that one” and then has to be let down when told that it’s scrambled text. I know the OYB brand is a big deal for the company but it doesn’t fare well in my store.
  • Again, covers. They do some really cool things but as soon as they’ve arrived they’re discontinued.
  • The Canadian distributor’s inventory can be rather thin at times. I love their service when things are in-stock. Not so cool when things backorder.
  • I also love special buying opportunities in terms of both SuperSaver pricing (for the customer) or higher discounts (for me). Don’t really see much of this. Sometimes we need to really bend our own pricing to help a small church with a big need. We do get small concessions on discount at times, but are turned down on others. And while “Suck it up; times are tough for everybody;’ may not be the exact word-for-word quotation, it was a sentiment for which I was totally unprepared. [2017 Update: We bought some SDI Bible product recently. We had to take the bad with the good, of course. To me, missing pages in a Bible is a deal-breaker. When you write off what can’t be sold, I’m not sure you’re really ahead.]


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