Posts Tagged ‘Baker Book Group’

Books About What We Do and Where We’ve Come From

December 4, 2020 2 comments

Last summer I was able to get my hands on The House of Zondervan, released in 2006 when the company was celebrating 75 years. As someone who has been in this business for awhile, I really enjoyed this, and once they got to around the mid 1980s, there were names and organizations in the story which I recognized. Besides, it’s always valuable to reconnect with the original vision.

I was told that a year or two ago a similar book about Baker Book Group was in the works. I was even given a working title, and it occurred to me at the time they ought to send it out free to people who’ve been at this a long time. But if the book ever existed — and perhaps it was just about Chosen Books or Bethany House — I can’t even locate the title anymore. (This is another example of why Google completely fails at certain types of searches. It latches on to key words to the detriment of what you’re actually seeking.) If you have one, please send me the proper title and/or ISBN.

In looking, I discovered Leap of Faith by Norman Grubb (who wrote Rees Howells: Intercessor) which is a history of Christian Literature Crusade (CLC).

I mention all this today because I just picked up a remainder copy of Heart, Soul, Mind, Strength: An Anecdotal History of InterVarsity Press, 1947 – 2007. Having worked for IVP at both the Leslie Street location in Toronto and the Denison Road warehouse in Markham, I know I’ll recognize some of the players, at least from the late 1970s.

I’m also fairly certain there’s a history of Thomas Nelson, and if not, Michael Hyatt wrote some helpful online articles which are still available.

If you really want to go deep, the periodical The Christian Librarian has an 84 page history of Christian publishing that’s free to read at Digital Commons.

Are there any books about NavPress? David C. Cook? Anyone else? Feel free to mention them to me in an email or in the comments.

Brampton, Ontario Author Launches New Fiction Series

I’d seen Susan Anne Mason‘s titles before, but didn’t realize the Bethany House author was a resident of the GTA, Brampton to be specific. She wrote the 3-part Courage to Dream series and also — what should have been the giveaway — the 3-part Canadian Crossings Series. These are both Historical Fiction, though she has a previous Contemporary series with White Rose Books, a division of Pelican which is part of Penguin Random House..

Her newest, A Haven for Her Heart, launches a new Historical Fiction series, Redemption’s Light. As you can see in the publisher description from Bethany House, there’s a Toronto element to this story:

Haunted by painful memories, Olivia Rosetti is singularly focused on running her maternity home for troubled women. Darius Reed is determined to protect his daughter from the prejudice that killed his wife by marrying a society darling. But when he’s suddenly drawn to Olivia, they will learn if love can prove stronger than the secrets and hurts of the past.

Homeless after being released from a women’s reformatory in 1939 Toronto, Olivia Rosetti is taken in by an angel of mercy, Ruth Bennington. The two discover they share a painful past and together decide to open a maternity home for troubled women.

Despite the success of the home, Olivia is haunted by her inhumane treatment at the reformatory and the way her newborn son was taken from her. She feels undeserving of love–until she meets businessman Darius Reed. Although his attention makes her heart soar, he can never learn of her past.

Greek widower Darius Reed is determined to protect his daughter from the prejudice that killed her mother. He’ll ensure her future by marrying a woman from a respected Toronto family. But when Darius meets Olivia, he’s immediately drawn to her beauty and compassion…

The book releases Tuesday, October 13th. Publisher’s Weekly said they expect the book to appeal to fans of Julie Klassen. I love that when not composing fiction, Susan is busy writing the bulletin at a local Anglican church where she is a part-time secretary (her words) or to be more accurate, the Parish Administrator.

 384 pages, paper | 19.99 (Parasource) | ISBN-13: 9780764235191

Free Samples!

If I could spice up my store a little, I’d have this woman in the blue apron from COSTCO handing out free samples. Well now, thanks to Baker Book Group, it’s possible to give out some free chapter links:

► Your Best Year Ever – Michael Hyatt…/Excerpt_9780801075254…

► Raising World Changers – Kirsten Welch…/Excerpt_9780801075797…

► Dreaming with God – Sarah Beth Marr…/Excerpt_9780801072994…

If anyone knows of more, leave a comment or send an email.

Christian Publishing Companies Took an Enormous Loss on Family Christian Closing

In a presumably recent article dated “June 10th, 2017” World Magazine recounts the end of the Family Christian Bookstores closing in this article:

The news earlier this year that Family Christian Stores would close its more than 240 retail shops startled many of its customers. But it didn’t surprise anyone familiar with the company’s recent history. Despite receiving forgiveness for more than $80 million in debt two years ago, the company still couldn’t pay all of its bills.

The article later goes on to say:

Family Christian lost about $16.6 million over about 17 months during the bankruptcy, according to court documents.

That’s a million per month. The story continues:

In February Family Christian representatives called both Baker and Tyndale publishing groups. Lewis said they asked Baker Publishing for more time to pay invoices and for a 15 percent price discount, and Baker said yes.

But others, including Tyndale, had gone as far as they could to help the struggling retailer. “They asked us for humongous increases in the discount at which we were selling to them, and we just said, no, we’ve already given you our best deal,” Tyndale CEO Mark Taylor said…

…“This is the second time in three years that we’ve taken a big hit in bad debts because of Family,” Taylor said. (He declined to name the dollar amount of Tyndale’s loss.) Lewis said Baker Publishing expected to lose between $350,000 and $400,000.

Basically, Christian publishers bailed out Family not once, but twice.

Furthermore, the article doesn’t mention that many of those same publishers — in 2016, the year in-between the two crises at Family — took similar losses on the closing of Send the Light Distribution. Nor does it mention the many write-offs which a part of everyday commerce in dealing with individual bookstores that have closed in the Amazon era.

In this writer’s opinion, those losses might be represented by authors who were never signed, books that were never fully marketed, and development of new projects that were possibly curtailed. It’s entirely possible that publishing company staff were let go in belt-tightening at these various companies.

It’s a big loss for us all.

Revell Signs Ted Dekker

We don’t normally report signings here, as many of you subscribe to various trade newsletters anyway. But this one from Publisher’s Weekly (PW) got our attention.

Ted Dekker, the author of over 40 novels including Thr3e, Obsessed, and the Circle Series, signed a multi-book deal with Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. The acquisition signals a growing interest in the suspense category, according to Andrea Doering, executive editor at Revell.

“We publish all genres, but we made a collective decision two years ago to ramp up all suspense acquisitions, including romantic suspense,” she told PW…

…Dekker, who has sold over 10 million copies of his mystery, thriller, and fantasy novels worldwide according to Revell, has been published by Worthy, Thomas Nelson, Center Street, and others over the past two decades. The world rights deal with Revell is for two books with the option of two more by Dekker…

Read the full article at Publisher’s Weekly.

HT: Tim Underwood


Lynette Eason on Writing

Without WarningLynette Eason fields questions on her writing process from an interviewer who has already read Without Warning which releases August 2nd.


  • Without Warning begins with a twist in the very first chapter. Was the first scene the most difficult one to write?

Believe it or not, the first scene is usually the easiest scene out of the entire book for me to write. I think it’s because I visualize it in its entirety before I even type the first word. That’s not to say I don’t go back and tweak as needed, but my first scene generally stays the first scene. I’ve only had a couple of books where I’ve scrapped the first scene and started over. Not too bad considering I have almost forty stories under my belt!

Click here to read the interview.

Baker Suspense

Screenshots of covers make great instant graphics for store Facebook and Twitter pages as well as store websites. A few years ago, these covers would have been too cool for Christian bookstores!

Baker Suspense

New Titles Update

Upcoming Christian Books

One of the blessings of doing Thinking Out Loud is that increased readership has led to increased generosity on the part of several Christian publishers. I probably got more books in the year after the blog started growing than in 36 previous years on the retail side of things.

Unfortunately, not every book gets reviewed there, but I wanted to mention several.

Before we begin, you’ll notice four books for men in this list. Men’s books don’t sell well in the Christian marketplace, so this emphasis is a bit of a surprise especially when you consider that all four are from HarperCollins Christian Publishing group. Hopefully the men’s-interest market can sustain all this activity happening at the same time.

The Hope Quotient – Ray Johnston (Thomas Nelson) — More than just a motivational or self-help book, this California pastor has packed this book with charts and graphics as well as supporting scripture references and comes at a time when many people feel hope is lacking. The HQ test allows readers to test their own Hope Quotient.

Rare Bird – Anna Whitson-Donaldson (Convergent) — The real life memoir of a mother whose 12-year old son was washed away in a nearby creek following a freak rainstorm. This book releases in September from Convergent. To get a taste of this, check out this post on her blog, The Bridge: One Terrible Night. Releases in September.

Small – Craig Gross (Nelson Books) — The founder of writes celebrating the ordinary and the insignificant. While the book is general in nature, Gross incorporates story from his rather unique ministry. This book is releasing in August, and unlike the others listed here, I’m already one-third of the way in, so we may end up doing a full review on this one. (Trivia: This is a must-gift book for anyone who serves their local church as a greeter!)

Overrated – Eugene Cho (David C. Cook) — I didn’t list this one on another version of this article at Thinking Out Loud earlier in the week because I intend to do a full review on it. If you had a market for Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma, this book by the founder of the One Day’s Wages charity will fit into that same social justice/social concern category. This book connected with me on a number of different levels.  September release.

7 Ways to Be Her Hero – Doug Fields (W Publishing) — The author of the classic Purpose Driven Youth Ministry and teaching pastor for the last 22 years at Saddleback is back with seven steps men can take to improve their ability to be a husband. He’s already got my attention with Step #1: Don’t Say Everything You Think. Oh, oh!

The Dude’s Guide to Manhood – Darrin Patrick (Nelson Books) — The chaplain of the St. Louis Cardinals names twelve different characteristics that can be developed in any man of various stages in life.

Be The Dad She Needs You To Be – Kevin Leman (Thomas Nelson) — One of the foremost experts on family dynamics, prolific author and speaker Leman really needs no introduction as he delves into the relationships between fathers and daughters. There is much practical advice here; fathers of girls might want to keep this book handy.

The Good Dad – Jim Daly (Zondervan) — The President of Focus on the Family comes into many of your homes via radio each and every day, though often while the Dad in the family is at work. (I’m betting at least 70% of Focus listeners are female). The book is somewhat autobiographical as Daly didn’t have the benefit of great role modeling.

Love Well – Jamie George (David C. Cook) — The subtitle is Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck and encourages the reader to move beyond the paralyzing effects of fear shame and hopelessness. This book releases in August.

Losing Your Faith, Finding Your Soul – David Robert Anderson (Convergent) — This book is releasing through the “edgy” imprint of Waterbrook/Multnomah, so it is no surprise that it deals with going through that period of life when lifelong faith assumptions start to unravel and beliefs about God, faith and church are in flux. The Connecticut Episcopal pastor deals with times we experience a “shift in our spiritual foundation.”

Nobody Knows: The Harry T. Burleigh Story – Craig von Buseck (Baker) — That this book is in hardcover adds to the mystery here. The book is subtitled, The Forgotten Story of One of the Most Influential Figures in American Music. In this case, we’re talking about the original American music form, Negro Spirituals.

Crash the Chatterbox – Steven Furtick (Waterbrook) — After getting downright giddy about Furtick’s first two books on this blog, you would think I would have done anything to get my hands on an advance reader copy of his third book. But alas, I’ve allowed myself to become jaded by all the online attention being given to Furtick’s $1.75 million (U.S.) home. I may get to this book yet, or read it privately without doing a review. I guess I’m just too disappointed in how this author’s journey is playing out, and it’s unfortunate because I had high hopes.


Weirdest Book Mash-Up Ever

November 1, 2013 2 comments

We’ve all had books with sections upside down, or in the wrong sequence, but the errant section of this book wasn’t even from the same publisher, and the paper quality would seem to indicate it wasn’t even running on the same press.

I’m forfeiting the credit in order to keep it as a souvenir.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Social Media Publicity Gambit Floundering

February 15, 2013 7 comments

John (not his real name) gets about six visitors to his blog every day. Despite some rather dismal stats, John is currently reading book number ninety-four as a member of numerous blog book review programs he’s signed up for. It’s doing wonders for his personal library, though the manager at his local Parable store is kinda wondering what happened to him.

Nobody ever really asks for stats. Only one organization, Graf-Martin in Canada had the good sense to ask bloggers to share the size of their readership. There isn’t a single book publicity program for bloggers that teaches them how to ‘tag’ their stories to attract additional readers, or how to register their URL with search engines. So bloggers of all shapes and sizes enjoy a bounty of free stuff in the hope that it will do something to spark sales, including people like John who intersperse the book reviews with pictures of his new truck, which isn’t really new, but is new to him.

As someone who has benefited greatly from these programs in the past five years, I wish to herewith advise Christian publishers everywhere that you are totally wasting your money.

Meanwhile, as I’ve mentioned here many, many times; retail frontliners have an almost zero chance of every getting one single free book in the course of a year, unless they attend a trade convention. (Though in fairness, David C. Cook Canada has a program with Baker Books that allow staff to share advance copies, but sadly — for me anyway — the program is almost complete devoid of non-fiction titles.)

But things are about to get worse — far worse — for blogs like my own Christianity 201 (which publishes excerpts of books I’m sent ) and Thinking Out Loud (which publishes reviews of books I’m sent) and Christian Book Shop Talk (which concentrates on the trade and marketing angle on new titles) as the programs are cutting back.

First of all, it’s becoming just about impossible to get an actual print book sent to a Canadian address. Since I don’t have any interest in reading electronically, I’ve already told a couple of the publishers to take a hike. Shelf-naked I came into the book business 37 years ago, and shelf-naked I shall leave.

But now Thomas Nelson’s Book Sneeze program has handed me the greatest insult of all. They suspended my account because I haven’t reviewed any of their books in over 90 days. Here’s a suggestion, Thomas Nelson: Publish some decent books every 90 days. Seriously. (I did in fact offer a title I would be willing to be consider, but was told yesterday, basically, ‘Tough luck, you missed out;’ despite my attempts to parade out my reader stats as a kind if trump card.)

You know what? The social media promotion gambit was an idea that had merit. And my store is filled with dozens upon dozens of titles that I would never have carried were it not for the buzz that was created in the Christian blogosphere. Furthermore, many of the authors were originally nothing more than bloggers like myself, and through their various iterations online — blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. — I feel like I really know these people, even though we’ve never met. Heck, I can name their spouses, their children, their favorite restaurant.

And now, as the industry contracts, industry hirelings who know neither the publishing industry they work in nor the Christian blogosphere where they are paid to toss out freebies are suddenly all busy shooting themselves in their collective feet.

So to the golden age of social media publicity in the Christian publishing industry — 2007 – 2012 — I say, Rest in Peace.  You were Christian publishing’s last great idea, and last great hope; and your loss is about to be reflected by sales at both physical and online sellers.

~Paul Wilkinson, former book reviewer

For the record, Thinking Out Loud is currently ranked #7 out of all Christian blogs in North America for incoming links from Google, the number one search engine.

No Fiddlin’ Around at Our Stores

Once again, I refused to sign an affidavit that I wouldn’t display the new Beverly Lewis title, The Fiddler before the street date of yesterday.  It’s not that I was knowingly intending to display it sooner; goodness knows I usually forget to put the new books and CDs out on the date anyway until someone reminds me around 4:00 PM.

I just absolutely disagree with the idea that a person’s word is not sufficient in our industry. I am prepared to sign a blanket statement. I’m not prepared to jump through these hoops over every single title.

The order containing the books was processed on the afternoon of Friday; but Baker Book Group’s Canadian distributor David C. Cook still wouldn’t include my copies in that shipment. Some bureaucrat at Baker in Grand Rapids will be happy to know that.

Frankly, I’m not sure that Beverly Lewis deserves this special treatment. At the end of the day yesterday we had zero requests for the book. She may be a major author with Bethany House Publishing, but in the larger scheme of things, this simply wasn’t the big event that, for example, Book 4 in the Karen Kingsbury series was just days earlier.

I happened to meet with Cook’s sales manager on Saturday, and she reminded me that with three streams — online, big box, and Christian retail — the rules are necessary to ensure that it’s a level playing field. 

I smiled and said nothing.

It’s not a level playing field — not even close — because online vendors have been pre-selling the title for months now; locking in orders with comparable mechanisms not available to brick and mortar stores.

It’s not a level field — not even close — because big box stores have been granted discounts that, if independent retailers knew about them, they wouldn’t carry the title at all.

Still, I’d be willing to sign a blanket promise of compliance with Baker because I (a) believe the principle of fairness is there, and (b) don’t want to risk not getting future titles.

But Christian retailers simply don’t need the additional paper burden. And we serve God through our stores under covenant not under contract.

If stores have indicated once that they understand the street date principle, just ship them the books with a reminder, okay?

Names of God Bible

January 6, 2012 1 comment

I poached this review from Rick Apperson who blogs at Just a Thought and who has a heart for interviewing the authors we carry and reviewing the books we sell.  Rick is in full time ministry in Smithers, BC and his wife Sarah has worked in Christian retail for several years.  We steal stuff from each other’s blogs all the time, so don’t sweat it; but if you prefer, you can read it at source.

I have never reviewed a Bible before, so when I received The Names of God Bible in the mail I thought I should ask for some help.

I went to my teenaged daughter who checked it out and gave this heartfelt endorsement: “Awesome Bible!” Not receiving much help there, I went to my more articulate wife who looked through the Bible and said, “Cool Bible!”

So being left to my own devices, I decided this needed a more mature review.

I really love this Bible.

OK that wasn’t it.

The Names of God Bible was like a breath of fresh air. I sat down and turned to Genesis Ch. 1 and right away I was drawn in by the beauty of the Hebrew names of God in the midst of the test. The Bible is advertised as restoring to the original Hebrew more than 10,000 occurrences of specific names of God–like Yahweh, El Shadday, El Elyon, and Adonay–to help readers connect with the Hebrew roots of their Christian faith and experience a deeper understanding of God’s character.

I believe it achieves its goal. My daughter is reading the Bible when we drive to town and my wife and I are both wanting to dig into the numerous features found in the Names of God Bible. I love the idea of following the use of El Shadday throughout the text.

Among the features found in this Bible include:

  • background information associated with the most important names and titles of God
  • key Scripture passages in which the name is revealed
  • devotional readings for each of the featured names
  • specific Bible promises connected to each of the featured names

If you get the chance to pick up one new Bible this year, I would highly recommend The Names of God Bible. You won’t be disappointed.

~Rick Apperson

“Bible has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

Thanks, Rick.  Missing from the review, and impossible to see in the cover image (even when it is larger) is the fact this Bible uses the God’s Word translation for its base text.  But being Baker Books, some of you had that figured out, right? I wonder if the muting of the translation name is somewhat intentional. And isn’t Ann Spangler an acquisitions editor for Zondervan?