In 1817, James and John Harper open the modest printing establishment of J. & J. Harper, Printers, in New York City; which means this is an anniversary year. A BIG anniversary year!
To celebrate, the company has created a special website 200.hc.com which is divided into five sections. Of special interest to readers here is the Timeline page, which includes histories of divisions added through mergers and acquisitions, such as Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. As you’ll see however, Thomas Nelson goes back a long time too, with a history that’s not so shabby. And Zondervan isn’t exactly a new kid on the block.
This review is appearing tomorrow at Thinking Out Loud; it has been amended for Christian Book Shop Talk…
In the world of Bible marketing, a men’s Bible doesn’t make a splash as do similar products for women, which may be why I was completely unaware of last September’s release of the NIV Bible for Men. Perhaps you missed it as well, which is unfortunate when you consider there is probably a guy in your sphere of influence who would benefit greatly from this edition.
A few things stand out.
First, they carefully avoided the word devotional in the title on this one, but like the Men’s Devotional Bible, there are 260 weekday readings and a single reading for weekends. The placement of these readings is next to adjacent text and there are prompts as to where to go for the subsequent reading which means you could use this as a one-year reading program, but the passages would be of varying length.
Second, they incorporated many newer church leaders and writers for this product. Any awareness of Christian social media means the names of contributors here will create instant recognition; and it also means this is a Bible edition you can confidently place in the hands of younger customers. Some names include:
- Chris Seay
- Tony Morgan
- Matt Chandler
- Joshua Harris
- Tim Challies
- Shane Claiborne
- Jarrett Stevens
- Bill Johnson
- Jeff Manion
- Pete Wilson
- Bob Goff
- Ted Kluck
- Eric Metaxas
- Craig Groeschel
- Joel Rosenberg
- Andrew Farley
- John Ortberg
- David Kinnaman
- Jeremy Myers
- Ravi Zacharias
and many, many more. Interestingly, annotations are keyed to the Kindle editions of many of these, an acknowledgement perhaps that guys do much of their other reading on devices. This doesn’t really encourage future purchasing in print.
Third and finally, there are the weekend readings. Set out as Myths, the series of 52 two-page articles cover ideas that are common in society and sometimes even found within the church, such as:
- It’s possible to get something for nothing
- Sexual thoughts are harmless
- The purpose of the church is to meet my needs
- Image is everything
- This world is all there is
- Christians are guaranteed health, wealth and a stress-free life
and some of these will resonate with some guys more than others. Generally, I found this approach more topical than what is usually found within the pages of a Bible, but the second page of each reading — the response — drives you back into scripture. Some guys will want the extra day to cover the material in these weekend readings.
A subject index at the back is extremely helpful for returning to previous topics.
I hope this Bible is doing well as anything which plunges guys into scripture is a resource that needs to be celebrated. Is there a young man you can think of who might appreciate knowing about this?
Note: The Myth section readings appeared previously in Manual: The NIV Bible for Men, published in 2009.
ISBN 9780310409625; 1,684 pages; hardcover; black-letter, double-column format; $34.99 US
It’s not just you that’s waiting forever for shipments from HarperCollins. Stores across Canada are being affected. And the article which appeared Tuesday at Publisher’s Weekly doesn’t begin to address the problems we’ve experienced with damaged books — some setting a new all-time low for the severity of the damage before the books were packed — as well as package shortages, wrong titles shipped, and shipments disappearing into thin air.
These are excerpts:
Canadian indie bookstores are facing long waits for HarperCollins titles this holiday season, causing frustration and missed opportunities for sales. Since HC closed its Toronto-area warehouse this spring, distribution to Canadian stores has been provided by Indiana-based company R.R. Donnelley. Although booksellers were promised 48-hour shipping, they claim to be waiting two weeks or more to receive their orders.
Kelly McKinnon, co-owner of Vancouver Kidsbooks, said an order she placed with HC on Nov. 13 didn’t arrive in her store until Nov. 27. The shipping issue, she noted, is impacting the bottom line; while her overall store sales are up this fall, her sales of HC titles are down 20%…
…Two other B.C.-based bookstores, Mosaic Books and the indie chain Black Bond Books, expressed similar frustrations. Michael Neill, co-owner at Mosaic Books, said sales of HC titles at his store are “way down,” with orders typically taking 10 days to arrive. One order, placed on Nov. 10, didn’t arrive at the store until Nov. 26…
…David Worsley, co-owner of Words Worth Books in Waterloo, said shipments to his store have been taking eight or nine days, and arriving piecemeal. “HarperCollins has mastered the art of shipping orders containing six boxes over three days. Box one of six and five of six on Monday, boxes four of six on Wednesday, the rest on Friday.” …
read the whole article at this link.
There are a number of ways this writer feels changes could be made for the better:
- Invoices in package. What the company is spending on postage alone is obscene. On Tuesday we received four separate envelopes at international first class US postage. Separate invoicing is also the norm with Hachette and Penguin Random-House, but with our Christian market suppliers, invoices with shipments is much more common and much easier on the environment. Also my bookkeeper has so many packing slips and invoices that need to be matched up. It’s often only at month-end we realize a shipment is missing.
- Consolidate backorder releases. There’s no need for all these small parcels to be going out piecemeal. Items can be merged into a single shipment on a single invoice.
- Ditch UPS. Their contract is part of an international arrangement HarperCollins has with United Parcel Service, but the so-called “Cadillac” of couriers irritates me on so many levels that it would need to be the subject of another article. We get many deliveries as late as 4:30 PM (at which point they should really be doing pick-ups) and despite dozens of requests to lay the boxes flat, they always leave the boxes lying on their sides.
- Have a random checking stage and remove warehouse employees who have too many errors. The formula of pick-check-pack has obviously been replaced with pick-pack which results in wrong titles, wrong quantities and books which were obviously in warehouse cartons that had been dropped or fell off the forklift truck. In one study guide shipment we got six out of thirty-six books that would never pass even as remainders, but they were all in different parts of the box. There’s no way this should have been missed unless it was deliberate, which, I have to say I do suspect.
- Find ways to make good on the disasters of the past year. I’ll leave that to HarperCollins’ imagination.
This article was updated at 9:00 AM with point 2 above added.
HarperOne is releasing three titles by Henri Nouwen in paperback on March 10th. Nouwen does well in the Canadian market — there is a strong Toronto connection — though initial releases in hardcover often temper sales in what is a price-conscious market.
For the unfamiliar, it’s pronounced ‘NOW-in.’ I don’t need to tell most of you that. But many people don’t know his story, so you might want to take a minute to read about him, though his Wikipedia article is far too brief. In short: A theology academic who gave it up to live a life of service that most people reading this would consider far too menial. (Here’s a link to a 2011 article I did consisting of quotations from Henri Nouwen.)
These titles are available for pre-order at $16.99 US:
In 2010, David Gregory’s futuristic The Last Christian introduced a world where core memory transplants were a medical possibility. In 2012, James Rubart’s Soul’s Gate broke down the wall between the visible realm and the spiritual realm. And based on the cover and a few things I was able to grab online, Ted Dekker goes all sci-fi in the 2014 young adult release Hacker, which involves hacking into the most sophisticated computer ever produced, the human brain.
But Colleen Coble? Somehow, I found it a stretch to imagine the historical fiction writer delving into a complication from a transplant that I doubt most mystery writers have even considered:
“Cell memory is really true,” says Colleen Coble, whose new book, Seagrass Pier (Thomas Nelson, July), features Elin Summerall, a heart transplant recipient who has violent flashbacks she soon realizes are memories of her donor’s murder. Coble has experience with the phenomenon: “A friend had a transplant and aspects of her personality changed from that moment.”
Seagrass Pier, the second (sic *) book in her Hope Beach series, pits Elin against a stalker who wants to put a permanent end to her flashbacks. Though others discount her story, Marc Everton, an FBI agent on leave who doesn’t know he’s the father of Elin’s daughter, believes her.
The book is a return for Coble to contemporary Christian fiction, which she says is her real love, and a sign of how much Christian fiction has evolved in the past five years. The early days of prairie stories and perfect characters are over, Coble says. “There is a huge ability [now] in Christian fiction to write imperfect characters, to write about all of us. There really is no forbidden topic; we don’t have to shy away from anything.”
Continue reading this story at Publisher’s Weekly.
Colleen is quickly emerging as one of Christian fiction’s most prolific writers with a strong back catalog and many new series titles already scheduled.
*Note to retailers: Publisher’s Weekly’s story has an error. Seagrass Pier is actually book three in the Hope Beach series. Readers might want to start with Tidewater Inn (July, 2012) then move on to Rosemary Cottage (July, 2013) and then read Seagrass Pier.
It appears there is a new generation of product creators at Zondervan who missed all the excitement in the 60s, 70s and 80s over Satanic symbolism, such as the use of the Pentagram, or 5-pointed star. You can read more at Wikipedia including the present use in Wicca, Baha’i and even Mormonism. On the bright side, at least they didn’t put a picture of a goat in the middle. But seriously, what were they thinking? And doesn’t this just add fuel to the fire for those fringe groups who say that one particular translation (which I won’t name here, search engines being what they are) is the only acceptable translation? They should have asked me first, right?
This review was written for Thinking Out Loud, but in deference to my friends in brick-and-mortar retail, is being held until a time closer to the street date.
Reviewing John Ortberg’s Soul Keeping has been like getting back in touch with an old friend. Although I never heard John live at any of the times I was at Willow Creek, I am a huge fan of his writing. Media such as the If You Want To Walk On Water You Have To Get Out of The Boat DVD small group series revolutionized my thinking about how video-based resources can revitalize home Bible studies.
Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You (Zondervan) is truly five books in one.
From the first chapter, you realize instantly that this book is in part a tribute to Ortberg’s friend and mentor Dallas Willard. The impact that Dallas and his wife had on John cannot be overstated. The book may well whet your appetite for reading works like Hearing God, The Divine Conspiracy, Spirit of the Disciplines, or Renovation of the Heart.
Second, the book betrays — more than I’ve seen in previous Ortberg books — his training in clinical psychology. I learned much about how we’re wired from reading this, and there are sections I intend to re-read.
Third, the book is very autobiographical. Married life for John and Nancy hasn’t been the stuff of Christian romance books. They have had their tensions and stresses. There is a raw transparency here that I truly appreciate, and thereby John “earns the right to be heard” with equal authority to his academic training.
Fourth, this is very much a doctrinal book, filled with scripture references and an understanding of the distinction between words like will, spirit, emotions and soul.
Fifth and finally, this is very practical how-to type of book that therefore belongs both in the Christian Living section of the bookstore, and the Self Help section. If you miss the advice this has to offer, you need to start back at the beginning.
I really hope that this book becomes infectious. It has so much to offer on so many different levels.
From Library Journal
HarperCollins Christian Publishing (established when HarperCollins, longtime parent company of Zondervan, acquired competitor Thomas Nelson in 2012) is moving more strongly into the library market. Earlier this year, the company appointed Tracy Danz, a Zondervan veteran and former publisher of general trade nonfiction, to the newly created position of director, library sales and marketing. “We’re putting a focus on libraries we didn’t have before,” Danz told LJ.
Danz said that a consumer survey done by the company last fall found that libraries are the third most common way that consumers found out about new books, after bookstores and friends and family. “If libraries are key to discoverability, we need more resources directed at the library market,” said Danz. That includes greater visibility at library conferences, so more HC Christian Publishing adult marketing staff and authors will be at shows starting with the American Library Association conference in Las Vegas this June, as well as author events in libraries, both in person and via Skype. Danz is working closely with the experienced HarperCollins adult library marketing team, led by Virginia Stanley…
…continue reading the rest of this story, and two other Christian publishing stories at Library Journal.
An article today in Variety, the ‘bible’ of the entertainment industry quotes HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray as saying, “HarperCollins has been ‘less dependent’ on Amazon because it has a significant Christian publishing side, where consumers have been slower to adopt digital books.”
The article also notes that the company — parent to Zondervan and Thomas Nelson — is “testing what he called ‘dynamic pricing,’ where prices of ebooks can be changed ‘daily’ to increase revenues and royalties for authors, as opposed to the print side, where prices are set on the book itself.”
Murray said that, “physical retailers could see business stabilize, noting the recent improvements for independent booksellers.” He also referred to Amazon as a “frenemy,” and noted that in eBooks, there are five dominant sellers emerging not the one single online vendor.
The article also noted that even with lower MSRPs, eBook royalties are higher for authors, citing a hypothetical case of 85 cents for print and $1.25 for electronic books.
Read the entire article at Variety.