HarperCollins To Buy Inspirational Publisher Thomas Nelson

HarperCollins will soon purchase the inspirational publisher Thomas Nelson. HarperCollins already owns the lucrative faith-based publishing line Zondervan. And now plans are in motion for to buy Zondervan’s market rival, Thomas Nelson.

As we begin our month long celebration of the Inspirational genre, we were surprised to hear that the two largest inspirational publishing houses will soon be united under a single parent company. Thomas Nelson is one of the leading inspirational publishers in the world, and is renowned for their selection of inspirational fiction by genre heavy-hitters Ted Dekker, Colleen Coble and Beth Wiseman. Additionally, Thomas Nelson has steady sales in non-fiction as well. The company is known for their inspirational business books, gift books and Bibles. 

HarperCollins acquired Thomas Nelson’s rival, Zondervan, back in the 1980s, and has grown the line to be one of the largest faith-based publishers in the nation. When discussing the coming purchase of Thomas Nelson, HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray said it was the other company’s lineup of authors and content that made it such a good acquisition. Murray said, “Thomas Nelson adds further balance to our existing publishing programs.” 

And what's the word from Thomas Nelson about the upcoming merger? According to the Publisher’s Weekly report, Thomas Nelson’s COE Mark Shoenwald, is looking forward to the way that HarperCollins’ experience in digital and international sales will help boost the smaller publisher’s distribution to the next level.

As of right now, it looks like Zondervan and Thomas Nelson will not be folded into a single publishing line. HarperCollins spokesperson Erin Crum told The New York Times yesterday that they pan to continue publishing books under both imprints — and even that Thomas Nelson will continue to be a fixture in Nashville, TN, where its home office has been for many years.

But the news does have some readers and authors worrying that this will have a negative effect on the genre. Although the houses are staying separate, the merger will most likely have some effect on acquisitions and change the landscape of the inspirational publishing market. Now that HarperCollins has purchased Thomas Nelson, the publisher will have control of 50% of Christian book market and many are worried that this could lead to a lack of diversity within the genre. However, others are expressing excitement about the merger saying that this move will ensure the continued success of inspirational publishing since HarperCollins is well known for having excellent editorial and marketing teams.

What do you think about the merger? Let us know in the comments below. And for more genre news be sure to stop by our Everything Inspirational Page!