Who Owns Whom in Publishing?

Updated September 7, 2017

For a comprehensive list check out The Christian Writers Market Guide. Available in print at your favorite retailer or as an online subscription (updated weekly) at www.ChristianWritersMarketGuide.com.

Our emphasis in this post is the Christian publishing industry. There are many fine commercial publishers that do not publish Christian books and thus are left out of this discussion. First let us review what are known as The Big Five. These are the five major conglomerates that control a sizable portion of the marketplace.

Who are these big five? In no particular order:

1. HarperCollins Owned by Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate News Corp., HarperCollins has around fifty imprints. Zondervan had been their sole evangelical Christian imprint until they bought Thomas Nelson Publishers in 2012. The two have been combined under the HarperCollins Christian Publishing group. Under that HCCP group they have multiple imprints: Zondervan, Zonderkidz, Thomas Nelson, Tommy Nelson (Children’s), W Publishing, and Emenate Books (Charismatic). (There are also an Academic division, a curriculum division, and a Bible division.) In addition HarperCollins keeps a separate religious publishing imprint called HarperOne (formerly HarperSanFrancisco). News Corp. is the parent company of 20th Century Fox, the film company with numerous divisions including several Fox television networks. In 2013 the print/publishing division was spun off from the entertainment division.
In 2014 HarperCollins bought Harlequin Enterprises. This includes the Love Inspired and Heartsong imprints which are the Christian fiction divisions of Harlequin.

A little trivia for you. ABC (the TV network) used to own Word Entertainment, which included Word Books and Word Music, which was a well known Christian company. Word Entertainment was purchased by…Thomas Nelson in 1992. Nelson later sold the Word Music division to Gaylord Entertainment, the folks who own Opryland. The book publisher, Thomas Nelson was bought out by a private equity firm in 2006, sold to another private equity firm in 2010 and then to HarperCollins in 2012.

2. Hachette Book Group Formerly Warner Books (of Time Warner), they were acquired by Hachette Livre, a subsidiary of the French media conglomerate Lagardère Group. Their Christian imprint is FaithWords (formerly WarnerFaith). A few of their imprints include Little Brown, Grand Central, and Center Street.

3. Pearson/Bertelsmann (aka Penguin Random House) In 2013 two huge book publishing groups, Penguin and Random House, officially merged and is now known as Penguin Random House.

Pearson is a British corporation known in the U.S. as Penguin. They have imprints like Putnam, Berkley, Viking, etc. Penguin does not have a dedicated imprint for books intended for the Christian market, their editors go on a case by case basis. For example their Dutton imprint publishes Tim Keller. Their Tarcher/Penguin imprint does a number of religious titles.

Bertelsmann is a German media conglomerate that owns Random House which is the largest English-language publisher in the world. They have several divisions. The Crown Publishing Group has within it the Waterbrook/Multnomah imprint. Their Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group includes Doubleday which is a religious imprint that generally has had Catholic oriented titles, but with many exceptions.

4. Holtzbrinck Publishing Group Owned by the German Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. Primarily known in the U.S. as MacMillan. They do not have a Christian imprint. But do have strong commercial imprints like St. Martin’s, Tor, and Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

5. Simon & Schuster Owned by CBS (the TV station). Their Christian imprint is Howard Books. Other well known imprints include Pocket, Free Press, and Scribner.

What about the rest of the Christian Publishing Industry?

Christian publishers still independently and/or family owned include:
Tyndale House Publishers (owned by Tyndale House Foundation – formed by founder Ken Taylor and his family)
The Baker Publishing Group (including Bethany House, Revell, Baker, Brazos, and Chosen) (owned by the Baker family. CEO is Dwight Baker)
Barbour Publishing (Tim Martins is CEO and was owner. As of July 2017 the company is Employee owned and operated.)
Broadstreet Publishing (Carlton Garborg)
Worthy Publishing – (privately held corporation) – in addition, in October 2014 they purchased the Ideals Publishing division from Guideposts.
Charisma Media (Stephen Strang)
Crossway Books (The Dennis Family)
Group Publishing (Thom and Joani Schultz)
Harvest House (Bob Hawkins, Jr.)
Hendrickson Publishers (the Hendrickson family)
Kregel Publishing (the Kregel family)
Eerdmans (the Eerdmans family)
P&R Publishing (The P and R stand for Presbyterian and Reformed)
Rose Publishing (owned by Hendrickson Publishers above, as of February 2017)
Whitaker House (B0b Whitaker, Jr.)
New Leaf Publishing Group (includes Master Books, and New Leaf Press)
Gilead Publishing (Dan Balow) – Publishes only Christian fiction. Purchased Enclave Publishing (science fiction and fantasy) in April 2016. In mid-2017 they signed an agreement with Kregel Publishing to move all production, marketing, and trade sales to the Kregel organization. Acquisitions and editorial will still be handled by Gilead.

But then there are Christian publishers owned by a larger organization. For example:
B&H Publishing Group is owned by Lifeway Christian Resources (aka the Southern Baptist Convention) And if your memories are long…B&H stands for Broadman and Holman. In 2015 there was a move to merge the Lifeway resources division (education and curriculum) into a tighter integration with B&H. Eventually the Lifeway name will become more prominent as new products are developed. For now the B&H imprint remains unchanged as their trade books division.
David C. Cook is part of a large non-profit organization that distributes literature around the world. (Purchased the curriculum divisions  of Gospel Light and Standard publishing in late 2015 to become the largest evangelical non-denominational curriculum publisher in the U.S. Their trade book division still publishes regularly.)
Guideposts is a non-profit organization. Their trade book division was shuttered in 2013 but they continue to publish books intended for direct-to-consumer sales (Book Clubs or continuity subscription series).
IVP is a part of a parachurch organization, InterVarsity.
NavPress is owned by the Navigators. In 2013 they signed an agreement with Tyndale House to move all production, marketing, and sales to the Tyndale organization. Acquisitions will still be handled by NavPress.
Abingdon is an imprint The United Methodist Publishing House.
CLC is the publishing arm of the Christian Literature Crusade
New Hope was bought by Iron Stream Media in September 2017 from the Women’s Missionary Union (an organization which is part of the Southern Baptist convention).
Gospel Publishing House is the publishing arm of the Assemblies of God.
Beacon Hill is the publishing arm of the Nazarene Publishing House.
Leafwood Books is a division of Abilene Christian University Press.
Moody Publishing is owned by The Moody Bible Institute.
Concordia is owned by the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.
Westminster/John Knox is owned by the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.
Augsburg/Fortress is owned by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Their entire publishing program now falls under the umbrella of 1517 Media. They have four divisions: Augsburg Fortress, Fortress Press, Sparkhouse, and Sparkhouse Family.
AMG is owned by AMG International (a missions organization). Best known author is Spiro Zodiahtes.
Paraclete Press is owned the Community of Jesus.
Standard Publishing, founded in 1872, has been connected to The Christian Church denomination (especially with their curriculum, which was sold to David C. Cook in 2015) but was publicly owned by Standex Corp (on the NY Stock exchange) until 2006 when it was bought by the Wicks Group, a private equity firm.
Warner Press (not to be confused with the former Warner Books) is owned by the Church of God, Anderson, IN.
YWAM Publishing is the publishing division of Youth With a Mission.

If I have left out someone I apologize. I am not trying to duplicate The Christian Writer’s Market Guide. Merely trying to show that there are a number of publishers in the Christian industry that are not owned by the corporate giants.

And if I have something wrong in this list, let me know and I’ll correct it as soon as possible.

62 Responses to Who Owns Whom in Publishing?

  1. Terry Burns November 7, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    Very nice summary, Steve

    Terry

  2. Robert Treskillard November 7, 2011 at 5:49 am #

    Great post, Steve. HarperCollins also owns the 20th Century Fox film studio:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twentieth_Century_Fox

  3. Diane Ashley November 7, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    Wow! My head is spinning. It’s good to know my agent is up on all of that so I don’t have to be. Thanks, Steve.

  4. Lindsay Harrel November 7, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    Thanks for the breakdown, Steve. It’s actually encouraging to see how many companies are printing books in the Christian market. It means there are more opportunities for publication than I thought.

    As a novelist, I’m curious: Is there one publisher that publishes more Christian fiction than any other publisher?

    Thanks!

  5. Karen Whiting November 7, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    I’ve been following a lot of this for years. I recall one not on the list-Wicks of CFM owns Standard Publishing and RCL Benzinger (Catholic publisher) when people wondered how that mix would work out.

  6. Martha Rogers November 7, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    Great information, Steve. I’m thankful to be part of a group that keeps up with what is going on in the publishing world with such regularity. We do have a good number of Christian publishers and that is encouraging.

  7. Janalyn Voigt November 7, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    I’m glad to know there are so many independently and/or family-owned Christian publishers. Thanks for an informative post.

  8. Loree Lough November 7, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    If this isn’t an excellent example of “good news, bad news,” I don’t know what is. Thanks for putting so much time and effort into these lists, Steve; you’ve provided a realistic look at the industry…and left us with room to hope it’ll stay strong despite takeovers, mergers, AND a sagging economy.

    Thumbs up, agent-friend, and high fives, too!
    All best,
    Loree

  9. Sharon A Lavy November 7, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    I am happy to note there are more Christian Publishers than I first thought.

    Thanks for the informative post.

  10. Elizabeth M Thompson November 7, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    When I married my husband, my new father-in-law sketched out a family tree so I could figure out how everyone was connected.

    It helps to know how the publishing houses are connected too. Thanks for clarifying these relationships for us!

  11. Patricia Iacuzzi November 7, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Great post, Steve! Gives us a heads-up on the direction of Christian publishing; not only for individual writers, but it’s future on a global perspective.

  12. Laura Christianson November 7, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Thanks for this helpful overview, Steve, and for putting this giant puzzle together in a way that’s easy to understand.

  13. PatriciaW November 7, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    Wonderful summary. Worth mentioning, I think, is Kensington Publishing Corp, an independent publisher which does not have an inspirational imprint, per se, but has published inspirational and Christian titles, most notably from author Vanessa David Griggs.

    • Steve Laube November 7, 2011 at 11:47 am #

      Patricia, excellent addition. But Kensington, in general, is not seen as a Christian publisher which is why I did not list them.

      Sourcebooks is another independent general market publisher that is does a few titles in that arena, like their Amish vampire novel by Leanna Ellis (titled Plain Fear).

      You could also include Andrews McMeel which publishes our client John Rosemond.

      • Holly Sly November 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

        Another family owned Christian publisher worth mentioning would be Tate Publishing.

        • Jeannemarie Tran February 13, 2017 at 5:52 am #

          TATE Publishing is going Bankrupt. I have paid for 3 books to be published by them. Do they have a Parent Company or another publisher with which they are affiliated that I might try to get them to publish these books?

          By the way, the person who sold me the package of 3 books was Trinity Tate.

          • Cecelia Dowdy February 13, 2017 at 11:05 am #

            Might you consider simply publishing the works yourself? I’ve heard of other self-publishing companies not doing well/closing down because authors are publishing themselves nowadays…

  14. Cecelia Dowdy November 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Thanks so much for taking the time to do this list. This was something that I started wondering about as soon as I heard about the sale of Thomas Nelson.

  15. Anita Mae Draper November 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    I appreciate you breaking it down this way. I never guessed so many Christian publishers were affiliated with church organizations. I can now see how politics influence the business decisions.

    I’m curious why the Love Inspired line isn’t included. Granted, it’s owned by Harlequin Enterprises, but Love Inspired is a valid CBA publisher according to the ACFW.

  16. Anita Mae Draper November 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Okay, I just re-read your post – especially where it says:
    I am not trying to duplicate The Christian Writer’s Market Guide. Merely trying to show that there are a number of publishers in the Christian industry that are not owned by the corporate giants.

    If I follow those lines, you purposely left out Love Inspired because it is owned by a corporate giant – Harlequin Enterprises.

    Now see… this is why I appreciate you taking the time to explain these things. 😮

    • Steve Laube November 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

      You are correct. Since they weren’t one of the Big Six I left them out. In hindsight there are some who will notice that too. So I’m going to add in Harlequin.

      Steve

  17. Peter DeHaan November 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Steve, I’m not sure which amazes me more: the size of the list or the fact that you know all of that!

  18. Rick Barry November 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    This is a terrific overview. I would memorize it…except that it’s bound to change before long. Change is inevitable, but changes seems to occur at a faster pace lately.

  19. Rebecca LuEllaMiller November 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Steve, I appreciate the fact that you keep up with all the changes and pass your knowledge on to us.

    One add — very small: Warner Press (not to be confused with Warner Books). They mostly do church supplies but have a line of children’s products that includes some picture books and middle grade/Ya fantasy.

    Becky

  20. jude urbanski November 10, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    What an informative post! Thank you, Steve.

  21. Ramona Cecil November 10, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Thanks for the wonderful break-down of these publishers, Steve. What great information! I appreciate you clarifying this often confusing subject.

  22. Susy Flory January 7, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Steve, thank you so much. This is such a great resource–I just used it to look something up. I appreciate the time you put into it and that you made it available to the general public. Have a wonderful 2014!

  23. Elaine Taylor July 25, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    Great compilation. Ah, yes. The politics.
    Having just this hour had a young man at our door selling children’s books published by Advantage (Advantage Publishers Group), we were wondering who owns them. Mormons? JWs? 7th Day Adventists? That’s how I stumbled on your blog. I guess Sam Moore (Thos Nelson) started out going door to door long ago….
    This young man was from Estonia on an exchange programme, & the books had a Christian slant, including a series of bible stories similar to one the JWs used to sell.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks!

  24. Julie Sunne September 11, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    Very helpful to have this condensed list, Steve. Thank you. I’m adding New Growth Press to your smaller independent list.

    • Steve Laube September 11, 2014 at 8:53 am #

      Julie,

      I do not know who owns New Growth Press. Thus I do not include them on the list. Our agency has done a contract with them and they pay royalties on time and provide great reports. But I simply do not know their ownership history. Privately owned? By whom? Ministry connection? With whom? As you can see our list is broken up in that way.

      There are a lot of small presses that could be included here. But ours is not meant to be a comprehensive list. That task is better served by Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers Market Guide.

  25. Randy Rhoades September 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    Thank you for the list. It is informative and helpful.

    Next time you may mention that many denominations and missions organizations also run rather large publishing houses.

    A few Examples:
    Gospel Publishing House – Assemblies of God
    YWAM Publishing – Youth With a Mission – They have a large selection that caters for the home schoolers.
    Nazarine Publishing House
    William Carey Library – associated with William Carey International University. Primarily missions works but have a growing number of academic resources.

    For us older ones it may be good to mention that B&H is the old Broadman.

    Thnaks again,
    Randy

  26. Jason M. Karampatsos September 15, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Steve, thanks for the update. This is a great concise list to help many of us wrap our minds around the names in the publishing world.

    Personally, I had never heard of Multnomah (Big 5 #3) before I started paying careful attention to who was already on my shelf and noticed how many books I owned with their name on the spine.

  27. Mike Willis May 29, 2015 at 9:05 pm #

    Another Christian publisher is Group Publishing. Which is owned by Thom and Joani Schultz.

  28. Mr Claude Brown Jr January 5, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    Where do the online publishers figure in this database? Companies like Lifeway, faithlife, Wordsearch, etc.?

    • Steve Laube January 5, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

      Lifeway is not an online company. They are the parent company (Lifeway Christian Resources – a division of the Southern Baptist Convention) for B&H Publishing.

      Faithlife is Bible software. A part of the Logos software company.

      Wordsearch is also Bible software. They are owned by Lifeway (see above).

  29. Marisol Pareja January 24, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

    I own Testimony Publishing and we publish books for believers in Jesus who have had an amazing testimony to share and put it in a book. We welcome your testimony and have nothing to do with Fox, Harper Collins or any other large conglomerates. We are an independent fundamental baptist Bible Believing Christian Publishing company. How can I add my name to your list?

  30. Topo gigo April 4, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

    Are there any Christian Publishers that are actually Christian and not Jewish? Seems to be just a big money grab.

    • Marisol Pareja April 5, 2016 at 9:27 am #

      We are not jewish owned. We are a small Christian Publishing company that publishes peoples testimonies all over the world. Testimony Publishing North Miami Beach, FL 33160

  31. Reid Ashbaucher April 29, 2016 at 7:26 am #

    You may want to consider adding Innovo Publishing, LLC out of Tennessee to your list, just for those that may be looking for additional Christian options.

    • Steve Laube April 29, 2016 at 9:32 am #

      Innovo is a service organization that will create a great looking product if the author pays for that service. At least that how it appears on their web site since they have a “price list” for review.

      This blog post is not intended to show every organization that is Christian-based that helps people publish. Instead it is a list of larger, traditional publishers and who owns them.

      Self-publishing, subsidy publishing, packagers, and small presses are not included. For a complete list of that type of information I would suggest looking at THE CHRISTIAN WRITERS MARKET GUIDE.

  32. Tim Bayly September 21, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    Mark Taylor is the CEO of Tyndale House, but not its owner.

    Until 2001, Tyndale House was owned by founder Ken Taylor (51%), and his wife, Margaret Taylor (49%). Then, in 2001, ownership was transferred to Tyndale House Foundation.

    • Steve Laube September 21, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

      Tim,

      You are correct. The listings were not meant to be definitive since many of the independently owned publishers have some sort of corporate organization. Naming Mark Taylor, who was the CEO, was imprecise. And we have adjusted the listing accordingly.

      We will not be able to list the incorporation details for every independent publisher. The point was to separate them from the publishers owned by large corporations, most of which are publicly held.

      • Tim Bayly September 21, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

        Sure, Steve; just wanted to clarify that Tyndale is owned by the foundation that gives its profits away to Kingdom work. Rare in today’s publishing world. Full disclosure: Mark is my brother in law.

        In Christ,

  33. rose lee October 11, 2016 at 6:15 am #

    Fantastic writing ! I learned a lot from the details , Does someone know if my assistant might be able to acquire a template IRS 1120 – Schedule G version to use ?

  34. Elaine Creasman October 27, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    Steve, this list is so helpful. Thank you.

  35. Marva Hoopes November 3, 2016 at 7:57 am #

    Barclay Press is a wonderful small press operated by the Evangelical Friends (Quakers).

  36. Marva Hoopes November 3, 2016 at 8:02 am #

    Thank you for this list. I teach a course on curriculum at a Christian college and will be very excited to share this with my students. It can be quite daunting for students to look at the wide range of publishers and choose which is best for their ministry setting. This is so helpful!

  37. Becky December 2, 2016 at 9:08 am #

    Great information. I was wondering about the Lockman Foundation, who publishes the NASB and why it wasn’t listed.

    I am particularly interested in the publishers of the different versions of the Bible.

    Thanks!

  38. Jasper Whiteside December 7, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    I think that this list is beneficial even if you can’t work with these publishers for whatever reason. They are still a good place to start and you can use the names of these publishing companies to find smaller companies that might fit your needs better. It can be an exciting journey publishing a book. This article gives clues about your first step.

  39. Jonathan Norris June 12, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

    This has always interested me! Thanks for maintaining this list.

    Here’s another one for the list! Regular Baptist Press is the publishing ministry of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC). RBP publishes Sunday School curriculum, Vacation Bible School programs, children’s ministry programs, Bible studies, books, and other resources.

  40. Stanley O. Williford August 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    Aside from your mention of Stephen Strang’s Charisma Media, there seem to be few publishers of works from the Word of Faith or Charismatic point of view. What gives? And whatever happened to Harrison House?

    • Steve Laube August 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

      Harrison House was sold in 2009. Their web site is still active. http://www.harrisonhouse.com/ However, the “for authors” section on their site references resource material published in 2011. Since we don’t know any more than that we do not list them here.

      Other “Charismatic” publishers include Chosen Books, a division of the Baker Publishing Group”

      In 2018 there will be new books under the Emenate imprint, a part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. See this article for more information.
      https://www.frontgatemedia.com/thomas-nelson-launches-new-imprint/,

  41. ade olusesi August 23, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    Nice work, Steve.This is a great resource for Christian writer/researcher like myself. ..More power to your pen!!

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