Updated December 20, 2022
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 There are many fine commercial publishers that do not publish Christian books and thus are left out of this discussion.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 is known as The Big Five. These are the five major conglomerates that control a sizable portion of the marketplace. (In 2016 someone create an incredible graphic for all the imprints of the Big Five.)
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 imprint which is the Christian fiction division 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. As part of the sale the brand name “Word” went with the music division. The book division was then renamed as W Publishing. 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 imprints include FaithWords and Worthy Publishing (which they bought in 2018). A few other imprints include Little Brown, Grand Central, and Center Street.
3. Penguin Random House In 2013 two huge book publishing groups, Penguin and Random House, officially merged and is now known as Penguin Random House (often abbreviated as PRH).
Bertelsmann is a German media conglomerate that owns Penguin Random House which is the largest English-language publisher in the world. They have several divisions and over 300 imprints.
As of this update, the Christian-oriented imprints include WaterBrook, Multnomah, Convergent, and Image. These are currently under the Random House Division within PRH as a separate and distinct group. Also, WaterBrook and Multnomah have separate editorial and marketing teams from Convergent and Image in Colorado Springs and New York respectively. The Dutton imprint publishes Tim Keller. Also the Tarcher imprint has done a number of religious titles, not all specifically Christian.
4. Simon & Schuster is owned by Paramount Global which includes ViacomCBS (the media conglomerate). Their Christian imprint is Howard Books which is a division of Atria. Other well-known imprints include Pocket, Free Press, and Scribner. In 2017 the Nashville office of Howard Books was shuttered and operations moved to New York under more direct management by Atria. I wrote about this event at this link.
In November 2020 it was announced that Penguin Random House had won the bid to buy the Simon and Schuster division for over 2 billion dollars in cash. The U.S. Department of Justice sued to stop the merger citing anti-trust laws. In late October 2022, the court ruled against the merger. PRH had to pay a $200 million termination fee.
5. 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 specifically Christian-oriented imprint. But do have strong commercial imprints like St. Martin’s, Tor, and Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.
Not one of the big five, but still significant, is Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). They were purchased in April 2022 by a private equity firm, Veritas Capital for $2.8 billion. A focus of their publishing is K-12 educational resources.
What about the rest of the Christian Publishing Industry?
Christian publishers still independently and/or family-owned include:
The Baker Publishing Group (including Bethany House, Revell, Baker, Baker Academic, Brazos, and Chosen – owned by the Baker family. Jesse Myers is the CEO as of mid-2023. (He is the first non-Baker family CEO of the publishing company.)
Barbour Publishing (Mary Burns is the President. In July 2017 the company became Employee owned and operated.)
Broadstreet Publishing (Carlton Garborg)
Charisma House (part of the Charisma Media Group – owned by Stephen Strang)
Crossway (a non-profit publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, founded by the Dennis Family)
Eerdmans (the Eerdmans family)
Elk Lake Publishing (The Haggerty family)
The Good Book Company (Based in Epsom, Surrey, England – they have acquisitions and editorial in the U.S. in North Carolina)
Group Publishing (Thom and Joani Schultz)
Harvest House (Bob Hawkins, Jr.)
Iron Stream Media (includes New Hope Publishers, Iron Stream Books, Ascender Books, LPC Books, and New Hope Kidz)
Kregel Publishing (the Kregel family)
New Leaf Publishing Group (includes Master Books, and New Leaf Press)
Oasis Family Media (includes Oasis Audio and Enclave Publishing)
P&R Publishing (The P and R stand for Presbyterian and Reformed)
Salem Books (the Christian imprint of Regnery Publishing)
Tyndale House Publishers (a part of the Tyndale House Foundation – formed by founder Ken Taylor and his family. Bought Hendrickson Publishers, another family-owned business, in 2021. Hendrickson also includes their Rose and Aspire imprints.)
Whitaker House (Bob Whitaker, Jr.)
Then there are Christian publishers owned by a larger organization or ministry. For example:
1517 Media is owned by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). They have multiple divisions: Augsburg Fortress, Fortress Press, Sparkhouse, and Beaming Books.
Abingdon is an imprint of The United Methodist Publishing House.
AMG is owned by AMG International (a missions organization). Their best-known author is Spiro Zodiahtes. AMG stands for “American Mission to the Greeks.”
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 and bibles division.
CLC is the publishing arm of the Christian Literature Crusade
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.) They also own Kingsway and Integrity Music.
Concordia is owned by the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.
Focus on the Family Publishing is a part of the larger media ministry of Focus on the Family founded by James Dobson. Their production, marketing, and sales are handled by Tyndale, but continue to run their own acquisitions.
Foundry Publishing is the publishing arm of the Nazarene Publishing House (the publishing arm used to be called Beacon Hill Press).
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).
Gospel Publishing House is the publishing arm of the Assemblies of God.
InterVarsity Press (IVP) is a part of a parachurch organization, InterVarsity.
Leafwood Books is a division of Abilene Christian University Press.
Moody Publishing is owned by The Moody Bible Institute.
NavPress is owned by a parachurch organization, 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.
Our Daily Bread Publishing is owned by Our Daily Bread Ministries. The publishing arm used to be known as Discovery House Publishing.
Paraclete Press is owned by the Community of Jesus.
Plough Publishing is owned by the Bruderhof Christian Communities.
Standard Publishing (no longer in business), founded in 1872, had 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. I’m not sure where their book properties ended up. The balance of their intellectual property (two magazines) was bought by Christian Standard Media. So Standard Publishing Company is no more.
I continue to list Standard here because I had a personal connection with them early in my career. They shared a parent company that owned the Berean Christian Stores where I spent the first 11 years of my life in the industry. The headquarters were in the Standard Publishing building in Cincinnati.
Warner Press (not to be confused with the former Warner Books) is owned by the Church of God, Anderson, IN.
Westminster/John Knox is owned by the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.
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 the corporate giants do not own.
And if I have something wrong with this list, let me know and I’ll correct it as soon as possible.
Very nice summary, Steve
Great post, Steve. HarperCollins also owns the 20th Century Fox film studio:
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.
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?
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.
When will a so-called Christian publisher print a bible with Yahweh in His rightful place instead of LORD?
Look to the introductory material in The Complete Jewish Study Bible for a good answer:
The article can be found in the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon:
Add my family owned company to the list—International Bible. Our International English Study Bible came out in 2014 and has Yahweh as the personal name of God. You can check it out at IEBible.net It also has the accurate translation of “baptizo” as immersion. I am presently looking for publishing companies to license the copyright and market and sell it. The audio is almost complete too.
Where can your company bible be purchased
In 2017, the curriculum department of Standard Publishing was sold to David C Cook. The two major magazines and some peripheral missions material was bought by a new company called Christian Standard Media which is under the auspices of the Solomon Foundation. So Standard Publishing Company is no more. I don’t believe that Christian Standard Media publishes any books. That is sad, because Standard used to release some very fine children’s books.
Thank you for the input.
Actually Standard was sold to Cook in 2015 as reported. The same year they bought the curriculum assets of Gospel Light. (The book assets of Gospel Light were bought by the Baker Publishing Group.)
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.
I’m glad to know there are so many independently and/or family-owned Christian publishers. Thanks for an informative post.
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!
Sharon A Lavy
I am happy to note there are more Christian Publishers than I first thought.
Thanks for the informative post.
Elizabeth M Thompson
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!
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.
Thanks for this helpful overview, Steve, and for putting this giant puzzle together in a way that’s easy to understand.
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.
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.
Another family owned Christian publisher worth mentioning would be Tate Publishing.
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.
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…
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.
Anita Mae Draper
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.
Anita Mae Draper
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. 😮
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, I’m not sure which amazes me more: the size of the list or the fact that you know all of that!
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.
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.
What an informative post! Thank you, Steve.
Thanks for the wonderful break-down of these publishers, Steve. What great information! I appreciate you clarifying this often confusing subject.
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!
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.
Very helpful to have this condensed list, Steve. Thank you. I’m adding New Growth Press to your smaller independent list.
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.
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.
Jason M. Karampatsos
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.
Another Christian publisher is Group Publishing. Which is owned by Thom and Joani Schultz.
Mr Claude Brown Jr
Where do the online publishers figure in this database? Companies like Lifeway, faithlife, Wordsearch, etc.?
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).
And now WordSearch is also owned by Logos Bible Software.
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?
Are there any Christian Publishers that are actually Christian and not Jewish? Seems to be just a big money grab.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ?
Steve, this list is so helpful. Thank you.
Barclay Press is a wonderful small press operated by the Evangelical Friends (Quakers).
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!
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.
Who owns which Bible is a completely different question. This list refers to book publishing.
Bibles are a little more complex as to who truly owns the translation since there is a lot of licensing that happens.
The American Bible Society owns the “Good News Transation” aka “Today’s English Version” has had licenses with different publishers over the years who sold the book in the consumer market. But ABS also sells direct to churches and individuals.
The Translation “God’s Word” is also quite complicated. Until last year is was published, actually distributed exclusively via a license with Baker Publishing. But that license has expired so the translation is sold by the owner who is the God’s Word to the Nations Society. (http://www.godsword.org)
You also might find this article of interest:
Have fun with your research!
In addition, the NIV is not really owned by HarperCollins. It is exclusively licensed from Biblica, the home of the International Bible Society. https://www.biblica.com/
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.
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.
Stanley O. Williford
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?
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.
Nice work, Steve.This is a great resource for Christian writer/researcher like myself. ..More power to your pen!!
Who owns Dake Publishing, I have own a Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible I was curious about and I also have C.I. Scofield published by Oxford University Press?
My friend told me that Harper Collins published “The Joy of Gay Sex” and “The Satanic Bible” and “Zondervan NIV Bible”?
Hi Steve, if you ever update this list, I’d love if you’d consider including Mountain Brook Ink as well as our new Spec fiction line, Mountain Brook Fire, which kicks off the end of December, 2019. MBI has been in business for 6 years as of January 2020. We’re members of ECPA and have attained a solid reputation with a number of agents and agencies. MBI is a traditional publisher (fiction only), and you can find us represented at a variety of writers’ conferences within the Christian community.
Brian Kazungu, https://muckrack.com/brian-kazungu
Wow, quite enlightening. Thanks for sharing
Great article, Steve, which clears up a lot of the muddied waters around Christian publishing.
I would like to nominate Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., should you revise the article. We publish exclusively Christian books–about 50-60 a year–and are completely owned by the Haggertys.
All of this makes an author a minnow in the pool of publishing.
An update on Harrison House, since I saw a comment asking about Word of Faith publishers. Harrison House was acquired by Nori Media Group in 2018. It is still active today and publishes Andrew Wommack, Joseph Prince, Carlie Terradez and others.
At the Christian Products Expo this week Iron stream Media had one of the most active booths, as did Redemption Press. I don’t see either listed. About half of the fifty-five authors at the Personality Party are published by those two companies.
Iron Stream Media has made several acquisitions and is growing rapidly.
Full disclosure: Iron Stream Media is publishing The Readable Bible (www.readablebible.com), of which I am the team leader.
Iron Stream Media is listed right below Harvest House and above Kregel.
Redemption Press is a packager who helps people self-publish their books so are not listed here. They do great work, but are not a traditional publisher as we define it.
voice artists brisbane
Thank you Steve Laube for sharing this!