Christian Retailing

'Inc.’ names John Maxwell No. 1 leadership expert Print Email
Written by Burns   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:10 PM America/New_York

Hachette Nashville author tops list that includes Seth Godin, Jack Welch

JohnCMaxwell_200Mainstream business publication Inc. named author John C. Maxwell the No. 1 leadership and management expert ahead of Seth Godin, Jack Welch and similar well-known names. The list was born out of an extensive study measuring influence across nine metrics, including number of Twitter followers, blog reputation and Google search ratios.

“Even truly groundbreaking business thinkers use the ideas, the perspectives and the advice of others as the basis for their own thoughts and actions,” Jeff Haden wrote in the “Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts” Inc. story. “The purpose of our work was to find out which people are globally the most popular management and leadership writers, in the English language.”

Hachette Nashville is publishing three titles with Maxwell in 2014: How Successful People Grow: 15 Ways to Get Ahead in Life (Center Street, April); Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership (Center Street, Oct. 7); and Learning From the Giants: Life and Leadership Lessons From the Bible (FaithWords, Nov. 11).

"This number-one ranking by Inc. is a great affirmation of John Maxwell's tremendous work in leadership training," said Rolf Zettersten, publisher. "Millions of people have benefited from the insights he has shared in his best-selling books and speaking engagements.  We extend our congratulations to him!"

Hachette Nashville also announced in March that the company had sold more than 3 million books by Maxwell, whose career sales top 21 million. The milestone was celebrated at a special event with Hachette employees.

“Three million copies is just one way to measure the profound impact that John Maxwell has had on a generation of leaders,” Zettersten said. “His books are such a rich resource for leaders at every level who aspire to grow and develop.”

Hachette Nashville first partnered with Maxwell in 2002 for the best-selling book Running With the Giants. His Hachette titles now include How Successful People Lead, How Successful People Think, The 5 Levels of Leadership and The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.

Maxwell, founder of The John Maxwell Co. and EQUIP, has career sales of more than 21 million books. —Burns

 
BelieversPress acquires Glass Road Media Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:09 PM America/New_York

Authors to benefit from acquisition of former Thomas Nelson publicist’s company

RebecaSeitzDaveSheetsBelieversPress acquired the publishing and PR divisions of Glass Road Media as of June 1. The publisher—a part of 1Source, a collaborative effort with the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild, SuzyQ Author Coaching, Bethany Press and Anchor Distributors—continues to build a comprehensive platform of author services with the acquisition.

With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, BelieversPress and Glass Road Media expected the full execution of contracts by July 1.

Founded by former Thomas Nelson fiction publicist Rebeca Seitz, Glass Road was launched in 2005 as a public relations company specializing in the promotion of story-driven projects. Publishing and agency divisions were added in 2010. The firm has secured coverage for its authors in a wide variety of outlets—from USA Today and NPR to The 700 Club and Christian Post—and worked with the majority of major CBA houses. Seitz said it is also home to the oldest blogger database in the industry.

“I am humbled and honored with the partnership that has developed with BelieversPress,” she said. “After nine years of building this firm, even through the economic downturn, I am grateful for the privilege of growing it into a part of something that can achieve even greater impact. Our expansions have always been pursued in answer to the needs and desires of authors. I think coming under BelieversPress yields an enormous addition of resources we can bring to the author table.”

Seitz will remain on board as president of the Glass Road division of BelieversPress. LeAnn Hamby, who has served with Glass Road for more than four years, will remain director of publicity. All publishing and public relations assets will transfer to BelieversPress.

Additionally, the nonprofit SON: Spirit Of Naples, which Seitz helped found, is acquiring Glass Road’s agency division.

“BelieversPress has a passion to serve authors, whether they are successfully published—see Jerry B. Jenkins Select Line—or first-timers,” said Dave Sheets, president of BelieversPress. “Glass Road Media gives us a similarly passionate team with experience in publicity that we didn’t have before. Our authors asked for strong PR, and we’re excited that now we can deliver it.” —Burns

 
Todd Starnes launches nationwide book tour in ‘God Less America’ bus Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:06 PM America/New_York

FOX News commentator and Charisma House author mobilizes culture warriors for religious liberty in U.S.

GodLessAmericaBusLifeWayFOX News Radio host Todd Starnes visited top stores, including Christian retailers, on his nationwide book tour, making his way from city to city in a bus adorned with an advertisement for the newly released God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values (FrontLine/Charisma House).

The bus tour included book signings at stores including LifeWay Christian Stores in Missouri, Georgia and California, and Christian Supply in Spartanburg, S.C. God Less America sold out at a number of stores.

On the tour, Starnes hosted speaking engagements and town hall events at various city centers in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and California.

Starnes’ book raises the alarm about the war on Christian and traditional values in America. He uses recent news stories and compelling interviews with today’s top conservative leaders to bring to light the brewing storm in the United States. Among the issues he cites are the White House waging an all-out assault on religious liberty and public schools indoctrinating children with the gospel of secularism.

“Together we are a mighty force,” Starnes said. “We need men and women willing to stand firm in the faith. We need patriots willing to defend religious liberty. They may spy on our phone lines. They may throw us in jail. They may take away our shops and bakeries. They may demand to know the content of our prayers. But we will not be bullied. We will not be intimidated. We will not be silenced.”

LifeWay’s Bridgeton, Missouri, store hosted Starnes for the second time.
“The people that came loved him,” said Francine Evans, manager of the Bridgeton store. “They went wild that he was here.”

Local media covered the tour in various cities with print and radio reports. Supporters showed up in droves to meet Starnes and voice their concerns about waning religious liberties. Fans also took to social media with tour pictures and encouraging words via #godlessamerica and @toddstarnes. —Burns

 
HarperCollins Christian buys Olive Tree Bible Software Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:04 PM America/New_York

Publisher views e-commerce company acquisition as ‘significant addition’ to digital portfolio

OliveTree_200HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) has announced its acquisition of Olive Tree Bible Software.

Olive Tree (olivetree.com) is a leading online and mobile Bible resource and e-commerce company with software accessible on desktop, tablets and mobile devices across all major platforms. The company focuses on providing e-only products to facilitate how consumers read and interact with content.

The acquisition of Olive Tree directly aligns with HCCP’s mission and digital growth strategy. 

“Olive Tree’s product and technology expertise, combined with HCCP’s resources, will better equip us in the digital Bible study resources market,” said Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HCCP. “Our business objective is to continue delivering content to our readers in the format that best fits their lives. Olive Tree offers its customers incredible value through its apps and software, and this acquisition, although relatively small and strategically different than content acquisitions, provides our business with the opportunity to enhance our technical capabilities and create unique experiences for our consumers.”

Rachel Barach, currently general manager of HCCP’s Bible Gateway, will oversee Olive Tree’s operations.  

“I am thrilled to lead these two groups,” Barach said. “Olive Tree’s focus on high quality, educational Bible experiences will complement Bible Gateway’s mission to provide easy access to Scripture. Together, they will help grow biblical knowledge and engagement worldwide.

“We are committed to upholding the integrity of Olive Tree with its operating partners, publishers and consumers,” she added. “We believe that these relationships are, and will continue to be, an integral part of our strategy moving forward.”
HCCP has long experienced the value Olive Tree Bible Software brings as a retailing partner. 

“Olive Tree has always had a positive impact on the discoverability of our products,” Schoenwald said. “We believe this is a significant addition to our digital portfolio, but we are also committed to maintaining and growing relationships with all of our current online retailer and Bible software companies.”

Schoenwald believes such partnerships are “vital” to business.

“We could not fulfill our mission without their support,” he said.

Olive Tree is based in Spokane, Washington. Company founder Drew Haninger will move immediately into an advisory role during the transition period. —Johnson

 
News Corp to acquire Harlequin Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:03 PM America/New_York

News Corp announced May 2 that it has agreed to acquire Harlequin Enterprises from media company Torstar Corp. Harlequin will become a division of HarperCollins Publishers, a News Corp subsidiary, and will remain headquartered in Toronto.

As a leading publisher of women’s fiction, Harlequin has issued titles in 34 languages and in over 100 international markets. The acquisition will extend HarperCollins’ global platform, particularly in Europe and Asia Pacific, and is expected to accelerate the digital evolution of both companies.

Harlequin publishes the work of more than 1,300 authors and releases more than 110 titles monthly.

HarlequinWithTagline_200“Harlequin is a perfect fit for the new News Corp, vastly expanding our digital platform, extending our reach across borders and languages, and is expected to provide an immediate lift to earnings,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp. “Harlequin has a devoted audience around the globe and an empathetic insight into contemporary cultures, which is itself a remarkable resource. This acquisition will broaden the boundaries of both HarperCollins and Harlequin, and is a significant step in our strategy to establish a network of digital properties in the growth regions of the world.”

Craig Swinwood, publisher and CEO of Harlequin is “excited to be joining HarperCollins Publishers,” he said. “This transaction will allow Harlequin to continue to operate as a distinct and successful brand within a larger publishing company. We’re excited to be able to take full advantage of HarperCollins’ robust resources, scale and capabilities to expand the reach of our books and grow our business.”

The purchase price of the acquisition is C$455 million (US $415 million) in cash. Closing is anticipated by the end of the third quarter of calendar year 2014.

Literary agent Steve Laube of The Steve Laube Agency noted that a large part of Harlequin’s sales is through direct-to-consumer mailing.

“While some titles make it to the shelves, they stay in the retail environment for only a month until the next books in the line take their place,” Laube said on his agency’s website.

He added that Harlequin’s Love Inspired and Heartsong Presents lines release about 20 new titles each month. and called Harlequin “the single largest publisher of Christian fiction in the industry” by number of titles. —Johnson

 
Barbour Publishing launches Shiloh Kidz imprint Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:02 PM America/New_York

Company partners with Twin Sisters on Christian, children’s educational titles

ShilohKidz-Vertical_200Barbour Publishing has announced the launch of its new children’s imprint, Shiloh Kidz, in partnership with Twin Sisters. With initial releases coming in November, the imprint will offer a wide range of educational products with formats that include boxed games, stickers and board books as well as books—devotionals, Bible stories, Bible reference and fiction—for children ages 3 to 12.

“Our vision for Shiloh Kidz is to develop kids’ products rooted in biblical truth, and it’s important that those products also teach, encourage, inspire—and if they entertain along the way, even better,” said Kelly McIntosh, Barbour’s vice president editorial.

Twin Sisters is well-known in the Christian and educational markets, and has been in business nearly 30 years.

“Being the Christian content-provider for Barbour Publishing’s newly launched Shiloh Kidz brand is an honor,” said Kim Thompson, president of Twin Sisters. “It allows us to focus on creating products that share the message of Christ.”

First titles from this new partnership include My First Bible Color and Trace Book and My First Memory Match Game: Noah’s Ark. 

Barbour’s McIntosh said she is “looking forward” to working with Twin Sisters.

“Adding their experience for already proven titles to the Shiloh Kidz catalog is really exciting for us—and nicely rounds out our mix of kids’ product offerings,” she added.

“We have been impressed with Barbour Publishing’s business and dedication to the Christian market,” said Karen Hilderbrand, CEO of Twin Sisters. “This strategic partnership will allow our Christian music and educational content to continue to impact teachers, children and families.”

Barbour also will be taking on the distribution and production of 71 Twin Sisters titles already available in Christian retail outlets. As titles go to reprint, they’ll be rebranded as Shiloh Kidz products. Customers currently ordering these products will be transitioned to Barbour and will be contacted by their sales reps so there is no interruption of service.

The company recently adopted a strategic publishing strategy that includes a number of imprints as a way to brand titles that are not part of its longtime value publishing program. Along with Shiloh Kidz, imprints include Barbour Bibles, Daymaker, Barbour Books, Value Books and Spanish-language imprint Casa Promesa.

In addition, earlier this year, Barbour launched Shiloh Run Press, a new imprint for the company’s original full-length fiction and Christian Living titles, which include Thank You, Billy Graham, compiled by three of Graham’s grandchildren. —Christine D. Johnson

 
Legacy project to highlight Dr. Dobson’s work Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 04:00 PM America/New_York

New DVD series harks back to his groundbreaking film series

YourLegacyDVDSeriesPoster._200tifFamily Talk’s Dr. James Dobson is introducing a new DVD series, “Building a Family Legacy,” that builds on highlights from his historic first film series, “Your Legacy.” Accompanying the series are a number of new and repackaged books and study guides in support of Dobson’s life work. Each trade book relates to a series’ DVD  from Provident Distribution and its own curriculum through LifeWay.

“Unchanging biblical principles change who we are, and we can pass that to our children, grandchildren and beyond,” said the child psychologist who built Focus on the Family and now Family Talk. “ ‘Building a Family Legacy’ can help every generation be all a family can be.”

The series (buildingafamilylegacy.com) adds new footage from Dobson’s lifetime of experience and learning. Eight DVDs—supported by books and study guides—bring intergenerational advice from Dobson, his wife, Shirley, daughter Danae and son Ryan. Along with bonus features, the titles are: Your Legacy; Bringing up Boys; Bringing up Girls; Love for a Lifetime; The Strong-Willed Child; Dare to Discipline; Straight Talk to Men; and Wanting to Believe With Ryan Dobson.

Audience numbers for the original films—shown mostly in church settings in a pre-DVD era—soared past 80 million. When Ryan Dobson, now a parent, viewed the old films on DVD in 2008, he asked his father about reworking them for today’s moms and dads.

“The first thing I did was laugh at my dad’s glasses and clothes, but I realized quickly how valuable and timeless this information was,” he said. “I picked up the phone and said, ‘Dad, my friends and I need this!’ ”

Produced and directed by David Nixon, the updated series will be available on DVD in October through Christian stores and online. A simulcast—available in churches Oct. 1-5—is expected to introduce the series to 1 million people.

“I’m at a place where I could have just retired,” said Dobson, now head of the Family Talk ministry and radio broadcast. “But God told me the job’s not finished.”

Provident’s vice president of sales believes the new DVD series will speak to this generation.

“What classic children’s films are to kids, Dobson videos are to parents,” Davis told Christian Retailing. “The ‘Legacy’ videos will be new again—and timeless—with each new generation.”

FaithWords is releasing Your Legacy: The Greatest Gift by Dr. Dobson on Sept. 2, and B&H Publishing Group is releasing Wanting to Believe: Faith, Family, & Finding an Exceptional Life by Ryan Dobson in September.

In addition to the DVDs, Tyndale House Publishers, has five titles that will be repackaged and released in September. Tyndale’s five titles are: Bringing Up Boys, Bringing Up Girls, The New Strong-Willed Child, The New Dare to Discipline and Straight Talk to Men.

Jan Long Harris, publisher of Tyndale Momentum titles, is aware of the need for such materials for parents.“During the past 12 months, Tyndale’s sales of Dr. Dobson’s books grew 16.8% compared to the previous 12-month period,” Harris said. “There is a hunger on the part of parents and families for sound Bible-based advice. Dr. Dobson’s ‘Building a Family Legacy’ project will speak into this need, and we are delighted to support the effort with the publication of special editions of Dr. Dobson’s timeless best-selling books.” —Johnson

 
Publishers’ group names new chairman Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Monday, 02 June 2014 05:22 PM America/New_York

Dwight Baker of Baker Publishing Group to head ECPA board

DwightBaker-2013_200The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) voted four industry leaders onto its board during the group’s annual meeting held at April’s ECPA Leadership Summit in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Dwight Baker, a second-term ECPA board candidate and president of Baker Publishing Group, will serve as ECPA chair for the next term.

“I am thrilled to have Dwight continue the Baker family legacy of distinguished board service as both his father (Richard) and grandfather (Herman) served on the ECPA board in the past,” said ECPA President and CEO Mark Kuyper. “The first in his family to serve as Chairman, Dwight’s lifelong experience in publishing, appreciation for quality content, and love of God’s Word, make him exceptionally well suited to lead our board.”

Another second-term candidate, Bob Fryling, publisher of InterVarsity Press, will serve as board secretary. Byron Williamson, CEO and publisher of Worthy Publishing Group, and Joe Wikert, director of strategy and business development at Olive Software, join the board as first-term candidates.

Cris Doornbos, David C Cook president/CEO, is outgoing board chair, and Gretchen Goldsmith, Rose Publishing/Aspire Press president/CEO, is outgoing vice chair.

Remaining on the board are Vice Chair David Moberg, senior vice president at HarperCollins Christian Publishing; Treasurer Jerry Kregel, vice president and chief financial officer of Kregel Publications; Member at Large Jeffrey Wright, CEO of Urban Ministries International; Stephen Cobb, president of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group; Tammy Gaines, vice president at Abingdon Press; Jeff Johnson, COO at Tyndale House Publishers; Cory Verner, president and publisher of eChristian; and Selma Wilson, president of B&H Publishing Group.  —Johnson

 
Mary Colbert launches Bible Balloons company Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:50 AM America/New_York

Wife of best-selling author aims to fill gift niche in Christian market

MaryColbertMary Colbert—known to many as the wife of best-selling health and fitness author Dr. Don Colbert and a minister in her own right—is launching a gift company at a time when many are opting out of new introductions. Colbert is entering the market as an entrepreneur with a unique gift product: Bible Balloons (bibleballoons.com).

Colbert said the idea for Bible Balloons came about two years ago “when I saw the Word being removed from government institutions and lawsuits being brought against the Ten Commandments and how they’re just trying to stifle the Bible and the Word of God in any way they can.”

The 18-inch round Mylar balloons feature a double-sided color design. They are self-sealing and refillable and can be filled with helium or air. With more than 20 customizable designs, the balloons include such greetings as “Congratulations!”; “Happy Birthday!”; “It’s a Boy [or Girl]!” and “Get Well Soon!”

The designs also have accompanying scripture. For instance, a Get Well Soon balloon bears the scripture Isa. 53:5: “By his stripes I am healed.” One of the Happy Birthday balloons has Jer. 1:5 imprinted in the design: “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you.”

She believes there is a healthy future for Bible Balloons.

MaryColbertBalloon“What better way to acknowledge a celebration than the Word of God?” she said. “Because the Word of God is built completely around celebration. It’s very positive. That’s why it’s called the good news.

“Hopefully we will whet people’s appetite to know more about what’s in the Bible,” she added. “If I don’t do anything else but that, is whet people’s appetite to know more of what’s written in the Bible, I will have accomplished what I wanted to accomplish.” 

 
Munce Group ends 2013 on a positive note Print Email
Written by Ken Walker   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:47 AM America/New_York

Some member stores saw double-digit growth as 50-year-old Florida store faces significant challenges

TexasStoreLivingMunce Group has reported that most of its member stores ended 2013 with an increase, though a half-century-old store is trying new approaches in hopes of an improved future. 

“The majority fell within single-digit growth of 1%-5%, (but) we had a range of stores that experienced large growth of double digits,” said Munce Group President Kirk Blank.

Living Room Books in Bastrop, Texas—about 35 miles southeast of Austin—is seeing success. Manager and co-owner Kimberly Burns thinks that 2014 could mark the store’s third consecutive double-digit increase. Sales increased 26% last year after a 19% gain in 2012.

“For this year, our first two months have been very strong,” Burns said. “We have been surprised with these strong increases when you take into consideration the Bastrop County Complex fires of September 2011” (a reference to the state’s most destructive wildfires in history).

After examining the store’s advertising approach, “we decided to put more into catalogs because we saw an increase in sales for those months when we sent one out,” Burns said.

Lately the store has attracted more shoppers with its Frequent Buyer program, thanks to emphasizing its benefits that include allowing customers to designate 2% of each sale to their church.

Although books don’t occupy center stage for many retailers, they lead all categories at Living Room, generating 23% of revenue. Gifts (18%) are next, followed by Bibles (14%).

Ironically, Burns had considered relocating her 9-year-old store to the west of Bastrop to take advantage of growth patterns. However, recent expansion to the east has put Living Room back in the center of retailing traffic.

New Covenant Christian Bookstore in Shelbyville, Tenn., didn’t reach double-digit growth, but Dennis Lovvorn hopes the store will match its current 6% growth in 2014.

Lovvorn, who also operates a Thomas Kinkade Gallery in Murfreesboro, Tenn., calls doubling his catalog mailings in 2013 the key to keeping New Covenant’s name in front of customers.

“I hope we can keep the momentum going,” he said. “We plan to use even more of the Munce catalogs this year. We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this summer, so we hope to create some excitement with an anniversary sale, author signings and other things.”

Bible sales are New Covenant’s most important category with a deep selection and frequent sale pricing. Gifts, especially Willow Tree, are strong, and the P. Graham Dunn laser personalization center attracts repeat shoppers.

New Covenant’s Fair Trade product section attracts customers in search of handcrafted items that support artisans in developing countries. The store also has picked up a line of candles whose wicking process is done by disadvantaged adults and a shoe-sachet product made by wounded veterans.

Among Munce members are stores facing challenges, too. Tampa Christian Supply, which will turn 50 in October, doesn’t expect to greet its silver anniversary with much fanfare.

That’s because a five-week “fire sale” that wrapped up March 22 didn’t generate the kind of revenues to help the store catch up from a bleak 2013 Christmas season.

“Long term, our store is going to shrink,” said Vice President and General Manager Patrick Pellizzee. “How small it’s going to shrink is the next factor. We own our building, so we have a lot more flexibility than most folks.”

On the store’s plus side, sales of church and Sunday school supplies remain healthy with 70% of the demand coming from African-American and Hispanic customers. Pellizzee also sees continuing interest in Bibles and gifts with buyers seeking a hands-on experience for both.

While still formulating plans, Pellizzee has contemplated purchasing a P. Graham Dunn laser or similar machine to attract new business. 

“I think most major metropolitan areas need that and would support it,” Pellizzee said of customization.

 
Convergent publisher addresses pro-gay book controversy Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:41 AM America/New_York

‘Inclusive’ imprint’s title by homosexual activist Matthew Vines draws strong reaction

GodAndTheGayChristianConvergent Books, an imprint of Random House’s Crown Publishing Group, has published a pro-gay book that the company describes as an “affirmation of both an orthodox faith and sexual diversity.” 

The April publication of Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships stirred controversy online among some conservative Christians, including Matt Barber, cultural analyst, and Michael L. Brown, author of Can You Be Gay and Christian? (FrontLine/Charisma House). 

Written by Vines, a gay activist who himself is homosexual, God and the Gay Christian was born out of years of research on the Bible and homosexuality.

Stephen W. Cobb oversees Convergent and Catholic imprint Image as well as the WaterBrook Press and Multnomah Books imprints, whose books are more commonly carried by CBA member stores. Convergent was launched in December 2012 as a new kind of faith-based imprint whose titles were expected to lead to “an open, inclusive and culturally engaged exploration of faith.”

Barber (BarbWire.com) cited an unspecified source with ties to Multnomah, who said it was “reasonable to speculate that Multnomah is trying to cover up its fast-growing connection to sexual sin activism.” 

The same source said: “Multnomah is now consciously trying to hide from NRB [National Religious Broadcasters] and its members the fact that it is putting out this new project,” referring to Vines’ book. He also said the “same staff, editors, executives, promoters are behind the book as are behind those put out by other ‘imprints.’ ” 

Cobb emphasized that Convergent is “separate and distinct” from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

“I’ve established very distinct editorial guidelines for each of these imprints,” he told Christian Retailing. “I’m very aware of what these are. They are rigorously applied, and we’re certainly sensitive to what’s appropriate and where it’s most appropriate.”

Cobb especially noted that staff members are not forced to work on any book that is against their beliefs.

“We actually went to great lengths and have always gone to lengths here to make sure that our people here have never been required to work on anything that offended their personal beliefs,” he said. “We met with everyone in small groups and, in some cases, individually, and I can think of a couple of employees off the top of my head that asked to not participate in the publishing function regarding this particular book, and we were respectful and grateful for their candor and excused them from any involvement, so we don’t run that kind of shop here.”

Brown stated on Twitter that Vines is “not a biblical scholar” and that the book is “100% antithetical to Scripture regarding homosexuality.”

Cobb pointed out that the company’s other imprints host books with different points of view on the issue.

“What drew me to this book was I believe this is one of the most significant issues that faces the church in our current generation,” he said. “I think it’s obvious that there’s a lot of hostility and emotion that might be clouding our approach to our brothers and sisters in Christ who have a different orientation than we do, and I don’t have the answers, but I believe that it’s an issue that needs to be dealt with more openly and in a more civil fashion in the church than what I see today.”

Convergent Books titles are not being shopped to CBA market retailers.

“Our Christian sales force is not soliciting orders for this book, never has,” Cobb said. “It would’ve been inappropriate for them to carry this book to Christian retailing and that has not been the case.”

Vines’ book has been endorsed by such authors as Rachel Held Evans, who calls it “a game-changer,” and Tony Campolo, who recommends it to “Christians who oppose gay marriage.”

The publisher further responded online at convergentbooks.com.