Christian Retailing

Tyndale House Publishers celebrates 50 years Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Monday, 30 April 2012 03:32 PM America/New_York

Tyndale House Publishers—founded in 1962 by the now-late Kenneth Taylor—celebrates 50 years in 2012. The company started with the publication of Living Letters, a paraphrase of the New Testament epistles that was the forerunner to The Living Bible, took off in sales when it was endorsed by Billy Graham.

Tyndale is compiling a commemorative gift book, The Tyndale House 50th Anniversary Reader, as a limited edition for private distribution to employees, key retailers and industry leaders. A special online page——affords friends of the company an opportunity to learn about the company’s history and share greetings or upload a picture or video through a virtual birthday card.

Anniversary events will start with a Founder’s Day event for employees May 3, and the company is building a reading-themed float for Independence Day parades in Wheaton and Glen Ellyn, Ill. Company President Mark Taylor also will deliver an anniversary presentation for the CBA members’ luncheon at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Orlando, Fla., July 16.

Mark D. Taylor, Tyndale’s president since 1984, commented: “As we celebrate Tyndale House’s 50th anniversary, it gives us an opportunity to look back at all that has been accomplished. We have worked with thousands of wonderful authors. Many hundreds of faithful employees have been on our team. We have published untold millions of copies of books and Bibles. Through it all, we have attempted to be faithful to our mission. And now our challenge is to stay true to that mission as we move forward into an ever-changing world.”

The company—a corporation owned by the Tyndale House Foundation—operates under its longtime mission statement: “To minister to the spiritual needs of people, primarily through literature consistent with biblical principles.”

Along with Living Letters, another key title Tyndale released early on was Spirit-Controlled Temperament by Tim LaHaye, published in 1966. It sold more than 1 million copies and is still in print today. LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins went on to create the “Left Behind” series, which has sold more than 63 million copies.

The company was named by Ken and Margaret Taylor in honor of William Tyndale, who translated the New Testament into English in the early 16th century. The Taylors also founded the Tyndale House Foundation and channeled the royalties from Living Letters (and later The Living Bible and the New Living Translation) into the nonprofit operation. 

Living Letters was followed by Living Prophecies in 1965 and The Living New Testament in 1967. Finally, The Living Bible, which became the best-selling book in the United States, was launched in 1971. The Living Bible was published in a variety of editions, including a popular youth edition called The Way and a study edition called the Life Application Study Bible.

In 2001, the Taylors donated the publishing company to Tyndale House Foundation. Through the years, the foundation has donated more than $147 million (in 2012 dollars) as grants to missions and charities.