August 23, 2012

HarperCollins Gets Religious

Today, HarperCollins has announced that, in the wake of its acquisition of Christian publisher Thomas Nelson, it has formed a new Christian publishing division. The business unit will include both Thomas Nelson, the Nashville-based outfit with roots that date back to 1798 Edinburgh, Scotland, and Zondervan, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based house that was already in HarperCollins’ portfolio.

In the press release it was announced that Thomas Nelson’s Mark Schoenwald has been named president and CEO of the new division, while Zondervan CEO Scott Macdonald will step into an advisory role.

Elsewhere at the intersection of HarperCollins and religion, the Berenstain Bears, the children’s book franchise that is published by HC, have been pulled into the broiling controversy over chicken chain Chick-fil-A’s CEO Dan Cathy and his opposition to same-sex marriage on biblical grounds. After a kids-meal promotion with Jim Henson Co. hit the rocks, possibly over the disagreement, a Berenstain promotion that was said to have been long in the works was launched. According to a story, a note from HarperCollins appeared briefly on the Berenstain Bears site distancing the publisher from the restaurant, but that message has since been removed because, as a HarperCollins spokesperson told, “it contained ‘an unauthorized statement.’”

No word on the new Christian publishing division’s stance on the matter.


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