Christian publishers who are owned by secular companies have always made for strange bedfellows. Christian publishers are bound by some ethics which they follow – one of the main ones is that they must always remain Christian in the materials that they produce. So what happens when a Christian publisher is owned by a secular company?
A certain case comes to mind, where one secular company produced a controversial book about gay Christianity, and the publisher had to ask that the ethics be examined. This brought to an end a business relationship that had endured for long. This case underscores the problems facing Christian publishers who are owned by secular companies.
A secular publisher will sell a book as long as it can bring about high readership volumes – the readership may be a result of outrage, excitement, amazement and more. Basically, as long as they are within the law in releasing a publication, secular companies will not balk at selling any book.
A Christian publisher is bound by the ethics that are in line with the teachings of the bible. Even if there is Christian fiction being sold, the titles have to show some Christian value. Children’s books are written about monsters and how they are defeated, but the whole story has to toe the thin line between a fairy tale and a horror story.
A tale of survival
In order for some publishing houses, Christian or secular, to survive in the tough publishing business, they sometimes form mergers. Some of the companies that run these mergers are strictly secular in the way they publish books. This is a story of survival, and sometimes it does not auger well for the Christian publisher. Stories of corporate battles over the kinds of books to publish are seen on the news every day.
Do Christian publishers have to work with profitable secular publishers in order to keep their books on the markets? This is an interesting question and this is because this is what happens most of the time. In rare cases is a Christian publisher acquired by another Christian publisher. Secular publishers have great incomes and funds, given that their titles are more widely sold. Christian publishers lack this financial backing and that is why they seek such mergers, which can sometimes be very embarrassing.
So what should be done?
Christian publishers need to find a way to merge and form bodes that can come together and pool resources to get financial and market stability. There are associations for Christian publishers but these are not run as enterprises. It is now time for Christian publishers to run a collective enterprise. They will be better positioned to compete with secular books once they do so. It is all up to the individual publishers now to think of other ways, other than getting acquired by secular companies.