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Changing Times

"Changing Times" Continued...

Issue: "Left behind," June 28, 2008

Other Christian titles, though, through timeliness, celebrity, marketing clout, or some combination of the three, have in 2007 and 2008 taken the bullet train to the top. For example, Tyndale House executives knew that Quiet Strength, the memoir by Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, had a large potential audience. But both Tyndale and Dungy were blown away when the book hit No. 1 on the list within its first few weeks of release.

In the wake of the Left Behind phenomenon, several major secular houses either acquired Christian publishers or launched Christian imprints of their own, putting new marketing muscle behind books carrying an evangelical message. For example, Simon & Schuster acquired Howard, a Louisiana-based Christian publisher, in 2006. This April, Howard Books scored its first No. 1 New York Times best-seller, Mistaken Identity, a nonfiction account of how two Christian families coped after daughters from each were involved in a car crash, and only one survived.

While some Christian publishers, such as Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, have recently trimmed staff and realigned operations in response to tough economic times, Nelson's Hyatt remains optimistic about the future of books bearing the gospel message: "I've heard complaints that this is the worst of times, that in this generation, the Christian faith has never been more watered down," he said. "I see it as the opposite: That God is at work in every generation. Our job is to see where He is at work and participate in that mission."

The June 15 New York Times bestseller list featured 14 books centered on Christianity

Fiction

The Shack
William P. Young
Windblown Media, May 2007

Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana
Anne Rice
Knopf, March 2008

The Forbidden
Beverly Lewis
Bethany House, May 2008

Nonfiction

Mistaken Identity
Don and Susi Van Ryn; and Newell, Colleen, and Whitney Cerak with Mark Tabb
Howard Books, March 2008

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
Timothy Keller
Dutton Adult, February 2008

90 Minutes in Heaven
Don Piper with Cecil Murphey
Revell, September 2004

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
Francis S. Collins
Free Press, July 2007

Same Kind of Different as Me
Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent
W Publishing, June 2006

Quiet Strength
Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker
Tyndale House, July 2007

Advice

Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day
Joel Osteen
Free Press, October 2007

Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential
Joel Osteen
FaithWords, October 2004

The Total Money Makeover
Dave Ramsey
Thomas Nelson, 2nd Edition, Febuary 2007

The Five Love Languages
Gary Chapman
Northfield Publishing, March 2008

The Purpose Driven Life
Rick Warren
Zondervan, October 2002

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