Monday, October 31, 2011

HarperCollins to Buy Thomas Nelson

Sad news. Today, HarperCollins announced that HarperCollins will acquire Thomas Nelson by year’s end. It isn’t really surprising. It wasn’t long ago that another company took over Thomas Nelson in order to whip it into shape so that it would be more attractive to investors. It appears that HarperCollins took the bait. I don’t really have any idea what this will mean to readers or authors. HarperCollins already owns Zondervan, another Christian book publisher. For the company as a whole, it is probably a good thing, since bigger companies have more power.

All the same, it saddens me. I hate seeing so many Christian publishing companies merging with companies whose focus is on things other than Christian publishing. Granted, it isn’t like Thomas Nelson is a church, but it is kind of like so many colleges that started out as Christian colleges but now don’t even resemble a Christian college. I fear that too many people worship the dollar and the power it suggests and have lost sight of what is important.

That isn’t to say that HarperCollins is a bad company, but it seems like we’re trying to take Christianity, put it in nice manageable packages and sell it off to the highest bidder. Your company wants television shows, there’s a module you can plugin. Your company wants textbooks, there’s a module you can plugin. Your company wants to have Christian books, there’s a module for that. Christianity shouldn’t be a module that we can use and then put aside until we want it again. Faith should so permeate our lives that it overflows. It is sad that Thomas Nelson is a module instead of having such an influence that HarperCollins and News Corporation wouldn’t be able to plug it in without having to remove the more unsavory stuff they publish and televise.

As I said, it is sad news.

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