It might surprise you in this digital and self-publishing age we live in, that there are still about 100 publishers in the US of varying sizes. Many of these Christian publishers are smaller, producing only a handful of titles each year, but some are very large, multi-imprint companies that serve Christians all around the world.
Here are our top 15 Christian publishers, who made our list because of (1) reach; (2) history and mission; and/or (3) representative of a particular kind of publishing group, aka denominational, academic, church resourcing.
Top 15 Christian Publishers and Christian Publishing Companies
Baker Publishing Group includes imprints Bethany House, Revell, Baker, Brazos and Baker Academic. Together, they represent a swath of material making them our first choice in Christian publishing. The company seems poised to do ministry and their catalog gives them many of those credentials, since the titles are thoughtful and biblically sound.
B&H is part of LifeWay Christian Resources, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. That makes its clientele Baptist churches all over, though not exclusively so. Over the past 15 years, The SBC has modified its publishing objectives to open its resources and draw to a wider and wider community of churches and believers (thus the bookstore name shift from Baptist Bookstore to Lifeway, for example).
Abingdon Press is a mainstay in Christian publishing enduring for more than 200 years as a service of the United Methodist Church and churches generally. Their catalog includes helpful publications for church leaders as well as general Bible study and commentary on the challenges of living like Christ.
Unlike many other Christian publishers, IVP shares a ministry platform with InterVarsity, a discipling organization for college students. The reach of IVP is certainly much larger than this base, providing academic and general book catalogs you can find anywhere. Several noteworthy authors: Francis Schaeffer, J.I. Packer, and John Stott have published books with IVP.
Crossway publishes the ESV Bible which puts them squarely on the list. They also offer books in Biblical studies, evangelism, apologetics, church ministry, as well as more popular fiction (though that seems more of a side-note)
Wipf and Stock offers new publications yearly, mostly in thoughtful theology but they also offer many older, “out-of-print” titles that they hope won’t be completely forgotten which makes this Christian publisher noteworthy.
Moody Publishers is part of the very influential Moody Church, Moody Radio and Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL. The heritage of D.L. Moody is powerful, as the publishing house serves church-goers everywhere with titles that challenge and disciple, and ultimately evangelize the lost.
Named after the Protestant reformer William Tyndall (1494–1536) who translated the Bible into English and was martyred by Henry VIII, Tyndale House began about 70 years ago with the main objective to publish The Living Bible. They now have Christian fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and other resources, including Bibles in the New Living Translation (NLT).
Much like Zondervan is now part of HarperCollins, Waterbrook Multnomah is part of the huge publishing house that is Penguin Random House. This offers strength in distribution and service, and, according to the company, remain evangelical and distinct in their editorial identity. Their titles are more popular in focus.
Zondervan (which includes Thomas Nelson)
Zondervan is part of HaperCollins Christian Publishing. We’ve included Thomas Nelson as well, since they are under the same umbrella, though acquired by HarperCollins more recently. Zondervan is best known for the New International Version of the Bible (NIV) and the more recent (and, some circles, controversial) revised edition. Zondervan’s catalog is massive and spreads into every sector of Christian publishing.
Of all university presses, Baylor University Press continues to do a nice job in offering rich, helpful publications that border academics and popular culture. They also have more marketing savvy than most presses in titling and packaging their books. But, this is an academic press, so you’ll find series on Biblical studies, lectures, and comparative studies. (Yes, it’s the press of Baylor University which is home of Truett Seminary.)
Harvest House publishes more than 150 new books each year and offers a strong backlist of more than 1,200 titles. Their titles are mainly in the popular Christian living/self-help category but they also offer many fiction titles and Bible resources.
Concordia is the publisher for The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, the most conservative of the Lutheran church denominations. Concordia offers a host of church resources including commentaries, worship resources, and youth studies. They also offer many Spanish resources.
Ignatius Press offers a wide variety of titles from fiction to theology. As a Roman Catholic publisher, their titles are anchored in Catholic doctrine. They have a terrific back catalog where they have stretched back to notable Catholic writers and theologians in the past, including the 30+ volume set of G.K. Chesterton’s work.
Paraclete Press is one of the top Christian publishers of essential Christian wisdom. They publish about 40 books a year and distribute the recordings of Gloriæ Dei Cantores and the Monks of Solesmes, France. Among publishing books, Paraclete also publishes sheet music and an award-winning line of educational videos.
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