Books are still alive, and Christian books are doing exceptionally well.

In 2015, Nielsen reports that Christian books sold a total of 52.4 million units which is a 10.5% increase over the year before. By comparison, the overall book market could only muster 2.4%.

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As expected, women buy more books than men. The uptick is most notable in nonfiction, which is a mainstay of the segment, but surprisingly in the young teens/juvenile market as well.

Armed with that data, you may want to consider a good Christian book as a gift for Christmas. But with bookstore shelves stacked high with choices, how do you decide which to buy?

Check out our list of the 5 best Christian book publishers and their offerings. You will realize that you are spoilt for choice.

1. Zondervan

If ever there was a standard to go by in the Christian publishing world, Zondervan is it.

The Christian book publishing mainstay from Michigan is the publisher of the ubiquitous New International translation of the Bible. Established in 1931, Zondervan have also published other Bible translations such as the Amplified and Berkeley.

But they have books as well. Included in their author list are:

In 1988, they became a branch of Harper Collins, a validation of the market and potential of Christian publishing.

2. Thomas Nelson

Thomas Nelson is another brand of Harper Collins. Just like its stablemate above, it has a solid reputation built from the year they started in 1798 in Scotland and establishing its first office in the United State in 1854. And you thought Zondervan was old!

The age disparity notwithstanding, Thomas Nelson has some of the best selling bibles in it’s library namely the revered King James and New King James translations and the New American Standard Bible. and the John MacArthur Study Bible.

In addition, Thomas Nelson is no slouch in the celebrity author department:

  • The John MacArthur Study Bible has been a foundation of many Christians for decades;
  • John Maxwell Leadership Bible from the celebrated business coach and inspirational author.
  • More recently, they released The Magnolia Story, about Chip and Joanna Gaines who rocketed to stardom renovating houses in the hit TV show Fixer Upper.

And in a prescient move, Thomas Nelson released an audio bible called The Word of Promise. Unlike others audio Bibles with just a narrator, this massive 79 CD release brings the Bible to life with readings from famous actors like Jim Caviezel [reprising his role as Jesus from The Passion of the Christ], Richard Dreyfuss, Gary Sinise, Marisa Tomei, and a total of over 600 others. It is complete with musical score and sound effects which makes the text come alive and makes for a more enjoyable and deeper experience of the Word. I should know, I’ve been listening to this set! It’s also available as a downloadable file.

With it’s gutsy digital age moves, Thomas Nelson proves that age is really just a number.

3. Moody Publishers

Dwight L. Moody has a well-deserved reputation as one of the important figures that established Christianity in the United States as we know it. Ironically, his education was deemed inadequate that he was not able to pass a Bible test to join a church!

The publishing house that bears his name, Moody Publishers is a nonprofit Christian book publishers house located in Chicago, Illinois. Since being founded in 1894, they have distributed more than 300 million books. Some of these are:

It is also worthwhile to note that all proceeds from Moody Publishers benefit The Moody Bible Institute, which exists to educate and equip students for Christian ministry.

4. FaithWords

FaithWords was established in 2001. Its youth is borne out by a collection of inspirational authors which are getting larger and larger audiences as the years go by. A division of another one of the giant Christian book publishers the Hachette Book Group, they have a focus on more contemporary Christian authors. This has touched a very large base of churchgoers who look for practical advice for Christian living dilemmas in the 21st century

FaithWords bestselling authors are heavyweights. These include;

FaithWords is from Nashville, Tennessee. They have sold over 60 million books.

5. Olive Tree

Olive Tree is not a publisher per se. But you could consider them as the Amazon of Christian book publishers, which is why they deserve a place on this list.

Dozens of startup companies sought to bring the Bible into the Internet age. All of them have fallen by the wayside with Olive Tree left standing. This can be attributed to two things.

Olive Tree has a vast library. Whereas brick and mortar publishers have their individual translations, Olive Tree is to borrow a phrase platform agnostic. As a bookstore they are able to offer most if not all of the popular translations in several languages. They also carry Bible study tools such as concordances, commentaries, Hebrew or Greek translation tools, even maps. You may also purchase Christian books ranging from devotionals, marriage and parenting, children’s and teens and all the way into apologetics.

The selection is seriously impressive.

But what pushed them to the top was their app. It was first developed in 1984 as a sort of word processor for searching the Bible. In 1998 and 1999, it released the harbinger of the app as we know it now for the Palm OS and Pocket PC. Changing its name to Olive Tree in 2000, they have been since been dominant in bringing the Bible to this smartphone generation.

Like Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, Olive Tree was acquired by Harper Collins in 2014.

That our list of the 5 best Christian book publishers. Happy shopping and remember you can always add to our list by adding an comment.

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