Balancing the books

Hard times in religion publishing
Conventional wisdom holds that when times get bad, people turn to religion. But that’s not the case in religion publishing. Like other business executives in the current economic doldrums, religion publishers are cutting expenses in the face of declining sales.

“The overall economy has hit publishing in a significant way,” said Bob Fryling, publisher at InterVarsity Press in Downers Grove, Illinois, articulating a truth universally acknowledged among publishers. Bookstore closings and reductions in store inventories are forcing publishers to be nimble in responding to present and future demands.

“For decades we’ve all said books are recession-proof,” said Dwight Baker, president of Baker Publishing Group in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I still believe books are recession-resistant, but I’ll tell you what’s not recession-proof, and that’s major retailers.”


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