Thomas Nelson recently marked some significant milestones for its wildly successful Heaven Is for Real, the account of a six-year-old boy’s near-death experience. Published in November 2010, the book has spent 69 weeks on the New York Times paperback bestsellers list and this past Sunday (Mar. 25) was once again at #1—the 57th time (non-consecutively) in that position. It has been on the Publishers Weekly trade paperback list for 65 weeks, at #1 more than ten times in the past year, and also reached the top spot on the lists of the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Christian Booksellers Association, and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association multiple times. There are now nearly 6.5 million copies in print.
In November 2011, Nelson published Heaven Is for Real for Kids, which has now sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide and ascended to the top spot on the Times’s Print Children’s Picture Books list and on PW’s Children’s Picture Books list. Unlike the adult title—which was told through the eyes of father Todd Burpo—the children’s book (illustrated by Wilson Ong) recounts the story from the point of view of Colton Burpo himself, now 12 years old.
Other products have been added to the HIFR franchise, including a deluxe hardcover edition, a DVD-based conversation kit, and a “Heaven Is for Real for Kids” app for all Apple platforms.
Matt Baugher, senior v-p and publisher at Thomas Nelson, told RBL, “The success of Heaven Is For Real is unprecedented [for us], both in its sales numbers and the short amount of time to achieve those numbers. It is now the highest-selling trade book in the history of Thomas Nelson, as well as the longest tenured at #1 on the bestseller lists.”