At its first combined HarperCollins Christian Publishing Group sales conference held March 6, Thomas Nelson announced internally it would be restoring its Nelson Books and W Publishing Group imprints. In a controversial move in 2007, Nelson had eliminated all 20 of its imprints in favor of the One Company Initiative, citing its intention to eliminate overlap and brand confusion.
In bringing the imprints back, HC Christian Publishing president and CEO Mark Schoenwald stated, “At that time, the company recognized the value and strength of promoting one company brand. Over the past six years, our publishing teams have worked hard to distinguish Thomas Nelson in the industry. However, we have also realized the importance of having distinct imprint identities for our large and growing nonfiction groups.”
Though at the time One Company was instituted, the company stated that part of the motivation was the fact that consumers neither recognize nor care about imprints, Thomas Nelson’s reinstatement of the Nelson Books and W Publishing acknowledges their value in “providing further clarity” for retailers, media, and agents. This now makes four imprints for HC Christian Publishing, since with the acquisition of Nelson by HarperCollins, Thomas Nelson and Zondervan became imprints under the larger umbrella. All are under the leadership of David Moberg, HCCP v-p and group publisher. Of the resurrection of two of the company's historic imprints, Moberg told PW, "it was especially important to make these distinctions after the acquisition and formation of HarperCollins Christian Publishing."
The only nonfiction trade author currently being published under the Thomas Nelson imprint is Max Lucado. The restored Nelson Books imprint will publish “select” memoir, biography, history, and culture titles, as well as books on spiritual growth, inspiration, and practical living. It will be headed by Brian Hampton, senior v-p and publisher.
W Publishing Group will encompass “strong” memoir and books by top “communicators for the women’s market,” including authors such as Jennie Allen (Anything), Elisa Morgan (Refuse to Do Nothing), and Shannon Ethridge (The Fantasy Fallacy), as well as spiritual growth and practical living titles. Matt Baugher, senior v-p and publisher, will lead the imprint.
Nonfiction books will fall under the Nelson Books and W Publishing Group imprints beginning with the fall 2013 lists. Fiction from both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan has been consolidated under Daisy Hutton, v-p and publisher for fiction, HC Christian Publishing, though the two imprints have been retained.