Zondervan, part of the HarperCollins Christian Publishing family, took five of the eight highest honors Tuesday night at the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association 2015 Christian Book Awards, the most prestigious annual recognition in evangelical Christian publishing.
The night’s top prize went to Rick Warren for The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life, a diet book the megachurch pastor co-authored with two physicians, Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman. The Daniel Plan represents Warren’s own successful weight loss efforts based on the biblical book of Daniel, in which a young prophet denies himself all the rich food of the Babylonian court. Sales of The Daniel Plan brand, which includes a cookbook, a journal, and other ancillary products, exceeded one million copies in its first year, driven primarily by Warren’s renown as the author of the earlier blockbuster The Purpose Driven Life.
Zondervan also claimed the category of Bible (NIV First-Century Study Bible, with notes by Kent Dobson) and Bible Reference (1,2 and 3 John: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, by Karen H. Jobes). And it capped off the night with a dual win for Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity, which won both the New Author category and the coveted Non-Fiction category. It’s the first time in the history of the ECPA awards that a book has won in two categories.
The awards banquet, held in Murfreesboro, Tenn., in conjunction with the ECPA’s Leadership Summit, was not quite a Zondervan sweep. Tyndale Publishers brought home two recognitions: a fiction nod to Randy Singer’s novel The Advocate and a win in the children’s category for My Bible Animals Storybook by Dandi Daley Mackall (with illustrations by Heather Heyworth).
Finally, a poignant win came to David C. Cook in the Inspiration category for Kara Tippetts’s The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard. The memoir chronicles Tippetts’s diagnosis of Stage IV breast cancer in her 30s, and the legacy of faith she wished to pass on to her four young children. Shortly before her death in late March, Tippetts was informed in confidence that her book was slated to win the Inspiration category.
Following the banquet, the ECPA engaged in a large-scale social media campaign to bring visibility to the awards. Using the hashtag #ReadGoodBooks, it sought to put the word out to more than half a million social media accounts.