HarperCollins Christian Publishing, which comprises Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Christian publishing groups, has teamed up with independent religious media and publishing company Urban Ministries Incorporated (UMI) on a co-publication and co-distribution agreement in an effort to expand into new and existing markets. UMI, which serves the African American church, will help HCCP identify, publish, and promote prominent and emerging voices, while also distributing relevant resources to UMI's customer base, according to a HCCP. Through the partnership, both companies aim to form new connections with ministry organizations, churches, and Christian readers.
The two-year agreement between HCCP and UMI kicked off in July 2020 with the creation and distribution of a "mag-alog," or magazine-catalog, which reached over 10,000 African American churches and church leaders. The mag-alog featured HCCP's books and Bibles that appeal to a culturally-diverse audience, and it included an excerpt from Christian hip-hop artist and author Lecrae’s new book, I Am Restored (Zondervan). Customers can order any resource from the mag-alog directly from UMI. More resources will be released as the HCCP and UMI partnership continues to unfold.
Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HCCP, said that by joining forces with UMI HCCP will be able to church denominations that it has historically underserved. "Under this partnership, we know that our books, Bibles, and curriculum will further resonate with the African American community and it is a privilege to partner with UMI to place our God-honoring, bestselling content into the hands of thousands of church congregants across the U.S.," Schoenwald said in a statement. "Together, we will surpass any milestone that either organization could accomplish separately.”
HCCP and UMI's partnership is the latest effort by publishers to diversify the Christian publishing industry.