With HarperCollins Christian Publishing's announcement Tuesday of the creation of HarperChristian Resources, PW asked John Raymond, v-p and publisher of the new imprint, to elaborate on its timing, goals, and potential impact.
(This email exchange has been edited for length and clarity.)
Why this massive reorganization and expansion now?
HarperChristian Resources really advances our company’s identity, internally and externally, and unifies our presence while consumers shop online and at brick and mortar retailers. This allows for buyers to realize the breadth and strength of our entire catalog of curriculum and Bible study guides, in all formats, across all authors.
Was it in the works last year but held up by the pandemic shutdown of churches, which have been primary sales targets?
Of course, COVID helped us realize this even quicker and we wanted to address the needs that so many people have had while they are at home or are not able to do the same level of connection through local churches. Due to the pandemic, the HarperChristian Resources team did have to ensure we were meeting the heavy demand for digital video needs. Throughout this experience, we were able to sharpen some of the strategies that have become front and center with our new product releases.
How does this imprint, which draws from throughout HCCP, expand -- and redefine -- the curriculum and Bible study marketplace?
In light of expanding market needs into digital streaming, we believe now is the time to make sure we focus on how to bring physical and digital formats together and really highlight video study and Bible study content for the 21st century. And the exponential growth of mobile devices to experience video and digital content presented an opportunity for us to distribute content the way people most desire.
Why the move from selling materials to study group leaders to now highlighting individual sales?
We believe this approach will allow us to serve people in new ways. This will especially come in handy when people miss scheduled times for Bible studies, small groups, classes, and even church services, offering more flexibility for personal study and growth. Our new approach of making all video content available to everyone with our new release of study guides is that people will also be able to watch it any time on any device, and as many times as they want.
How does HarperChristian Resources differentiate from the offerings of Lifeway, which is deeply invested in ongoing curriculum for Southern Baptist and other conservative evangelical churches? Is it a wider audience?
HarperChristian Resources aims to reach a broad audience of individuals or groups interested in understanding the Scriptures, cultivating spiritual growth, and living an inspired faith with Bible study and video resources. We will continue to focus on publishing content from a Christian worldview which gives us the opportunity to serve the church at-large and helps us meet the needs of people in keeping with our mission as part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.