Total sales at Thomas Nelson for the six months ended September 30, 1998, rose 2.7%, to $126.4 million, and net income inched ahead 0.8%, to $5.6 million. The sales increase was due to a 10.7% increase in Nelson's gift division, while sales in its publishing operation fell 2.3%, to approximately $73 million.

Nelson chairman Sam Moore attributed the drop in publishing income to the loss of $3 million in revenue from several discontinued book distribution agreements. According to the company's 10-Q, Nelson d s not intend to enter into any major distribution agreements in the near future. The loss in distribution revenue offset double-digit gains in Nelson's children's division. Moore said he expects Nelson to have a stronger second half of fiscal 1999, due in part to the release of several tie-in products from the DreamWorks movie The Prince of Egypt, which is set for December release.