Baker Book House has signed a letter of intent to acquire Bethany Fellowship International's book publishing division, Bethany House Publishers. The sale is expected to be completed early in 2003.

Bethany has a backlist of about 1,200 titles, publishing adult fiction and nonfiction as well as a young adult/children's list. It is best known for its Christian romance novels by such authors as Janette Oke. The sale of the book group follows a strategic "re-visioning" process that determined that the organization could be most effective by devoting its resources to its missionary operations. Profits from the book group have gone to support Bethany's missionary work. David Hicks, president of Bethany Fellowship, said the sale will allow Bethany "to be even more focused on missionary training and sending, both on our Minneapolis campus and around the world." Bethany's printing division, Bethany Press International, is not part of the sale.

After the sale is completed, Baker Book House will maintain Bethany as an imprint, said Baker Book president Dwight Baker. "It's a valuable imprint that is well regarded. We hope to build on its success," Baker said. The company plans to maintain an editorial and marketing office in Bloomington, Minn., although warehouse and fulfillment will be moved to Baker Book's Grand Rapids, Mich., facility.