A Higher Calling
Understanding the history of both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan has also been important. The first time Schoenwald met with the Zondervan employees he referred to the fact that the company's founders, Pat and Bernie Zondervan, were an acquisitive duo, so buying and assimilating companies was part of the culture. By working with, instead of against, Thomas Nelson, their mission would become easier to fulfill.
"We don't have the Coke/Pepsi thing going on," Schoenwald remarked, "We really have the fact that people believe that there is a greater mission than them, so you can get to resolution or alignment pretty quickly."
Similar, But Different
In reality, the imprints' editorial identities have always been quite different. Zondervan Book Publishing, led by SVP and Publisher Annette Bourland, has a very strong academic program and focuses on transformational, educational and vocational resources. Meanwhile Thomas Nelson Book Publishing, under the direction of SVP and Publisher David Moberg, has a broader list that features books in the biography, business, cooking, personal finance and gift categories. Both groups publish Spanish-language books under, respectively, the Vida and Grupo Nelson brands; a wide-ranging children's list in the Zonderkidz and Tommy Nelson imprints; and fiction, where VP and Publisher of Fiction Daisy Hutton now oversees both brands' fiction lists.
Since the formation of HCCP, several new imprints have been launched or re-launched as well. In March, Thomas Nelson announced that it would restore Nelson Books and W Publishing Group as two distinct imprints focusing on nonfiction. Both had been shuttered, along with more than a dozen others, in 2007 when the company decided to only publish under the Thomas Nelson name. At the time, the strategy addressed the cost implications as well as the consumer confusion over the myriad imprints. After spending the past six years distinguishing its brand in the Christian publishing industry, the decision to reinstate these imprints was a recognition of the strength and variety of the nonfiction groups within Thomas Nelson as well as the talent of Brian Hampton, SVP and Publisher of Nelson Books, and Matt Baugher, SVP and Publisher of the W Publishing Group.