Publishing to a Higher Power
“This book has also appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list for 19 consecutive weeks. [The New York Times] currently ranks ‘90 Minutes in Heaven’ as No. 6 for nonfiction paperback ...,” says Baker. “... The book ships from our warehouse at an average pace of 4,000 copies per business day.”
In 2006, 14 Baker Group titles were recognized for Christian book awards, in four distinctive competitions, according to Baker.
A somewhat unique accomplishment, the company’s first published work, “More Than Conquerors,” which was acquired by Baker’s grandfather in 1939, is still in print and actively selling.
The Religion Bandwagon
It is the nature of publishing that when larger publishers see the success that a title like “90 Minutes in Heaven” can generate, they instinctively want a piece of that pie.
“Our biggest challenge lately is to overcome the perception within the Christian-author community [that] New York publishers [are] the ideal vehicle to reach their readers. …” Baker says. “Our company has been dedicated exclusively to this task since the Great Depression, so we’re disinclined to forfeit our home territory to a larger house with fleeting or exclusively commercial interest.”
Baker Publishing Group, although at the top of their segment of the industry, finds itself constantly competing to hold on to its valuable authors.
“The rising competition in Christian book publishing is an easily predicted outcome of our visible progression; the inspirational category has developed in recent years from a quaint bookstore sideline to a central position. Therefore, we find ourselves competing for manuscripts with the largest general-interest publishers in the business,” Baker says. “Manhattan executives do not necessary now all love Jesus; they simply recognize good business opportunities when they spot them. For example, one of the finest independent Christian houses, Multnomah Publishers, went up for sale in 2006. The most determined bidder for Multnomah assets was not within the Christian publishing community. It was Random House, the largest English-language publisher in the world,” he says.