We Support Christian Publishing Houses but Whom do They Support?

Businesses are in business to make money, to turn a profit. That’s the model for them all right? What about Christian publishing houses? Tyndale, Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, etc…? There are a few different business models that Bible publishers operate with:

 

  • Zondervan is for-profit and owned by Harper Collins, owned by the News Corporation, controlled by Rupert Murdoch
  • Thomas Nelson is for-profit and privately owned by InterMedia_Partners (they are now owned by News Corp)
  • Tyndale is for-profit and is owned by the Tyndale Foundation. See this Q&A with Mark Taylor (scroll down) to read his thoughts on the Tyndale Foundation. (Here). You may be able to find out more by just googling “the Tyndale Foundation” See the copyright page of any NLT Bible for the official language about proceeds of the NLT.
  • Most of the other smaller publishers are not-for-profit. This is fantastic, though the fact that they’re not generating profits doesn’t necessarily translate to savings for the person buying a Bible.

The first thing we must ask ourselves is whether or not for-profit means pro-profit.

As many of you know, I am a fan of the New Living Translation, but the more I read of Tyndale’s commitment to bible translations in remote parts of the world, I become a bigger fan of Tyndale.

From the above link:

Most of today’s leading Bible publishers are for-profit companies who exist to make money for the shareholders. Where does the money from sales of NLT products (including the NLT Study Bible) go, and what difference do you think that makes in how Tyndale approaches the publication and distribution of Bible products?

In 2001 my parents gave most of the stock of Tyndale House Publishers to the Tyndale House Foundation. So we are
a tax-paying company owned by a not-for-profit foundation. The company pays royalties to the Foundation for every
NLT Bible that we sell, and the company also pays dividends to the Foundation to help support its program of making
grants to other charities all around the world. (In 2008, the Foundation will make grants totaling $4.6 million.) In this
way, we fulfill our corporate purpose both by the products we publish and by helping other ministries do what they do
best. It’s the best of all worlds!

Can you give us some examples of the kind of work the Tyndale Foundation supports?

We have a broad list of organizations to whom we make grants. For example, each year we make a major gift to The
Seed Company, an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators that trains people from minority languages to translate the
Bible into their own language. We also support various Christian social service agencies here in the Chicago area—
and everything in between!

Some information on what Tyndale does with the money that you and I spend on these new bibles:

Funding Limitations:

The Tyndale House Foundation has no funding limitations, except that they do not offer financial gifts to libraries and other building endowments.

Total Annual Giving:

$3,641,500

Average Number of Requests & Grants Per Year:

170

Average Grant Range :

$5,000-$25,000

Areas of Interest Description:

The Tyndale House Foundation is interested in Christian and Protestant agencies and religious federated giving programs. The foundation is dedicated to spreading the gospel internationally through Christian literature projects, including Bible translations, and other projects nationally and abroad.

Application Procedures:

All interested applicants should first contact the Tyndale House Foundation via phone or mail. They should then send ten copies of their proposal to the above address by December 31.

Selected Grants:

$20,000 to Christian Leaders for Africa, $15,000 to the Christian Literature Campaign, $5,000 to Good News Partners, $15,000 to Overseas Tribal Services

Guidestar/Form 990 Link:
http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2006/362/555/2006-362555516-0315f99c-F.pdf

Why am I focused on Tyndale in this article? Because, I recommend the NLT (Study Bible and Mosaic), and there has been questions in my own mind, and from some of you, concerning the nature of publishing. I simply do not want to support something, or recommend something to anyone, even to one person, and find that I have erred in some way. Yes, Tyndale publishes more than just bibles or biblical study materials. Such things as the Chuck Norris fact book doesn’t seem comparable to the NLT Mosaic, but dear readers, I can better understand the wide variety of publishing when I see that they give a lot of money to what we might term mission work.

Frankly, I feel pretty good about buying and recommending bibles from Tyndale, knowing some of my money actually going to helping others – not as a gimmick or a campaign, but as part of the daily routine. It is not trumpeted from the roof tops, but every copy of the NLT printed by Tyndale contains the following statement on the copyright page:

Tyndale House Publishers and Wycliffe Bible Translators share the vision for an understandable, accurate translation of the Bible for every person in the world. Each sale of the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, benefits Wycliffe Bible Translators. Wycliffe is working with partners around the world to accomplish Vision 2025—an initiative to start a Bible translation program in every language group that needs it by the year 2025.

I’ll continue my support and recommendation for the NLT and Tyndale, first because of the Translation, and second, because I feel that it is the Christian duty to support bringing the word of God to others.