The latest issue of Christian Retailing includes an article on the secular publisher HarperCollins’ new venture into the Christian fiction market. Through HC’s sixty-five-year-old imprint, Avon Books, the new Avon Inspire line will first feature contemporary and historical titles, and later offer suspense as well.
Launching Avon Inspire on May 8 is Tracey Bateman’s historical, Defiant Heart, first in her “Westward Hearts” series. Next comes Linda Windsor’s Wedding Bell Blues, first in her “Piper Cove Chronicles,” releasing June 26. These two are followed by titles by Lori Copeland and Lyn Cote. Defiant Heart and Wedding Bell Blues are planned for initial printings of 75,000 copies each.
Avon’s Senior Vice President and Publisher Liate Stehlik says Avon Inspire plans to release from six to ten titles a year.
Avon Inspire is partnering with HarperSanFrancisco, which it providing its editor Cynthia DeTiberio for the titles. HSF will also handle marketing the books to Christian stores. (Interesting, that HSF is doing this and not sister publisher Zondervan. They did not explain why.) HSF Deputy Publisher Mark Tauber notes, “This partnership recognizes what we have witnessed happening in the (Christian) industry over the last few years. Namely, that Christian fiction is no longer a sideline in (Christian) and general trade stores, but (it) has become a mainstay.”
Stehlik noted that Avon had noticed many general market customers were buying Christian books. The publisher sensed that this wasn’t “just a Christian thing,” but that more traditional ABA readers were also becoming fans of Christian novels.
Who wants to say a hearty Amen!?
Coral Moon blog tour continues today.