BOOKS: Fiction marks a first-printing milestone; heavenly nonfiction still tops

Nonfiction titles including new release To Heaven and Back by Dr. Mary C. Neal (WaterBrook Press) and 2010 title Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo (Thomas Nelson) continued their heavenly sales in 2012.

Jesus Calling by missionary Sarah Young remained strong on best-seller lists, leading the way for her new devotional title, Jesus Today(both Nelson).

Thomas Nelson drew media attention in a different way upon choosing to pull David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies from publication after it reachedNew York Times best-seller status. The decision was made after alleged historical inaccuracies came to light.

Pastor Rick Warren tailored his top book for a generation of readers who were too young to read it when it was first published. In November, Zondervan released The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the original release.

New nonfiction imprints added by publishers this year include Tyndale Momentum (Tyndale House Publishers), Passio (Charisma House Book Group), Jericho Books (Hachette Book Group), Convergent Books (Crown Publishing Group), and Praxis and Crescendo (InterVarsity Press).

Mid-year, Zondervan announced Zondervan First, its new direct-to-digital imprint. Starting with fiction, the imprint’s first title was Love in Three-Quarter Time by Dina L. Sleiman.

In other fiction news, fan favorite Dee Henderson was back with her first novel in six years, Full Disclosure, under new publisher Bethany House, and author William P. Young put pen to paper for his second work of fiction, Cross Roads. After multi-millions of copies sold of The Shack, FaithWords is taking the new novel to the bank with a phenomenal 1 million-copy first printing.

The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn is seeing big sales for FrontLine (Charisma House Book Group)—700,000 and counting—making the Messianic rabbi a New York Times best-selling author with a prophetic message for America.

Lynn Austin continues to shine as one of the industry’s top fiction authors, winning her eighth Christy for Wonderland Creek (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group).

Anne Elisabeth Stengl took home the Visionary award for Veiled Rose (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group) after winning the First Novel category last year—a first in Christy Award history.

Amish fiction remained a stalwart category with names like Beverly Lewis, Wanda E. Brunstetter and Cindy Woodsmall still pleasing fans, and Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould winning the Christy Awards’ Contemporary Series category with The Amish Midwife (Harvest House Publishers).

Leading up to Christmas, Howard Books celebrated sales from Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge, a heartwarming tale with the winning combination of a second chance at love and a community pulling together to save a historic Tennessee bookstore after a major flood.

Among the year’s new or continuing top sellers were several from Zondervan—Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman, Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp; Grace by Max Lucado and Nearing Home by Billy Graham, both from Nelson; Crazy Loveby Francis Chan from David C Cook; and perennial best-seller The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman from Northfield Publishing.