Todd Starowitz, Sr. Public Relations Manager
Maggie Rowe, Sr. Publicist
Carol Stream, Ill. – Tyndale House Publishers, one of the world’s largest privately held Christian publishers, is celebrating its golden anniversary in 2012. Founded by Kenneth Taylor in 1962 with the publication of Living Letters, Tyndale publishes an extensive line of Bibles and Christian fiction and nonfiction titles, including many New York Times bestsellers. As a corporation owned by the Tyndale House Foundation, the company continues to operate under the mission statement first spelled out by Tyndale executives more than 30 years ago: To minister to the spiritual needs of people, primarily through literature consistent with biblical principles.
Mark D. Taylor, Tyndale’s president since 1984, comments, “As we celebrate Tyndale House’s 50th anniversary, it gives us an opportunity to look back at all that has been accomplished. We have worked with thousands of wonderful authors. Many hundreds of faithful employees have been on our team. We have published untold millions of copies of books and Bibles. Through it all, we have attempted to be faithful to our mission. And now our challenge is to stay true to that mission as we move forward into an ever-changing world.”
Tyndale has developed a 50th anniversary landing page that will serve as a central place to collect and showcase the company’s rich history. It will also feature a virtual birthday card where friends of Tyndale can share their greetings or upload a picture or video. The publisher is also compiling a commemorative gift book, The Tyndale House 50th Anniversary Reader, as a limited edition for private distribution to employees, key retailers, and industry leaders.
Tyndale’s celebration will officially begin with a special Founder’s Day event for its employees on Thursday, May 3. The company is also building a reading-themed float for the Independence Day parades in Wheaton and Glen Ellyn, Ill. President Mark Taylor will deliver a special 50th anniversary presentation for the members’ luncheon at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Orlando, Fla., on July 16.
Tyndale House Publishers was established as a for-profit business, but Ken Taylor never intended to profit personally from the business. By 1962, he had labored for seven years in writing and rewriting a little book called Living Letters, which was a paraphrase of the New Testament epistles. He submitted the manuscript to a handful of established publishers, but when no one else caught his vision for this easy-to-read version of St. Paul’s letters, Taylor and his wife, Margaret, took a leap of faith and published it themselves. They named the fledgling company in honor of William Tyndale, who had translated the New Testament into English in the 1520s. Tyndale House Publishers was launched from the Taylors’ old farmhouse on the outskirts of Wheaton, Ill.
Ken and Margaret Taylor had ten children and little money, so the company was started with no capital. The first 2,000 copies of Living Letters was printed by Lithocolor Press, whose owner, Paul Benson, told Taylor, “Pay me when your books sell.” Living Letters got off to a slow start until it was endorsed by Billy Graham in 1963. That same year, the Taylors founded the nonprofit Tyndale House Foundation and channeled the royalties from Living Letters (and later The Living Bible and the Holy Bible, New Living Translation) into the Foundation.
Tyndale’s extensive history of publishing “regular” Christian books began in 1966 with the launch of Sprit-Controlled Temperament by Tim LaHaye. LaHaye’s book went on to sell more than one million copies and is still in print today. LaHaye and coauthor Jerry Jenkins later created the phenomenally successful Left Behind series of apocalyptic novels, which to date have sold more than 63 million copies.
During the first nine years of Tyndale’s history, Ken Taylor continued paraphrasing the text of the Bible. Living Letters was followed by Living Prophecies in 1965 and The Living New Testament in 1967. Finally, The Living Bible was launched in 1971. According to Publishers Weekly, it was the bestselling book in the United States from 1972 to 1974. The Living Bible was published in many different editions and binding styles, including a popular youth edition called The Way and a study edition called the Life Application Bible.
In 2001, the Taylors donated the publishing company to Tyndale House Foundation. Over the years, the Foundation has donated more than $147 million (in 2012 dollars) as grants to Christian missions and other charities around the world.
To learn more about Tyndale House Publishers, visit www.tyndale.com/50th.
To schedule an interview with Mark Taylor, Tyndale president and CEO, contact Todd Starowitz, senior public relations manager, at email@example.com or (630) 784-5397.
Tyndale House Publishers, founded in 1962, is one of the world’s largest privately held Christian publishers of books, Bibles, and digital media. Tyndale is the publisher of many New York Times bestsellers and contributes its dividends and a portion of its profits to the nonprofit Tyndale House Foundation, which makes grants to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of people around the world. Originally founded to publish Living Letters, Tyndale House later released The Living Bible, a contemporary paraphrase that became a global publishing phenomenon. Tyndale now publishes the Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT), the translation of choice for millions of people.