Do you have preferred publishers?

Tim Challies conducted a survey of his readers to find out a little about their book buying habits. There’s some interesting information in the survey results, but what I found most intriguing were the results regarding which publishing houses his readers thought had high/low credibility. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that Tim’s readers rated Crossway and Banner of Truth as the publishing houses with the highest credibility, but I was a little intrigued to see how low Baker scored on that chart. And, when Tim asked which publishing house had the lowest credibility, I was a little startled to see Zondervan at the top by a wide margin, with IVP in third. I certainly wouldn’t have expected either of those to score that high (or low depending on your perspective). Tim suggested that this might have been from Zondervan’s connection to emerging/emergent authors, and one of the commenters thought it might have to do with the TNIV debacle. Still interesting results.

Two questions come to my mind from this survey. First, what does it mean for a publishing house to have “credibility”? I got the distinct impression from the comments on Tim’s site that “credibility” meant a publishing house that consistently produced books you thought were theologically sound. Is that how you would assess the credibility of a publishing house?

Second, do you have preferred publishers? Do you even notice who publishes the books that you like? If there are particular publishers that you like, which ones are they? Or, if you’ve never noticed before, just look at the books that you’ve read and enjoyed recently. Do you see any patterns?

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on May 11, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I tend to like Baker Academic, IVP, SPCK, and Zondervan. At least that is what comes to mind off the top of my head. I am sure there are others.

  2. Favorites:
    T&T Clark
    Wild Card: Prince Press for their inexpensive copies of JND Kelly and Justo Gonzalez

    Theologically Accurate (this is kinda hard/impossible to evaluate in generalities):
    All of above (with some possible exceptions in T&T Clark and SVS)
    Banner of Truth
    Some Zondervan (not an emergent fan)

    Academically Credible:
    T&T Clark
    University Presses
    (Personal Favorites are Catholic University, and Oxford)

    • Good call on T&T Clark. I was hoping someone would mention them before I had to. (Since I’ve published two books with them, it seemed a bit self-serving.) But, I really do think they’re among the better publishing houses for academic theology.

      I’ve actually been a little disappointed with Eerdmans lately. They used to be among my favorites, but they haven’t put out that much lately that really interests me. So, either they’ve changed what they’re doing, or I’ve changed what I like. One of the two.

      I wonder if anyone knows why Oxford is so much better in Bible and theology than Cambridge as a university publishing house.

  3. westernseminaryblogadministrator

    I should probably say WJK rather than SPCk b/c they print the US books. A lot of Wright, Alister McGrath, J.D.G. Dunn, etc, come from this partnership.

    • Oh, good point. I’d forgotten about the WJK connection. I was a little surprised to see that WJK wasn’t even on Challies’ list, because I’d agree that it is one of the better publishers around. Obviously, it wasn’t intended to be comprehensive, but it still seems like a pretty significant omission.

  4. By the way, that last comment is mine. I gave away my secret identity.

    • Ah, the mysterious Westernseminaryblogadministrator reveals himself. I want a cool name like that. Can I be Westernseminaryacademicdeanandthmprogramdirectorteacherguy?

  5. Wiley-Blackwell comes to mind for some of their “readings” books, and their series “Challenges in Contemporary Theology”

    Routledge is the home of the Radical Orthodoxy writings (though not all.

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