FaithWords is poised to release Philip Yancey's What Good is God? on October 19, bolstering the launch with an array of national advertising, online promotion, and social media interviews.
However, the U.S. publicity push lags behind Yancey's first related appearance—a book signing at Livraria Cultura in downtown São Paulo on September 6, the day the title released in Brazil. Ten days later, Hodder & Stoughton released the book in the United Kingdom.
Mark Carpenter, CEO of Brazilian publisher Editora Mundo Cristão, calls this "an important signpost."
"It indicates the growing importance of Christian publishing outside the U.S., particularly in emerging-market economies," said Carpenter, former chairman of Media Associates International, which supports Christian publishing worldwide.
"We're often running to catch up with American release dates," said Ian Metcalfe, publisher of Bibles and digital at Hodder & Stoughton. However, he added, "I don't think it's a big deal. There are still different markets around the world."
With 15 million in English-language sales alone for Yancey's 20-plus books, the significance of debuting his latest outside the English-speaking world isn't lost on the 60-year-old author. He sees growth in titles from other nations as well.
"Christianity is a global concern now, and publishers in Korea, Brazil, and other large markets got tired of just reprinting American books," Yancey said. "They work at cultivating their own writers."
The first printings of Yancey's latest show that America's influence still dominates Christian publishing. Brazil and UK publishers scheduled initial releases of 10,000 copies each. South Korea's ChungRim Publishing planned 5,000 for its October 19 Yancey premiere. By contrast, FaithWords has been considering a first printing of up to 200,000.
The overseas activity could create a two-way street over time. Yet while authors such as Swedish Stieg Larsson, Brazilian Paul Coelho, and Italian Umberto Eco have found success in the U.S., few translations have landed at Christian houses. Carpenter said his Brazilian company more commonly sells reprint rights elsewhere around the world.
"The American book market is one of the world's most provincial," Carpenter said. "Thus, American publishing houses have not invested in worldwide editorial acquisitions."
"I don't think it's a one-way street," Metcalfe said. "But it can seem like that at times. Obviously the U.S. has contributed a lot to the world. Maybe we're coming to a point where we can contribute something back as well."
Copyright © 2010 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Philip Yancey written extensively for Christianity Today. Recent pieces include:
'O, Evangelicos!' | We need not abandon our name—just live up to it. (November 18, 2009)
Found in Space | How C. S. Lewis has shaped my faith and writing. (July 22, 2008)
Where Was God on 9/11? | Reflections from Ground Zero and beyond. (October 1, 2001)
Neat! Way Cool! Awesome! | Artists like to have their work admired. That is why we worship. (April 7, 1997)
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