GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Beginner's Bible®, which has dominated the top 10 bestsellers list in the Christian industry for 20 years, has been acquired from Mission City Press by leading Christian children's publisher Zonderkidz, a division of Zondervan.
The concept for the product was first developed in 1985 and The Beginner's Bible was introduced in 1989 as a complete storybook Bible. Designed specifically for children six years and younger, The Beginner's Bible shares the life and fun of Bible stories in an engaging, entertaining and educational way. Its simple retelling of favorite Bible stories and unique style of artwork made it an instant bestseller and over the years it has become a classic. It became the first branded property in the children's religious publishing category and is widely credited with creating the children's storybook Bible category.
Zondervan first entered into a distribution agreement with Mission City Press in 1997 and has served as the exclusive publisher of The Beginner's Bible since 2004 with Zondervan's children's group, Zonderkidz, managing the publishing program. Since that time, Zonderkidz has introduced a robust product line that includes a variety of Bible storybooks as well as full text Bibles that feature art from The Beginner's Bible, children's books, devotionals, I Can Read Bible stories, Bible covers, audio products and seasonal titles, among others. In 2005, Zondervan introduced a full revision of the product, updating both the art and text. To date, over six million copies of The Beginner's Bible have sold in all editions and it is available in more than 20 languages worldwide. It has received the 2006 Retailer's Choice award by the Christian Booksellers Association in the U.S. and the 2006 Children's Nonfiction Book of the Year Award in the U.K. The entire product line of The Beginner's Bible books, Bibles and other branded products has sold more than 18 million units since the brand was first introduced.
"Zondervan has enjoyed a great partnership with Mission City Press as both organizations have long shared a common vision to bring God's Word to life to the youngest generation," said Scott Macdonald, President and CEO of Zondervan. "We are honored that Mission City Press trusts us to carry forward this wonderful brand and we intend to continue to enhance and develop it to impact more young hearts for Christ."
Tim Lyles, President of Mission City Press, added: "There are times when a highly successful past turns out to be just the warm-up for an even more astounding future. We feel that way about The Beginner's Bible -- its amazing legacy as a #1 bestseller for over 20 years was preparation for the best that is yet to come. There is no better company than Zondervan, our longtime publishing partner, to take The Beginner's Bible brand to new heights."
Zonderkidz has supported the brand by producing more than 55 different products through the years and offers an interactive website complete with on-line games, teaching resources, and product information (www.TheBeginnersBible.com). There is also a Facebook page and a Twitter account to engage consumers with The Beginner's Bible. Moving forward as owners of the brand, Zondervan intends to continue to build out The Beginner's Bible product line and has several new products planned including:
- The Beginner's Bible: Kid-Sized Devotions -- is the perfect starting point for children as they develop a stronger relationship with God through daily devotions.
- The Beginner's Bible Book of Prayers -- a great way to teach preschool age children to pray while introducing them to Scripture. Each prayer is accompanied by a suggested Bible verse to read and a character from the Bible with whom children can relate.
- Heroes of the Bible -- a treasury of five popular Old Testament Bible stories from The Beginner's Bible, I Can Read series. The hardcover edition will include a CD with the audio reading of each of the stories with a read-along signal for turning pages.
Zondervan recently released The Beginner's Bible Deluxe Edition, which features the bestselling storybook Bible accompanied by two audio CDs enhanced with compelling narration, music, and sound effects that help bring more than 90 Bible stories to life like never before.
"The Beginner's Bible is a household name and is beloved by millions of parents and children worldwide as one of the most trusted names in early religious education," said Annette Bourland, senior vice president and publisher of Zonderkidz. "We are eager to build on the strong foundation and brand Mission City Press has developed and introduce even more new products in multiple formats, all designed to share God's Word in a relevant and age appropriate manner. We have exciting things planned and look forward to sharing these with children and their families in the coming months."
Zondervan is the world's leading Bible publisher and a leading publisher of Christian books. With a vision to see more people engaging the Bible more, Zondervan offers bestselling study, devotional, reference, text, audio, software and digital Bibles designed to inspire readers at every age and each stage of life. Zondervan holds exclusive North American publishing rights to the New International Version (NIV). The most popular modern-English translation of the Bible, the NIV has more than 400 million copies in print worldwide. Zondervan also publishes Bibles in the KJV (King James Version), NIrV (New International Reader's Version), NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), NASB (New American Standard Bible), the Amplified Bible and parallel Bibles featuring The Message. During the past 75 years, Zondervan, a HarperCollins company, has grown to be a global leader in Christian communications through its bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, children's, and new media products. Visit Zondervan Bibles on the Internet at www.zondervan.com/Bibles.
Zonderkidz™, a division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imagination and innovation. As the leader in Christian children's communications, it produces bestselling and award-winning Bibles, storybook Bibles, books, board books, audio, video, and digital products that awaken the hearts and touch the souls of kids under 16 and the people who love them, from family members to educators. Zonderkidz is the publisher of the NIrV (New International Reader's Version) Bible translation, the 3rd-grade reading level edition of the NIV that is ideal for children and those who speak English as a second language. Visit Zonderkidz on the Internet at www.zonderkidz.com.