July 20 – July 27, 2006 Edition

Random House

May Acquire

Christian Publisher

NEW YORK, NY/7/17/06—Oregon-based Multnomah Publishers, a Christian press headed by Don Jacobson as president and publisher, has been placed up for sale and rumors say Random House may be a likely buyer. An announcement is expected by the end of July.

WaterBrook Press, a Colorado-based division of Random House, is the likely unit under which Multnomah would be absorbed. WaterBrook publisher Steve Cobb would not comment to the media about a sale, but Cobb told Publisher’s Weekly that religious publishing continues to be an important and growing commitment for Random House. According to PW, Bantam Doubleday Dell (before it bought Random House) tried to acquire Multnomah (then known as Questar Publishers) in the early 1990s.

In 2001, Multnomah sold more than 8 million copies of The Prayer of Jabez, but heavy returns forced the company to reduce staff and title output. Despite the downsizing, the company remains a viable publisher in the Christian market with a lucrative backlist of more than 600 titles and publishes aobut 100 new releases per year, both fiction and nonfiction. While Multnomah has been selling off rights to some of its lead authors, its list of popular Christian authors includes James and Shirley Dobson, Bruce Wilkinson, Randy Alcorn, Andy Stanley and Joni Eareckson, and Lisa Whelchel. Spiritual themes for the books range from current issues to Christian living and adult fiction.