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What's Not Coming to a Bookstore Near You

How competition to publish celebrity Christians crowds out theology.

Having recently entered the publishing fray, I read with interest Mark Taylor's article, "The Values and Perils of Competition," for the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. (Thanks to Justin Taylor and Al Hsu for linking the article.) Mark Taylor, president of Tyndale House Publishers, bemoans the effects of competition on his industry. It seems agents and large royalty payments, commonplace in the wider publishing world, have become the new reality for Christian publishers.

Taylor explains the process. An agent approaches the publisher with a can't-miss book proposal by a big-name Christian author. The publisher likes the idea. The agent lets the publisher know that other houses want the book. This project demands a serious advance. Perhaps against better judgment, the publisher bites.

"So we get the deal," Taylor writes. "We pay the advance. The manuscript comes in. We begin to wonder why we paid so much for this average manuscript. We edit ...

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