The first half of 1992 has been a tumultuous time for Christian book companies, highlighted by possible ownership changes at two of the largest publishers of evangelical titles, Word Inc. and the Zondervan Corporation.

Zondervan is currently mounting a management-led buyout attempt to gain independence from HarperCollins Publishers, which acquired the Grand Rapids, Michigan, company in 1988. Zondervan’s president, James Buick, told the Grand Rapids Press the buyout is meant to “return the direction and control of the company into the Christian community.”

Buick voiced no complaints about HarperCollins’s management, but said he is seeking a more secure future for Zondervan. HarperCollins is owned by newspaper magnate Rupert Murdoch.

George Craig, president and CEO of HarperCollins, also was upbeat about the buyout attempt. He said HarperCollins does not plan to offer Zondervan for general sale.

By contrast, the decision to sell Word originated with its parent company, Capital Cities/ABC. “Because the core of Capital Cities/ABC is television, radio, newspapers, and magazines, most revenues are generated through advertising sales,” said Ann Gray, president of the Diversified Publishing Group of Capital Cities/ABC. “Word is not a strategic fit for the long term.”

ABC bought Word in 1984 and merged with Capital Cities in 1986. Word president Roland Lundy also offered no complaint about the parent company. He said he expects the sale to take two or three months.

In other publishing news:

• John Van Diest left and two months later returned to Multnomah Press as publisher and interim chief operating officer. Van Diest resigned in March, and Multnomah announced it had hired Jim Burkett, Jr., as publisher. However, Van Diest returned last ...

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