The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


From Gutenberg to Google

Church publishers face many challenges

Guttenberg to Google. That's part of the title that Beth Lewis, president and CEO of Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, uses for a speech she gives on proclaiming the gospel in the 21st century.

Photodisc stock imageThe words have a nice alliteration, but they also ring an ominous tone. The state of denominational publishing in the world of the Internet-a world in which the print publication industry is in turmoil­-is at best enormously challenging, at worst rapidly diminishing.

Look at the figures gathered by LifeWay Research in a March study done for the Protestant Church-owned Publishers Association: Unit sales for denominational publishers are down 3.5 percent from a year ago, 8 percent from five years ago and 41 percent from 10 years ago. Denominational magazines, such as The Lutheran, follow the same trend: 2.2 percent for one year, 11 percent for five, and 20 percent for 10.

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