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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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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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November issue

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