Thomas Nelson: Growth

By 1844, Thomas Nelson’s company had grown large enough to open an office in London, under the leadership of Thomas Nelson Jr. and William Nelson. After establishing a branch in New York in 1854, the company continued to expand across the globe, opening up satellite offices in France, Germany, and Canada before expanding to Sydney and throughout the African continent.

It continued to produce inexpensive reprints of classic works, including the iconic red-and-gold Sixpenny Classics and the Shilling Library series, but the loss of Tommy Nelson, Thomas Nelson’s grandson, during World War I, as well as the bombing of the firm’s London office during World War II, crippled its operations.

Over the next two decades, the company slowly faded from the spotlight just as a young Lebanese immigrant named Sam Moore began growing his own religious publishing firm in the United States, called Royal Publishing.

Sensing an overlap in mission and values, Royal Publishing acquired Thomas Nelson in 1969 and adopted its name. Under Moore’s leadership, the company published the New King James Version in 1982 as well as influential works by leading spiritual thinkers such as Max Lucado and Sarah Young.

In 2012, HarperCollins acquired Thomas Nelson, merged it with Zondervan, and created HarperCollins Christian Publishing, which is now the largest Christian publisher in the world.