About Barbour Publishing
Since the company began as "Book Bargains" in 1981, much has happened to bring this company from a small remainder seller into a prominent Christian publisher. When Hugh Barbour began buying and reselling other publishers' excess stock, he was introducing a new concept to Christian bookstores. Soon, though, the new company began publishing its own titles, beginning with the classic allegory The Pilgrim's Progress in 1984.
With a new name, Barbour & Company, publishing operations continued with two books that Hugh Barbour says "really put us on the map" — Oswald Chambers's beloved devotional My Utmost for His Highest, and Barbour's first original title, The Bible Promise Book. Each found a ready market and, millions of copies later, remain on Barbour's best-selling backlist. Barbour & Company had found its niche: publishing Christian classics at value prices.
The Barbour mission was unique in Christian retailing, and it was beginning to take hold in Christian bookstores around the country. Through the 1990s, the company experienced phenomenal growth in sales and product line and changed its name once again, to Barbour Publishing, Inc. The years surrounding the turn of the millennium would bring almost dizzying change to the company, with new products, new relationships, and even new ownership.
In 1998, Barbour Publishing entered into a trade distribution agreement with Discovery House Publishers, the publishing arm of the Grand Rapids-based Radio Bible Class Ministries. Since DHP is the publisher of the updated edition of My Utmost for His Highest, the agreement brought a unified approach to the distribution of both the classic and updated editions of this powerful book.
After a remarkable forty-seven year career in Christian publishing (a career honored by the 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association), Hugh Barbour decided to retire. The company he had built into a thriving business was acquired by its president & CEO Tim Martins, the man he'd been grooming for leadership for several years preceding.
In 2017, Barbour Publishing became a 100% employee owned company. "A sale to an ESOP allows the company and its employees to continue to operate and grow the business" said Martins about the transition. Barbour's long-term strategy is to focus on building an ownership culture within the organization and to cultivate and train the next generation of leaders. Barbour is one of a handful of publishers who are ESOPs; others include W.W. Norton, Chelsea Green, and Gibbs Smith.
Today, Barbour's frontlist releases number more than 120 titles per year. That, coupled with nearly one thousand stock titles, allows Barbour to provide retailers around the globe with affordable and accessible Christian products for everyone. In its brief history, Barbour has shipped over one hundred million books.
Faithfulness to the Bible and Jesus Christ are the bedrock values behind every book Barbour's staff produces from its 70,000-square foot facilities in Uhrichsville, Ohio. When the company's unit sales reached fourteen million in a fiscal year, Martins commented, "I'm really excited about that figure. That's fourteen million Christian books - not fourteen million hamburgers, or fourteen million cars, or fourteen million computers. It's fourteen million books sharing the message of Christ!"
Our Mission: To inspire the world with the life-changing message of the Bible.