Each year, publishers release an estimated 500,000 to 1 million new books. Are they publishing what readers are looking for? We wanted to find out, so we asked Christian readers: "What book do you wish existed?" 

What we discovered is that even with the vast number of books in the marketplace, there are topics that Christian readers want more of or haven't been able to find. Their responses were enlightening, ranging from the niche ("Shepherding from the perspective of group motorcycle riding") to the popular ("Career discernment"). From the many submissions we received, there were five clear book trends that emerged. Read some examples of word-for-word responses alongside our synthesis of this wished-for content. We also looked back at our catalog to find books we've published in each area and to see where we may have blind spots.

Here are the topics readers want to see more of in Christian publishing in 2024: 

1. Supporting Others Through Suffering

  • "Biblical response to—and support for—trauma survivors in the church"
  • "Walking with women whose husbands are enslaved with addictions"
  • "Witnessing suffering for health care professionals"
  • "How can Christian leaders help people get out of abusive situations?"

What do we say to the friend who keeps returning to the same abusive relationship? How do we walk alongside someone struggling with addiction? How do we show up for the loved one who feels crushed under the weight of mental illness? Readers are looking for resources to help them navigate challenging situations and support the people they care about. "Caregiving is a deeply ingrained human response to suffering," Henri Nouwen writes in Hope for Caregivers. "We want to ease pain, to restore calm and peace to those in need." Often, we have the desire to help but lack the tools and knowledge to do so. Readers want books that tackle specific, difficult experiences and offer practical resources to respond.

Some Books That Engage This Topic:

Natasha Smith
A0621
Marjorie J. Thompson
A0556
Wendy Alsup
4586
Alan Noble
A0443
Terra McDaniel
A0310
Juanita Campbell Rasmus
A0382
Liuan Huska
4807
Kelly M. Kapic
5179

Browse more books on mental health and suffering or caregiving and illness.


2. Building Relationships Across Differences 

  • "Resources for pastors and workers from minority backgrounds who are trying to serve faithfully in majority spaces"
  • "More on responding to Christian Nationalism"
  • "How to engage people who say 'the bible was canonized to oppress people and/or assert political control'"
  • "Engaging modern cults"

In his book Hope Ain't a Hustle, Irwyn Ince writes, "Our current culture of contempt, with its deep divides in the American church, makes it difficult to hold on to hope." We're not only seeing stark divides in the news, but across our dinner tables, and sometimes the gap seems insurmountable. Nevertheless, readers are grasping for hope that there is a way forward to maintain and even deepen relationships with people who hold different views. As we enter another election year, it's no surprise that hot-button issues are weighing on readers' minds. However, more than just navigating issues, readers want resources to help them engage thoughtfully with people who hold vastly different views on deeply held beliefs. 

Some Books That Engage This Topic:

Bryan C. Loritts
A0597
Sarah E. Westfall
A0853
Tim Muehlhoff
4416
Jim Belcher
4764
Caleb E. Campbell
A0851
Brenda Salter McNeil
4812
Christena Cleveland
4403
MelindaJoy Mingo
4526

Browse more books on relationships or culture and society.


3. Resources for Small Church Contexts 

  • "Resources for small church leaders"
  • "Biblical pastoring and friendship in the church"
  • "Contentment in a small church"
  • "How to be a good assistant pastor"

A study by Hartford Institute for Religion Research found that as of spring 2023, median church attendance was just seventy-five people. How do we start and sustain ministry in small churches where volunteers and funds are limited? The predominance of small churches is leading some readers to seek out resources for their specific contexts, including pastoring in small towns, fundraising in minority contexts, church planting, and serving in the role of assistant pastor or worship pastor.    

Some Books That Engage This Topic:

Stephen Witmer
4155
E. K. Strawser
A0706
J.R. Briggs and Bob Hyatt
4118
Mark E. Strong
A0238
Ryan T. Hartwig and Léonce B. Crump Jr. and Warren Bird
A0568
Brad Layland
A0578
Darrell E. Hall
A0308
Michelle Ferrigno Warren
4390

Browse more books on ministering in particular contexts and how your church can engage your neighborhood.


4. Theological Books by and About Women  

  • "Women in history of the church"
  • "Academic theology product by women for women"
  • "Faithful women as witness"
  • "A book on growing women with leadership gifts"

Many Christians can quickly recount the stories of Peter or Paul, but how many can summarize Phoebe or Priscilla? In Tell Her Story, Nijay Gupta captures the stories of women who were key figures in the early church, building on something Christian readers are asking for: to learn the stories of women throughout church history. Not only do readers want to learn more about women who shaped the church in the past, they also want to engage with the academic contributions of women who are shaping Christian thought today. While the number of men enrolled in seminary still far outweighs women, the number of women pursuing seminary degrees is growing and readers want to learn from the valuable perspectives and research women bring to the table. 

Some Books That Engage This Topic:

Sandra L. Glahn
A0592
Paula Gooder
5245
Amanda W. Benckhuysen
5227
Nijay K. Gupta
A0074
Edited by Nancy Wang Yuen and Deshonna Collier-Goubil
5306
Carmen Joy Imes
A0020

Browse more books on women in church leadership or see all IVP books written by women.


5. Raising Kids Faithfully 

  • "Help for parents navigating the new world their kids are growing up in"
  • "Books for adults and kids about foster care"
  • "Empty nesting for the mom who stayed home"
  • "Christian parenting for someone raised without Christian parents"

 IVP was recently awarded a $1.25M grant through Lilly Endowment Inc.'s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative to invest in creating resources for families over the next five years. This effort (which will include a video course, audiobook, and multimedia content) aligns with the final theme that emergedparenthood in the modern era. How do we help children navigate complex social issues and deep theological questions in ways that are accessible and age-appropriate? How do we help kids through divorce? How do parents build relationships with their adult children? What about the challenge of being a single parent? Readers are looking for resources that will encourage and equip them for the daily ins and outs of parenting. They also want titles to fill their kids' bookshelves that will entertain them and form them spiritually as they grow in faith.  

Some Books That Engage This Topic:

Sarah Cowan Johnson
A0380
Cameron McAllister and Stuart McAllister
4814
Don Everts
A0790
Jasmine L. Holmes
3276
Terence Lester and Zion Lester
A0669
Roland C. Warren
A0289
Cameron Lee Small
A0704

Browse more books on family & parenting or see all children's books from IVP Kids.


sticky notes reader survey publishing trends

Over 130 sticky notes collected from invested Christian readers at a large conference

Looking Ahead in Christian Publishing

As we looked over all the ideas readers submitted, a simple theme emerged that seemed to undergird the rest—seeking to love others well. Whether it's in the face of conflict or day-to-day life, Christian readers are looking for voices that will help them show up in their communities in love and faithfulness. Listening to readers and partnering with the hard work authors are doing is essential as the Christian publishing industry moves into 2024 and beyond.