Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hymns on line

The US Christian publishing market is significant in its size and has long been innovative with developments such as its own TV channels. The major dominions all have large publishing interests and these are complimented by major houses such as Zondervan. For many years the sector has been one of the most switched on publishing sectors in the US. We remember the Sunday Baptists, some ten years ago, offering a subscription service to sermons on demand which printed locally each week at the church. In our blog on October 23rd we wrote about Godtube and its video service Godcaster.

We have long said that religion, like travel, is a natural early digital publishing opportunity. It is often consumed in chunks, is multi dimensional and multi format and as proven by its oldest and bestselling title - will always sell to a loyal audience.

HarperCollins UK has announced the launch its online hymn offer which features some 1,800 songs. Through its website,, users will be able to search by the song number from the hymnbook, composer name or title, compile play lists and share these with friends, print lyrics, download sheet music and listen to a simple version of the song online.
The website will go live on 14th January and will feature three bestselling hymn-books; Mission Praise, Junior Praise and Carol Praise and also has a chart of the top ten most popular songs. Subscription can be as an individual or as a group and is currently discounted.

Somehow I still cherish the sight of a congregation fumbling through a well worn hymn book as they rise to their feet to sing and the odd noise of a book being dropped onto a stone floor. Pre printed sheets will not be the same, nor will the rolling autoque, or video screen, but you can never rule anything out tomorrow.