The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) has taken over the running of InterVarsity Press (IVP) in a move which SPCK said would "secure the future of IVP as the UK’s leading evangelical Christian publisher".
IVP will come under the management of SPCK and become a subsidiary charity of SPCK, however the two entities will remain distinct. The trustees of SPCK have agreed with the current IVP trustees on a "comprehensive plan to refinance IVP and ensure it is fully resourced to thrive as an evangelical Christian publisher in the digital era".
A spokesperson from SPCK told the Bookseller: "IVP is not viable as a stand-alone entity so this partnership allows IVP to maintain its conservative evangelical brand while utilising SPCK’s finance, IT and infrastructure to maximise its impact and value."
Sam Richardson, c.e.o. of SPCK, said: "IVP is currently going through a process of consultation with staff which includes looking at the future of its warehousing and distribution operations in Nottingham. As I am sure you will appreciate, it would be inappropriate for us to respond publicly to any question that could impact staff. When there are strategic decisions taken which are relevant to our customers or the public, we will discuss them as soon as it is appropriate to do so with our trade partners and the public.
"I know this is a point the trade will be desperate for more information on. What I can assure people of for now is that it will be business as usual up until at least Christmas, with IVP continuing to deliver from Nottingham the high standard of service which customers have come to expect. This applies to all the publishers IVP distributes, not just IVP."
David Vardy, chair of IVP, said: "IVP and SPCK are leading the industry in responding to seismic changes in the trade that can only be overcome through consolidation and cooperation. IVP is no longer viable as a stand-alone entity and is pleased to be able to utilise SPCK’s financial strength, state-of-the-art technology and best-of-breed infrastructure to benefit our customers, authors and the Christian community at large."
Rt Rev John Pritchard, chair of SPCK, said: "While SPCK is committed to promoting the Christian faith in all its rich diversity, in looking at our position in the marketplace it became clear to us that we had an-IVP shaped hole in our attempts to do so. IVP’s evangelical focus, which we are fully committed to retaining, is a good fit with our existing broad SPCK list. Both the SPCK and IVP imprints will retain their separate identities, and will continue their good work as charities committed to the production of quality Christian literature."
The former IVP trustees will join a new IVP Publishing Board that has been constituted to preserve IVP’s longstanding and highly respected conservative evangelical ethos. This Board will be chaired by Dr Andrew Fergusson, a current IVP trustee. IVP have said it will honour all existing distribution and representation contracts with third party publishers.
Vardy added: "I am grateful for the longstanding dedication and loyalty of the IVP staff who have made IVP what it is today. This necessary and responsible action will ensure their efforts continue for generations to come.”
Steve Apted, interim general manager of IVP who will remain in place to oversee the transition, said, “It will be business as usual for bookshops in the run up to Christmas.
It has also been announced that SPCK will represent Darton Longman and Todd (DLT) publications to the trade from next year.