For the first time in the 30-year history of the Christian Book Awards, a Bible and an audio product has won the highest honor.
On Sunday, during the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Orlando, Fla., the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) announced the six category winners of the annual awards as well as the "Christian Book of the Year," which this year went to The Word of Promise New Testament Audio Bible.
"The amazing thing is that it is the first time in the 30-year history of the award that it went to a non-book. First, it's audio rather than print. Second, it's a Bible rather than a book," commented Michael Hyatt, president and CEO of Thomas Nelson, Inc., which published the audio Bible. "This is a break-through in every sense of that word. I am so proud of our whole Bible team. "
The Word of Promise features the talents of over 120 actors – including Jim Caviezel ("The Passion of the Christ"), Academy Award winners Richard Dreyfuss and Marisa Tomei, and Christian music stars Michael W. Smith and Rebecca St. James – in a scripted dramatization of the New King James Version of the New Testament.
In addition to featuring a star-studded voice crew, The Word of Promise also includes an original musical score by award winning composer Stefano Mainetti and movie-quality sound effects produced, engineered, and mixed at Cerny American Creative in Chicago – an award-winning facility ranked in the Top 3 in the nation for sound design headed by the acclaimed director JoBe Cerny.
"Three years ago, we began a series of rule changes to factor in both the quality of the nominees and the sales," ECPA President Mark Kuyper told USA Today, "so we know that our overall winner is one that connected strongly with consumers, too."
The "Christian Book of the Year" is chosen from the 32 Christian Book Award finalists, across six categories, using both independent judging criteria (measuring overall excellence) and sales data (reflecting consumer impact). This year, retailers reportedly judged 245 nominees in 31 categories on the impact they have had on store staff and customers, including their ability to speak to hearts and evoke emotion, open minds to new ways of thinking and encourage and affirm Christ-like living.
Established in 1978 as the Gold Medallion Book Awards, the Christian Book Awards recognize the absolute highest quality in Christian books.
The Six Category Winners for the 2008 Christian Book Awards are:
Bibles Discover God Study Bible (Tyndale House Publishers)
Bible Reference & Study An Old Testament Theology by Bruce K. Waltke (Zondervan)
Children & Youth Teen Virtue: Confidential by Vicki Courtney (B&H Publishing)
Christian Life When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg (Zondervan)
Fiction In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols (Bethany House / Baker Publishing Group)
Inspiration & Gift Step into the Bible by Ruth Graham (Zondervan)