A decade later, the Christian book publishing world continues to undergo changes, but this much remains clear to Beals: readers possess an ongoing hunger to move them from where they are to where they can belong in their walk with Christ.
"In 2005, all books were done in print with a few e-books," said Beals, who operates Credo Communications and its division, Credo House Publishers, out of his home in Plainfield Township. "Today it would be hard to find a book in print that's also an e-book."
RIP printed books?
Beals refuses to sound the death knell of printed books. The demand for them seems to span the generations, he said, and that includes the traditionalists, those born between 1992-1943; baby boomers, born between 1943-1960; Gen X, born between 1960-1980; and Gen Y, or millenials, born between 1980-2001.
"Regardless of age or experience with technology, 99 percent of people would rather read a hardcover book," said Beals. "Actually e-book sales are leveling off."
The Credo Communications side of Beals' business is a literary agency that has four agents, of which he is the primary agent. Credo Communications has an average of 70 established authors that Credo Communications' agents shop for a publisher.
"What keeps my company strong is the quality of our authors and the reputation and respect we've earned from the people in the publishing industry," said Beals.
Credo House Publishers work with authors who are track to self-publishing their books, or as its more often known today as custom publishing, which are primarily in the genres of fiction, children, young adult, thoughtful nonfiction, women's issues, memoir/biography, devotional, textbooks and special formats. Beals said CHP is on track to doing 24 books this year.
New venture on the horizon
Credo Communications is developing a series of trade manuals Beals has dubbed Credo Publishing University. Beals said these books will be for both aspiring and veteran writers who want to gain an understanding of how today's publishing world operates. The books will include how to write a proposal, the benefits of self-publishing and how to contact a literary agent.
"It's almost like a writers' conference in a book," said Beals. "There's a need for aspiring authors and those who have more experience of what the publishing industry requires today and how to engage them."
Books were an early part of Beals' life. He learned to memorize Scripture when he was young, as well as a love for reading thanks in part to his father's library that held 4,000 volumes by the time he died.
He then worked for RBC Ministries' Discovery House as its managing editor from 1989-1999, but then returned to Zondervan in 1999 to work in its Bible department as an associate publisher where he stayed until 2003. That's when he went to work for the Christian relief and development organization, World Vision International, who hired him as publisher of their trade publication, a position he held until 2005.
Beals is an adjunct professional in Cornerstone University's journalism department where he teaches an introduction to book publishing and the fundamentals of editing classes.
He also is a sought-after speaker at publishing conferences. On his radar later this year, Beals will Singapore to speak to 350 people from more than 60 countries. Then in December he heads to Switzerland.
"We have so many resources in English in North America, but around the world, it's not so." said Beals.