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RANDOM HOUSE GETS RELIGION WITH ITS NEW MOORINGS

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Seeking a firmer foothold in a market that has been growing considerably in the past few years, Random House has announced it will start a division devoted to Christian and inspirational books.

The division, called Moorings, is to be based in Nashville, Tenn., and is to publish some 25 to 30 hardcover and trade paperback books a year, including fiction, nonfiction, adult and juvenile titles.Moorings' new publisher, Bruce R. Barbour, said the division would produce inspirational, self-help and religious books. The Christian book business - in which books are sold in specialty bookstores and, increasingly, in mainstream bookstores as well - is growing at a rate of 12 percent to 15 percent a year, he said: "Society's looking for some fundamental answers and Christian books are a good source for those answers."

Moorings is to be part of the Ballantine Publishing Group, which is one of Random House's numerous groups and which already takes in Ballantine Books, Del Rey, Fawcett, Ivy and One World.