1517 Media is realigning its trade book imprints, Fortress Press and Beaming Books, into a single publishing unit, 1517 Media-Books. It will be led by its newly-hired v-p and publisher Jill Braithwaite, formerly group marketing director at Lerner, Braithwaite who also served as director of product development for 1517 Media’s Sparkhouse Family imprint. She will report to Tim Blevins, president and CEO-elect of 1517 Media.

Bringing the trade imprints under 1517 Media-Books will “merge publishing functions to better support each independent brand in the market,” while also bringing greater efficiency to the organization as the imprints share business models, workflows, and sales channels, the publisher said in a press release.

Additionally, 1517 Media, which is the publishing arm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), is launching a new business development venture to be led by Will Bergkamp, formerly v-p and publisher at Fortress Press. In the newly created position of v-p, business development at 1517 Media, Bergkamp will be responsible for finding “creative ways” to partner with smaller religion and spirituality publishers, said Blevins.

“To thrive today, smaller publishers, especially those working in the religion and spirituality categories, need to find ways to work together,” Blevins said in a press release. “We have the resources, capacity, and commitment to work in partnership with a number of publishers to sustain their tradition of publishing.”

Partnerships with 1517 Media could include services related to printing, distribution, marketing, and publicity, according to Bergkamp. “We are in talks with peers on partnering in a variety of different ways,” he told PW, referring to “smaller publishers who have constrained resources and audiences that are shifting.”

The changes arrive just months after 1517 Media announced the rebranding of its Sparkhouse Family imprint. Other imprints at 1517 Media include Augsburg Fortress, which prints materials used in the church, and Sparkhouse, which publishes ecumenical curricula.

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