The Society of Biblical Literature has long published books, but on July 1, 2014, the society renamed its publishing program SBL Press, creating a new identity as a scholarly publishing house. The AAR/SBL conference in San Diego marks the official launch of the new press.
SBL executive director John Kutsko says SBL’s publishing program has always served its members by publishing books that would help them get tenure and other promotions, as well as contribute to the work of the academy. “But in 2013, we began to see real growth, especially in the library market,” Kutsko says, and “SBL Press will make our members’ work more visible” in the wider book market.
From 2010 to 2014, SBL publications saw nearly 30% growth in net book sales revenue. With the rebranding as SBL Press, a focused institutional strategy to libraries, and the publication of every new frontlist title simultaneously in hardcover, paperback, and digital formats—rather than only in paperback, as had been the case before—Kutsko expects to build on that growth. In 2014, SBL Press will publish 37 new titles, almost twice the number the society published in 2010.
At this year’s AAR/SBL, SBL Press will debut the first critical edition of the Hebrew Bible to follow an eclectic text-critical approach; it will also announce or release books from several new series. And demonstrating that the moderns have no corner on lustful stirrings, Peter Bing and Regina Höschele’s translation of Aristaenetus’s Erotic Letters (Apr.) or, as SBL Press likes to call it, “Fifty Shades of Greek”—in the Writings from the Greco-Roman World series has already received particular attention.