The publishing house associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Augsburg Fortress, is now operating under the name 1517 Media. The name was inspired by the year the Lutheran reformation began, 1517, and carries the tagline “Always Reforming.”
“The new name makes a clearer statement about who we are and where we’re heading,” said 1517 Media’s senior v-p and publisher Tim Blevins.
The goal of the name change was to clear up confusion about the business’s structure: the parent company had the same name as one of its publishing divisions. 1517 Media houses three units: Augsburg Fortress, which publishes resources for use by Lutheran congregations including music, books, and online services; Fortress Press, which publishes trade books, textbooks, monographs, and popular titles on theology; and Sparkhouse, which publishes ecumenical curricula. And by separating them, 1517 Media has gained some flexibility and has helped each publishing unit engage its markets more directly.
“Augsburg Fortress is a strong, venerable imprint, but we expanded our business with Sparkhouse in 2009, and it reaches a broader audience of mainline churches and general readers,” said Blevins. “We are open to the idea of exploring new markets and serving new customers, and the new [name] acts as an umbrella brand for our existing publishing brands—and potentially new imprints or brands we may launch.”
Further, renaming the parent company reflects its evolution toward developing e-books, video, apps, and online subscription services. “Today you can accurately say that we are a Christian media company that provides content to customers in whatever format is more useful to them,” said Blevins.