From time to time, I receive an email or a query via Facebook or Twitter about why a “particular” title isn’t available in a digital format. Sometimes the answer has to do with copyright restrictions. Sometimes it has to do with our track record of selling digital content in a particular arena. But, in general, we lead publishers, especially denominational publishers in the delivery of content via a variety of digital means along with our traditional ink-on-paper formats.
I just received some updated information on our eBooks, for example, from my Fortress Press sales and marketing colleague, Joe Riley. Here are the latest stats on our delivery of Fortress Press content via a variety of eBook formats:
Amazon Kindle = 1350 Fortress Press titles
Google editions= 1300 Fortress Press titles
B&N Nook = ~1000 Fortress Press titles
Apple = 2oo+ Fortress Press titles
And, these numbers grow almost every week as we continue to add newly published books to these publishing partners’ platforms.
In addition, approximately 1100 of our Fortress Press books are available via POD (print on demand). This allows us to publish titles that are specialized and would not be financially viable through traditional print runs and inventory investment. In addition, it allows us to keep some titles “in print” and available for readers and scholars long past when they would have been available were this technology not available to us.
In addition, we now have an interactive digital catalog available to help you find interesting new books from Fortress Press!
But, that’s just Fortress Press! We also use a variety of digital delivery solutions for worship and music resources from Augsburg Fortress and faith formation resources from sparkhouse!
Since 2005, we have been providing outstanding worship planning resources through SundaysandSeasons.com subscriptions. Now, church musicians also have the opportunity to discover new music from a variety of publishers and incorporate these hymns into their worship plans through PreludeMusicPlanner.org Watch for some more innovative new web-based subscription resources for worship and music leaders coming in 2014!
And, since 2005, pastors teaching confirmation have found our web-based subscription resource, HereWeStandConfirmation.org, an invaluable help for teaching Lutheran confirmation students. Over the past few years, Sunday School teachers and administrators across North America have enjoyed the many helpful classroom management features and content of Spark OnLine. If you love Spark OnLine, you’ll want to watch our sparkhouse website or monitor our sparkhouse Facebook page in 2014…something new and very exciting is coming! Stay tuned!
Another type of digital content in which we have been investing is video content, especially for faith formation. You can see samples of both the video and print resources we offer for children, youth and adults on our sparkhouse website. In fact, these are complete sample lessons (the complete learner resource, leader resource and one video clip) so that you can try out these resources in your classes or small groups before purchasing them! We also have three YouTube channels with video content. One each for Augsburg Fortress, sparkhouse and Fortress Press! One of the newest videos uploaded earlier this week to the Fortress Press YouTube page is a demo video of our forthcoming Fortress Press Inkling Interactive Textbooks! (I think I want to go back to school!)
One of the pieces of feedback we have heard from congregational leaders is that sometimes they like to adapt a particular lesson for a “non-traditional” faith formation setting, such as Holy Moly videos in Wednesday night Advent or Lenten worship services, or a re:form video at the beginning of a church council or vestry meeting, or an animate.bible video in a “beer and theology” gathering of young adults at a local pub using an iPad. We now make this type of non-traditional use simple, quick and inexpensive with our a la carte offerings of individual lessons available to download from our website and use immediately!
Beyond these resources, we use webinar technology to offer free 45-60 minute teaching and learning opportunities on topics related to faith formation, worship and music. There are several different topics offered every week, both during the day and evenings, to meet the needs of our busy customers. I even personally used this webinar technology last week to teach Dr. Susan McArver’s Christian Education class at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary!
In addition, our music colleagues are creatively using video clips on YouTube as free virtual music reading sessions! And our new worship education resource, Leading Worship Matters: A Sourcebook for Preparing Worship Leaders, includes video lessons on a variety of topics including Altar Guild, Acolytes, and many others.
Another very popular free resource is our annual downloadable Little Red Book calendar!
And, we are active users of social media to build community among those who use our resources, both with us and with one another. We also love to hear your stories and see photos via social media of how the resources we create are being effectively used in a wide range of settings. Or, of course, if you have a question or a concern, we are happy to hear from you via social media, by email or phone!
We will continue to experiment with new means and methods of delivering resources to congregations, individuals and higher education! We’re having fun testing, learning and adapting! And, I’m very proud of my colleagues who are always stretching to find new ways to proclaim the Gospel!
Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO