1 What's your company called?
The Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF).
2 What do you publish?
Equipping people for their faith journey has been a core strategic priority for BRF since it was founded in 1922, and a primary means for delivery continues to be through the Bible reading notes, books and other resources that BRF produces each year in print and digital forms. Our commissioning focuses on the areas of biblical engagement and application, Christian life and practice, church mission and ministry, parenting and family life, and prayer and spirituality.
3 What's the story of the company?
The BRF started in an Anglican church in Brixton, south London. The vicar, Reverend Leslie Mannering, was talking with a member of staff about the spiritual needs of the church and ways in which people could engage with the Bible. Out of this conversation a scheme of daily Bible reading notes was born.
The past 90 years have seen the BRF flourish, with new branches growing and bearing fruit, and old branches being pruned or cut as the season warranted. While we have always produced and distributed daily Bible reading notes, we are now involved in much more. We offer creative programmes and resources for individuals, churches and schools, and our work aids Christian growth and understanding of the Bible by people of all ages; church outreach through initiatives such as Messy Church, Who Let The Dads Out? and The Gift of Years; and the teaching of Christianity within primary schools, churches and homes, including our newest programme, Parenting for Faith.
4 How's business?
As with any publisher, some titles do much better than others and it can be a challenge to predict which those will be! We were delighted with the success of our Christmas Family Time mini-book, which encourages families to share what Christmas means, and which recently won the Eden Best Children’s Resource Award.
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
Being independent, and not-for-profit, frees us to focus on impact first and foremost. Our publishing works alongside our programmes and events to deliver on our charitable objective to see lives and communities transformed through the Christian faith.
6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
It’s increasingly a challenge to get one’s products noticed in such a crowded arena. Being creative and nimble are crucial to staying ahead of the game.
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
The Insiders’ Guide to Independent Publishing, compiled by IPG members, is a very helpful read, giving an overview of the different parts of the publishing operation.
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
Primarily specialist advice and access to a broad network that we can use for things like posting job vacancies. We’re aware there are so many other benefits we could be exploring—an action point for this year!