Brand Profile: Religious Imprint Arch Books

There are many well-known religious publishing brands, both denominational and for-profit. Thomas Nelson and Zondervan are some of the best-known among the for-profits. Zondervan’s sister imprint HarperOne, publisher of Rob Bell’s bestseller Love Wins, continues a long tradition of religious publishing at the old Harper & Row.

Of the strong denominational publishing brands are Abingdon Press and Cokesbury (United Methodist), Seabury Books (Episcopal), Lifeway (Southern Baptist) and Westminster John Knox (Presbyterian USA). Of course there are many others, but these are some of the best-known. (Interestingly, Lifeway isn’t just publishing, but also runs camps.)

One of my favorite religious publishing brands is the children’s imprint Arch Books, part of Concordia, the publishing arm of The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. I can recall Arch Books from the late 1960s and early 1960s. There were a number of notable things about them. First, they were hip with their graphics. The artwork was good, and it was current without being trendy. Today, you can look at one of the covers or artwork and it looks fresh, not dated.

The other part of what makes the series great is the way it tells stories. The words used are appropriate for the early reader in the kindergarten through second grade. The stories move along quickly, and the colors in the illustrations are cleverly thought out. Pictured here is The Rich Fool, with copyright date of 1964. The edition I have was priced at 35 cents in 1969. It tells the story of Luke 12:16-21. Another favorite of mine is The Silly Skyscraper, which tells the story of the Tower of Babel.

The logo is memorable, a riff on the then-new Arch of St. Louis. Today, the series is as popular as ever; last Sunday I saw a few in the pew in front of me that a parent had brought into church.

What are some other memorable church publishing brands?

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