LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska Press will purchase the nearly 250-title inventory of the Jewish Publication Society, which bills itself as the oldest publisher of Jewish books in the United States.
The Nebraska board of regents approved the $610,000 purchase at its Friday meeting, clearing the way for Nebraska Press to publish and market all current and future books by the Philadelphia-based society, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (bit.ly/qOgkFN).
Nebraska Press director Donna Shear said the deal will allow the society to continue to find and develop new titles but with the Nebraska Press taking over publication.
“We’re basically going to be taking over the process from manuscript publication through distribution and sales,” she said. “They will develop the content, but we will handle the rest of the process.”
Rabbi Barry Schwartz, the society’s chief executive officer, said it, like many small independent publishers, has struggled in recent years to continue to publish its inventory of titles and has been looking to partner with a university press.
“We primarily looked at university partnerships because we’re an academically oriented press dedicated to scholarship,” he said.
Schwartz said Nebraska Press was selected because of its already-strong inventory of Jewish books.
Nebraska Press owns nearly 3,000 titles and publishes about 150 a year. It owns about 50 Jewish studies titles and publishes four a year.
“We really feel that the University of Nebraska Press, which has had award-winning volumes in Judaic Studies, will benefit from this association,” Schwartz said. “It will make the University of Nebraska Press a leader in the field.”
The 123-year-old Jewish Publication Society sells more than 50,000 copies of the Jewish Bible each year, accounting for about half its sales, Schwartz said. That Bible is among the titles being acquired by Nebraska Press.
Shear said the society’s annual revenue is between $1 million and $1.5 million.