Doing Business for Generations– Eerdmans Publishing

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Anita Eerdmans of Eerdmans Publishing Company In 1911, the book publisher began as the Eerdmans- Sevensma Company, a dealership specializing in theological textbooks that was started by William Eerdmans Sr. and Brant Sevensma.

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Ccompany may not have a vast array of candy on display, but the 113-year-old company has published books upon books, yet had only three presidents in all that time. William Eerdmans Sr. started the company in 1911 with a fellow businessman, specializing in theological textbooks. In 1922, Eerdmans bought out his partner and continued to publish theological texts often printed in Dutch.

He died in 1966, with his son Bill Eerdmans Jr. taking over
and beginning to publish books on politics, current issues, and cultural criticism in English. Anita Eerdmans, Bill Jr.’s wife, became president in 2014 when he stepped down and she continues to lead the company today. Eerdmans is one of several Christian publishers in Grand Rapids, two of which—Baker Publishing Group and Kregel Publications—remain family owned.

“I think of Eerdmans as the granddaddy of Christian publishing in Grand Rapids,” said Anita Eerdmans. “While we are by no means the biggest Christian publisher here, we like to think that our brand of fiercely independent publishing, which is possible in a family business, has an important place in local publishing and in the wider world of publishing and the academy.”

Eerdmans sees only good things in the future, citing upcoming books in the academic/scholarly arena, more trade titles, and a vibrant children’s publishing program. Two titles in the Eerdmans Books for Young Readers line were in the ten titles on the New York Times Best Illustrated Books for 2023.

“We still publish a wide range of authors from across the political and religious spectrum, in keeping with our longstanding goal of being a forum for responsible ideas,” said Eerdmans.

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