The SBPA was formed on 19 July 1968 by a group of publishers seeking to develop the then-fledging industry. The Association has guided the development of Singapore's publishing industry over the years and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2018. The trade association has also evolved with the times, with the transition in recent years from an all-volunteer Executive Committee to the establishment of a permanent Secretariat to run activities professionally.

The Association represents the interests of Singapore publishers who are engaged in a wide range of publishing, marketing and distribution activities in both print and digital formats. From 22 member companies at its inception, the Association has grown to accommodate more than 70 members who publish in all four official languages of Singapore. 

Through the decades, the SBPA's objective has been the same, which is to develop and strengthen the book ecosystem of Singapore in partnership with other like-minded organisations.