First, the Pope got a Twitter account and a Facebook page. Now, thanks to Aptara, the Vatican is making eBooks available to Catholics worldwide. Beginning in May, the Vatican and Aptara began releasing Pope Benedict’s weekly addresses, thirteen in all, in illustrated form for the iPad from Italy’s Apple store.
With this expansion in digital formats, the two thousand-year-old Church is hoping to reach out to a broader audience of readers, as well as a more digitally focused core group.
“Every new communication technology is important to the church’s missionary activity,” said Father Giuseppe Costa, CEO of Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Publishing Company of the Vatican, in a newsletter from Aptara. “And the most obvious way to reach young people today is via their mobile devices.”
There has been a lot of interest lately in fixed layout digital publishing, which allows for the same pagination as would have appeared in a print edition, and the Vatican’s ebooks use Apple’s layout in order to come through uniformly on the devices.
“The adoption of eBooks by an institution founded before Gutenberg represents a significant coming of age for publishing,” said Dev Ganesan, President and CEO of Aptara. “The Vatican has a centuries old tradition of printing. So to be the first organization to help the Church embrace digital publishing is quite an honor.”
While these titles are available from the Apple store in Italy, the Vatican is quickly working on English-language translations of the ebooks.