WASHINGTON (January 30, 2007)—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, through its Publishing office, reports that 2006 was an extremely successful year for getting the bishops' message out to the widest possible number of people through various printed resources.
Statistics from USCCB Publishing indicate that the two most widely distributed titles in 2006, the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, with combined distribution of over 250,000 copies, were key to achieving this level of distribution.
"Because of the wide interest in books like the Compendium of the Catechism and the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, the bishops continue to reach more and more Catholic leaders and people in the pews with their resources," said Paul Henderson, executive director of USCCB Publishing.
Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical God Is Love along with the other top 2006 titles reflect some of the key issues facing the Church and the country: Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care; A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death; Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal (the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People); and The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Henderson emphasized that the successes of 2006 were possible because of the quality of the text developed by the bishops and the close working relationships with various offices at the
Conference and other publishing partners. "The level of distribution was also achieved through
the cooperative relationships that USCCB has with other publishers who serve as distributors for works like the Compendium and the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults," he said.
Four of USCCB's shorter titles demonstrate the depth and staying power of the bishops' message over time. Prayer for Peace and To Be a Christian Steward continue to expand the bishops' reach as both titles achieved or nearly achieved the 1.5 million distribution mark during 2006. Two other titles, Challenge of Faithful Citizenship and Themes from Catholic Social Teaching, reached distribution totals in excess of 800,000 and 700,000 respectively.
USCCB also seems to be holding its own in the field of new media. The New American Bible podcast was in the top 25 Christian podcasts on iTunes last month. Internet and Email activity are also on the upswing for USCCB Publishing with 11.0% of 2006 sales coming through Publishing's Web site (www.usccbpublishing.org). Since December, 2005, there has been a 35.6% increase in total unique visitors, a 42.8% increase in repeat sessions, a 227.6% increase in sales based on number of orders, and a 210.6% increase based on actual dollars spent.
As an office of the U.S. Bishops' Conference, USCCB Publishing supports the bishops' mission to teach and evangelize by distributing resources to a broad number of people, especially those in parishes and dioceses, and helping Catholics learn more about their faith.