hello. welcome to "mosaic." we begin today with two quotations. only god knows the good that can come about from reading one good catholic book. the other is from st. jerome the scholar and priest who translated the bible into latin in the fourth century. he said when we pray we speak to god. when we read god speaks to us. that makes a good introduction
into our topic today. which is catholic publishing. we have two people with us today who work in our city. san francisco is home to a highly respected publishing house called ignatius press. it has grown into one of the largest publishers in the country with catholic books and communication. we'll take a brief break and join us afterward to learn more about catholic reading and writing.
>> welcome back. mary you are a marketing assistant. >> correct. >> they say publishing is dying. you are isn't dying. you are living proof publishing is doing well. why don't you tell us about yourself and what you do at the company. >> i wear a couple of different hats. i'm a developmental editor. which means books that need a little bit of help, i try to help. i review copy editing and proofreading done by other editors and help move books through the production process. then we have an acquisitions team and i serve on that. we review manuscripts to see which we would like to publish. >> these manuscripts come from? >> all over. writers submit them unsolicited. other publishers send us works done in other languages and other countries to see if we want to do an english edition.
some people send us out of print books and say why don't you bring this back into print? >> there is a large number of people interested in what you are doing. >> oh, yes. >> you are the marketing assistant. >> correct. >> marketing is a challenge in this day with so many products competing for attention. >> getting attention for your products is a challenge as well as dealing with how quickly marketing needs changes in this day and age with technology. in the catholic world we maybe don't keep up as quickly with everybody else. so it is a little bit -- you can be a little bit slower on that take, which is nice. we are on facebook. we do facebook live videos. everything that we can do to reach our audience. >> if somebody going to your
ignatius press.com website there is an endless catalog of things. not only books but other products. tell me about those products. >> as you said it is a wide range of things. everything from scholary works done by theologians to popular works, conversion stories. we even publish novels. we have a children's department. we do children's books from toddlers to teens. we have catechism we sell mostly to schools. it is a big range of products. >> you have video products. you have musical cd's, movies. >> yes. we don't produce these so much as licensed to sell them. we have though, helped some upcoming movie makers with some money to get their project started. yes, we have quite a library
now of film products. >> your offices are in san francisco. >> the main office is in san francisco. but we do have private contractors who work for the company all over the country. and our printer and typesetters are also in other states. >> what is the word on print publishing? are we heading upward? are more books being printed and published or fewer boxes? >> there has been a contraction in the publishing industry. publishing houses have down sized, outsourced and we know book stores are closing. then again, amazon continues to steam ahead selling books by the millions. in fact they sell a number of our books. so i think it is a mixed bag.
on one hand people are obtaining information by a lot of other means, digital means, internet, on their phones and so on. at the same token there is a nostalgia for books. used bookstores are popping up in san francisco. you can see hipsters hanging out in real bookstores reading real books. i think the jury is still out on what is going to happen to the printed book. >> i think the layperson is well aware the local barnes and noble closed and borders isn't there. you are looking online for your books. if you ride the bart train to work, ten to 15 years ago everybody had a face in a paper back book. now everybody has their face in a mobile device. you never know what they are reading. >> studies are showing
eyestrain of reading electric devices and retention of what one has read off of a electric device books have a superiority. people may return to books even for the reasons they are not driving my eyes crazy. >> mary, you are young. you are of the digital generation. do you prefer a book in your hand? >> i do. a number of my friends mentioned they switched from e book readers to typical books because they were not remembering what they read. sales show there has been a decline in ebook sales recently. it shows people who do reading maybe reading is going down slightly in general. people who read books are going back to physical books over electric books. >> there are stores like half
price books that take your used books and sell them back to people for a dollar. maybe there is a large marketing developing for that. you would know far better than i. that would reassure me that people like books again. i like books and i don't have a kindle for sure. i imagine all your books are in digital format. >> all the new titles. we are trying to get the back list in digital format. >> when we come back we'll talk about your back list and other products and what it is like to work in this business. please rejoin us after this brief break.
two representatives from ignatius press our local catholic publisher. let me ask you about ignatius press' beginning. the 40th anniversary will be celebrated soon. >> yes. >> how did it start. >> it started by father jesuit in san francisco. he studied in europe under pope benedict the isth 16th. they make up catholic theology. >> this is after the second vatican council in the mid 60s. >> uh-huh. in fact these men were big
participants in the council. some people who refer to them as reactionaries or something like this, these men were really progressives in theology -- 20th century theology. in any case he returned to the states and wanted to make their works available in english. many of them had never been translated before in english. that was the reason he started ignatius press. >> ignatius is the spanish founder of the jesuit order. >> yes. >> he began it here in san francisco. >> yes. >> as a scholary press. he wanted to publish scholar books, theological books. >> he wanted to get theological works in the hands of people studying theology here. not long after it started he realized it needed to be broadened and to sell the works he was printing he needed help. he hired tony ryan as a
marketing director. very quickly ignatius press started expanding into other genres and has just grown tremendously ever since. >> there has been a great response to what you offer. and youmost of your clients are individuals but you have institutionnal clients. >> particularly for our catechism books. u-cat is the abridged catechism book for young people. >> i have heard of it. i have not seen it. this is a product you will market to young adults. >> it is usually popular with the youth. it was released in2010 in madrid. it has taken off. it was created for the youth to
have a catechism more accessible to them. it is for anyone and any age. it refers back to the full catechism so you can read in brief and then go to full catechism. >> i saw a notice for the u-cat series. there was a blurb by the arch bishop that said it is a good piece. you should get it. >> we just released the u-cat bible which is a bridged for youth and has notes. >> ignatius prints bibles. they have their own versions of study bibles and and annotated works. >> the bible is still the best international best-selling book. >> let me ask you about the youth market. are young people doing the kind of reading you think they should be doing? are they having the kind of catholic education that would seem beneficial?
what is the story on that? >> in terms of reading i read millennials probably have read more words than any other generation but they are words from excerpts or headlines or posts. in terms of reading full books, it has declined a lot in past years. the attention span for any of us just isn't there. unfortunately, i think we are not reading the way that we should as a society in general. not just youth. we pass on our habits to our youth. so we are trying to reach them. it is a challenge. look i said they are on all sorts of media that moves very quickly. to keep up with them and their taste for media is quite difficult. i have been in the religious education congress in los angeles. it is huge. a lot of youth are there. whether they are involved in youth ministry or there for their own education.
they do stop by our booth. they know about books. they are looking for books. we are reaching them in some way. >> your job is finding and developing and bringing to market the books you'll want to sell. do you notice a decline in quality? or a decline in the quality of reading? are people able to read and read deeply as they have been? or is there a loss of actual skill in reading? studies on literacy in america over decades. it ebbs and flows. interestingly enough literacy went way up during world war ii. american gi's were taught to read as part of training. not that you do a lot of reading in fox holes but you have to read the explanations on how to use a grenade. in my case, i think right now we are sort of at an ebb period
for book reading. educators are still trying to teach children to read. still trying to encourage parents to read to their children. that's the number one way to help a child learn to read is to read outloud to your children. educators try to encourage this. who is to say where it will all end up? >> you have products children can read themselves. >> yes. we partnered recently with magnificot. it is readings for the day and so on. we have been partnering with them to publish gorgeous children's books for young children originally produced in france mostly. they are very popular there. let's face it, these are books young people don't buy for themselves. these are bought by parents and grandparents. people are still trying to encourage children to read. >> definitely.
sally reed. night's brought darkness is her memoire her conversion story. she is a published poet from england. it is a beautifully written memoire of her conversion story. because she is a poet she writes beautifully. anything by peter craft is a sure winner. i think we probably have things in this season by him. he's lately been taking works of classic christian literature and condensing them and explaining them. he is just a brilliant writer. >> he really is. has very, very good. retired professor from boston college, i think. >> i don't think he is retired. he is 80. >> faith keeps you young. you mentioned joseph ratsinger. >> this is the reason for the season. he is the guy father wanted to
publish initially. anything by him is going to be deeply moving and good for anyone. >> you have many of his works. >> he is not a popular author. he is dense. which is not trying to discourage anybody from trying to read him. has a musician. he is cultured. he is educated. he is the most cultured man in europe of the 20th century. anything by him is beautiful but challenging. >> current writers, you have michael o'brien. i guess he is the best known catholic novelist in the country. >> we have that huge fan base for michael o'brien. he is probably the best known catholic novelist because we have published him. he's gotten all of his traction. has a painter. he writes very visually and vividly. he tries to write about religious experiences, which i
think is hard to find in fiction. someone trying to describe what a religious experience is like. has very popular. he's been translated into more than 30 languages. he's definitely one of our favorite authors. >> okay. unique ignatius offerings. what about you? >> i really enjoy sally reed's conversion story. she converted from atheism and have a different way of telling the story. jennifer's book is something other than god. i also had been reading last year's best seller which was god or nothing. it is basically an interview book with him about his life and insights on spirituality. >> who is he? >> an african cardinal and head of the vatican department. >> devine worship.
he is one of the first books i have actually written in the front cover, notes on this section on prayer. these pages on poverty. because he has amazing insights. his new book is available this season. the power of silence against the dictatorship of noise. which is relevant for our day and age. >> there is nose and distractions. >> we are always looking at something scrolling through something keeping our mind busy but not at the same time. his book has been a huge best- seller for us this year. >> in fact it was sold out -- our first print run was sold out before it made it to the distribution channels. amazon bought up the entire print run. we had to reprint it immediately. >> he is a black novelist from
africa writing a critique from the modern era. i wonder who is buying that book? >> i think people do crave silence and they know they need it. they don't know how to find it. we are bombarded with stimulation all around us. i think people do feel they need to get grounded. even look at the popularity of then meditation. i think there is a real spiritual hunger. >> i notice you have many, many unique offerings. in your catalog you have three our four pages of books and other materials devoted to the current marion year. thei understand you went on a pilgrimage. you were back last week. >> yes. it was really great. i worked on books on these
subjects before. it was great to go to the actual places where these events occurred. most of us had some stirring, spiritual experiences along the way. as we know pope francis had been there to cannonnize two children. this were two million people there before we got there. we had three busloads of people. >> i really want to thank you for being with us today. we didn't get to know much about you personally on air. i know you are a wife and mother. you are a wife and soon to be mother. you are educated working catholic women. let me close up by quoting our saints from the past as john bosco who worked with inner city youth said who knows how much good can come from reading one good catholic book.
welcome to "bay sunday." i'm kenny choy. my first guest is an actor and comedian. he is bringing back his one-man show it is call not a genuine black man to the stage. brian copeland welcome to "bay sunday." >> thank you for having me. >> you wrote this quite a long time ago. tell us what inspired this story. >> i got this letter from a radio listener. saying as a african-american i'm disgusting when i hear your voice because you are not a genuine black man. i thought about this. i heard this nonsense a