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Pre-order sales of book on Pope John Paul II set records

Officials in Catholic dioceses in the US have ordered more than 10,000 copies of John Paul II: A Light for the World, weeks before its appearance in bookstores.

"This kind of pre-order is rare in religious publishing," said Jeremy Langford, editorial director of Sheed & Ward, publisher of the book. "Pre-orders from bookstores also have been very strong."

Langford said the 256-page coffee-table and resource book already is "the top book this year not only for Sheed & Ward, but for our parent company, Rowman & Littlefield, which produces 330 titles annually."

The pre-orders by diocesan officials include purchases by bishops and diocesan staff to use as gifts for constituencies, by diocesan development directors for major donor gifts and fundraisers, and by diocesan newspapers for use in sales promotions.

A Light for the World commemorates the 25th anniversary of the papacy of John Paul II and features more than 40 brief essays on aspects of his pontificate. The essays are illustrated by extraordinary pictures by the Vatican photographers who have been with John Paul II since the start of his pontificate.

The foreword to the book was written by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and a greeting by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano. The book includes almost thirty very brief remembrances of the pope by several persons who have met him personally. Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles recounts finding the pope, who was his house guest, ladling out soup for himself in the kitchen during the 1987 visit to California.

The pictures in the book provide a visual documentary of John Paul from his days as the athletic, skiing pope to the current time when he walks aided by a cane.

Catholic News Service

Upcoming Anniversary Book on Pope John Paul II to Include Focus on African American Catholics (US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Secretariat for African-American Catholics)
Church ready to jump aboard new book about pope (Western New York Catholic)
John Paul II: A Light for the World (The Book Den)
Sheed & Ward

14 Aug 2003