The release Thursday of Pope Francisâ€™s impassioned encyclical on climate change sparked a flurry of press coverage and a question for the U.S. publishing industry: Who will issue it as a book?
The 183-page document, which the pontiff addresses to â€œevery person living on this planet,â€ attributes global warming to human activity and accuses the global market economy of plundering the Earth.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has exclusive U.S rights to publish the encyclical for 30 days. It is now available for preorder on the conference website for $13.95. The book, titled â€œOn Care for Our Common Home,â€ will be in stock on June 25, said Matthew Kilmurry, a conference spokesman.
After that, the book will be up for grabs, and could be released by multiple publishers. Contracts would be issued by the official publishing office of the Vatican, Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
John Glusman, editor-in-chief of W.W. Nortonâ€™s trade division, which published the 9/11 Commission Report, said his house wonâ€™t publish the encyclical because it wouldnâ€™t be in keeping with the companyâ€™s history of secular titles.
â€œBut I think itâ€™s a wonderful idea,â€ he said. â€œIt sounds absolutely fascinating.â€
Likely publishing contenders include Image, a Catholic imprint of Random House that published Pope Francisâ€™s apostolic exhortation, â€œThe Joy of the Gospelâ€; and Melville House, which published the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture.
Representatives for Image and Random House didnâ€™t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Dennis Loy Johnson, publisher of Melville House, said he already has reached out to the rights department of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
â€œWeâ€™d be excited and honored to publish it,â€ he said. â€œThis kind of activist publishing is exactly what Melville House is all about.â€
Mr. Johnson noted that Pope Francisâ€™s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, published a series of bestsellers. Speaking of the climate-change statement, he said, â€œThis is now the mission of all these church units. Itâ€™s not only a significant statement by the pope but a significant statement of what the organization is going to get behind. Itâ€™s the real shot in the arm for a movement.â€
Speaking of the climate-change encyclical, he said, â€œThis is now the mission of all these church units. Itâ€™s not only a significant statement by the pope but a significant statement of what the organization is going to get behind. Itâ€™s the real shot in the arm for a movement.â€
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