Amen to That!
Aptara, a provider of digital publishing services, has just announced a new publishing partnership with the Vatican, for whom they will produce ebooks. These ebooks, the Vatican’s first, will be an illustrated series of Pope Benedict’s weekly addresses, dating back to March, 2006.
Aptara president and CEO Dev Ganesan has been working diligently to expand the company’s global presence, and is in fact just back from a trip to Argentina and Brazil, which he calls “important new markets.”
How did Ganesan come to be working with the Vatican? He cites his extensive global networking and the fact that “I’ve been around for many years.” He knows people and, apparently, his people know people, and that and Aptara’s recognizability from having been a major presence at international book shows like London and Frankfurt led to this partnership. “I think this is the first kind of publishing partnership they are entering into,” he says. “Generally everything is done in-house.”
The Vatican’s goal in this venture is to reach an as-yet untapped younger demographic. They recognize, Ganesan explains, “that new audience wants digital, good imaging, and iPod apps. If you want to reach that audience you have to change your workflow and the way you deliver content.” He’s excited to see such a traditional institution realizing that.
The Vatican chose Aptara because of their expertise in doing fixed layout for Apple. According to Ganesan, they were “blown away” by the beautiful images that can be created for digital media.
If the technology folks (who knew?) at the Vatican are recognizing the importance of digital (not to mention the need to reach a young demo), does this indicate a trend? “The fact that the Vatican has done this, along with the inbound interest we are getting in the last six months, indicates it is,” says Ganesan. “We think religious institutions are jumping on the bandwagon with providing content on mobile devices.” He cites as another example a project they did in March of 2011 designing and developing two interactive new media educational portals for the Union for Reform Judaism. “We are excited to be part of this big paradigm shift that’s happening.”