Case Study: Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Giulio Cesareo, Editorial Manager, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
in conversation with Laura Dolan, Key Account Sales Manager, Ingram Content Group UK

Please could you describe your current publishing programme?

Our publishing programme includes, above all, the Pope's publications. We are responsible for publishing Pope Francis’ books and documents, as well as those of previous popes. This is the most important mission we have as a publisher. This accounts for about 50% of our publications. We publish these texts not only in Italian, but in different languages spoken in countries with large Catholic communities. For example, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Within the Roman Curia there are a series of entities or ministries which produce books and documents, and so we publish these on their behalf. These books will go to members of the clergy and people who serve within institutions of the Catholic Church around the world. These are always published in Italian, Spanish, English and French. So, this is an important part of our programme.

Last but not least, there are also theological and spiritual books that we commission various authors to write.

Brilliant, thank you! How did you find out about Ingram?

I was introduced to Rob Clements in February 2020 before the pandemic started during the Religious Educational Congress in Los Angeles. A colleague of mine based in the US who was already in touch with him to start a collaboration with Ingram introduced us.

And the rest is history!

Exactly!

Could you describe some of the Ingram services that you use?

Okay, we are very grateful, above all for the scanning programme you offer us. It became possible for us to start selling books which were previously unavailable, and we couldn't reprint in offset, because it wouldn't be viable financially. Instead, your programme allowed us to recreate the PDF files to update them with the new logos etc and make them available through print-on-demand.

Then there is your Mid-Run programme. We have two bookstores in St. Peter’s Square in Rome which, before the pandemic used to be visited by many, many people from all around the world. And we hope that soon it might be the case again. Anyway, we use Mid-Run to acquire international books for our stores in Rome. This is an important service as it gives us more favourable pricing on orders of 250 units or above.

And there is also your BOLT (Book Long Term Pricing) programme...

Absolutely, you're utilising BOLT which is working well because the discounts accrue for you at an account level but also at the individual ISBN level. Some of Pope Francis’s titles are selling very well, so they’re accruing much higher discounts. So that’s working in your favour too.

What does Ingram enable you to do that you couldn't before?

We are also we are enrolled with the Global Connect programme, therefore our books are discoverable and any customer can find our books worldwide through online stores, which is something that is very interesting for us.

You can now buy many of our books all over the planet at very reasonable prices. In the past, we used to sell directly to the US, to Australia and elsewhere, but we faced very high postage fees and long delivery times. Thanks to Lightning Source & the Global Connect programme, our titles can be in Amazon Prime in many countries, which has made a huge difference to our sales.

Before we started using Lighting Source, outside of Italy our books were rather expensive, but now we can make them much more affordable.

“You can now buy many of our books all over the planet at very reasonable prices. In the past, we used to sell directly to the US, to Australia and elsewhere, but we faced very high postage fees and long delivery times.”

Fantastic! Do you know which has been your best-selling title so far on Lightning Source?

Yes, it’s the English version of the encyclical letter by Pope Francis, which was entitled Fratelli Tutti or Brothers and Sisters, which was released last October. So, we are very grateful.

What marketing do you undertake to drive sales?

This is something we’re still working out, but at the moment, we’re using Ingram’s catalogues, such as Catholic Reflections, and Christian Advance. We have also enrolled on Aerio. We have a growing audience in North America, and so for every title we have in Lightning Source we have added a shortcut on our website which says ‘based in North America, click here’ and it directs you straight to our Aerio page, which lets the customer buy the book directly, which is probably more convenient than from other stores because we can apply a higher discount.

I think it's a smart way to promote to both our titles and our collaboration.

We also have a newsletter which goes out twice a week. We have social media channels, Facebook and Twitter so we can let readers know whenever a new title goes on sale in different languages, and we tell them that our books are available in bookstores and online.

Finally, what would you summarise as being the key benefits of Ingram?

Firstly, I am really impressed by how you do business, I’m positively impressed. When I have a question, I'm confident that within in a couple of hours I will receive an answer. There's almost 24/7 assistance, which makes things easy.

"For us, you are an important distributor, more than just a printer."

Secondly, as I mentioned before, for us Ingram means presenting ourselves and our books to Catholic people who are outside of Italy. So, it's changed our perspective because we can now be much more available and present outside of the Italian language market than when we were only going through traditional channels of distribution. So, for us you are an important distributor, more than just a printer.

Wonderful, thank you!

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