American Catholic publishing houses are in the process of consolidation to make up for declines, but it appears that conservative publishers are faring better, reports the online newsletter, Religion Bookline (Oct. 21). Consolidation in the Catholic market seems to be the order of the day, with Ave Maria acquiring the Thomas More, Christian Classics and Forest of
Peace imprints this summer and SAMP purchasing Charis in September. Liturgical Press’s Peter Dwyer predicts there will be more consolidation and noted that Catholic publishers “want the economies of scale, and we’re all sharing the same customer anyway. But it’s also about the maturing of a certain kind of publishing. Smaller, more progressive Catholic publishers run out of steam from time to time, so they get sold or consolidated.”
Dwyer notes that it is the conservative publishers who are on the rise. He adds that “The country has become more conservative generally. That may be nearing its peak, but who knows?” Meanwhile, there has also been a decline in the Catholic grad student publishing market due to the declining number of those entering the priesthood. But books on faith formation programs for laity — who are taking over many parish duties — are growing.
Another Catholic publisher finds less interest in pop spirituality; adding that “people are looking for higher level books than in the past.” He cites Paulist’s “Classics of Western Spirituality,” which is being used as a religion course text in secular universities.