ST PAULS Philippines at the 29th Manila International Bookfair

Excerpt of the welcome address of Fr. Domie Guzman, Editorial Director

Book publishing in the Philippines seems to be a losing proposition – a sunset industry. First, with the emergence of modern technologies like the e-books, the fast-growing worldwide web with its internet services and search engines, many have predicted the “extinction” of printed books! Second, the economic crunch that we continue to feel strongly in this country has made many households conscious about budget cuts in their spending patterns.

We note that for Filipinos who are not fond of reading, books are nonessentials! The TV and the radio have better patronage. Added to this is the sad reality that our national government policies treat imported books as “luxury items,” even as this government offers no incentives at all for local publishers and printers! Thirdly, there is the “China factor” which has made the process of the local production of books relatively expensive.

This Book Fair marks another year of success for ST PAULS PUBLISHING in the Philippines! The number of people who frequent our stand and buy our books indicate that the printed media is here to stay side-by-side with the digital and electronic word. For one thing, the printed book gives us the advantage of reading anywhere, under all kinds of conditions… The economic crunch and the “China factor” have caused us to close down our printing press, but it has also taught us to concentrate on two important phases of being a publisher: (a) strengthening our editorial activities, and (b) expanding our marketing and diffusion. We now have 22 bookstores, with 16 of them in Metro Manila. And we wish to take this opportunity to invite you to come and visit us in our new location near the about-to-be opened chapel of the SM Megamall. The opening is set for October 13, 2008 – Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

We thank our Partners in Mission for this year’s Book Launching: Fr. Greg Gaston who has authored 3 booklets for altar servers; Ms Rita Avila (awarded TV and Movie actress) who published with us a very touching experiencebased book entitled “8 Way of Giving Comfort;” the institute of Notre Dame de Vie who has cooperated with us in the translation and release of 2 titles about spirituality; and the St Pio Prayer Group of St Francis of Assisi Parish who has compiled and published with us a unique concise booklet on some of the spiritual thoughts of Padre Pio.

We consider the Universal Church’s celebration of the 2000th Birth Millennium of Saint Paul initiated by no less than Pope Benedict XVI as a signal grace that amidst the ups and downs of our times, we at ST PAULS and our apostolate of communications (in the Philippines – largely with publishing) are relevant!

With the 29th Manila International Book Fair, and with our Book Launching, the Editorial Board of ST PAULS PUBLISHING PHILIPPINES counts its blessings… and wishes to share its blessings with you all. A concrete expression of this is our coming out with another product line in the tradition of the much-appreciated “Sambuhay.” This product line – “Verbuhay” [Verbo at Buhay (Life)] – is a Sunday lectionary based guide for Bible study and sharing in groups. It will be made available starting with an issue about the three lectionary readings for the First Sunday of Advent (Year B).

With the 29th Manila International Book Fair and with this Book Launch, the Editorial Board adapts for ST PAULS PUBLISHING PHILIPPINES the motto: “ST PAULS – Blessing Lives.” May our books and publications continue to be blessed, and with them, may we continue to bless you all with God’s Good News!