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New pope's books fly off shelves

‘Benedict XVI’ to grace cover of Ratzinger's writings
/ Source: The Associated Press

Demand for books by the new pope, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has quickly surpassed supply, with many of his works selling out.

When fresh copies arrive, expect some changes.

“We’ll indicate on the cover that he is now Pope Benedict XVI, who once was Cardinal Ratzinger,” said Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, a nonprofit, San Francisco-based publisher that has issued the German-born Ratzinger’s works in English for more than 20 years.

Ratzinger, the first German pope since the 11th century, was named the successor Tuesday to Pope John Paul II, who died April 2 at age 84. The 78-year-old Ratzinger, the church’s leading hard-liner, chose the name Pope Benedict XVI.

Numerous Ratzinger books have reached the best seller lists of and Barnes &, including “Salt of the Earth,” “The Ratzinger Report,” “Introduction to Christianity” and “Milestones,” a memoir which covers his life through 1977. A second volume of his memoirs is being translated, and Brumley said Wednesday that other books are planned, including “Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith,” which should be out next month.

From boyhood to war to seminary to the Vatican, images trace the career of Joseph Ratzinger, elected as the 265th pope of the Catholic Church.

Brumley also expects to include a new foreword to “The Ratzinger Report,” a book-length interview that was published in the 1980s.

Meanwhile, Doubleday has scheduled a pair of books for May: a collection of the new pope’s writings, currently untitled, and a biography by John Allen Jr., whose previous book on Ratzinger was released in 2000. Barnes & Noble, Inc. is publishing its own book, by scholar Greg Tobin.

Harper San Francisco, a spiritual/religious imprint of HarperCollins, is planning to publish David Gibson’s “Keys to the Kingdom: The Making of a Pope and the Future of Catholicism,” and Continuum will release Paul Collins’ “God’s New Man: The Election of the New Pope and the Legacy of John Paul II.”