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The Vatican

The Vatican Keeps Pace with eBooks: Preserving Historical Imagery Digitally

Digital Content Development


The spiritual center of the Catholic Church and one of the world’s most recognized and visited religious landmarks, the Vatican also has an enduring history of publishing. From the Vatican library’s ancient chronicles to newsletters and bulletins distributed at the request of the Pope, the Vatican is both the creator and guardian of the Catholic historical record.


The Vatican sought to provide access to its vast archives of printed materials to a younger and more digitally savvy demographic. It needed an expert digital publishing partner to propose a content strategy that would connect its archives to a new, much wider, global audience.


Enhanced eBooks were the obvious choice. By converting and optimizing legacy content for display on mobile devices, the Church could keep its teachings relevant to a younger audience of adherents and scholars.

Given its dominance in the marketplace at the time, the Apple iPad became the platform of choice for the Vatican's eBooks. Indeed, the Apple iTunes Store is already home to a number of popular, interactive eBooks in the areas of children’s literature and education and offers a variety of benefits for digital publishers.

One such benefit is Apple’s fixed-layout format, which retains the pagination of the original printed work after conversion to an eBook. This would reproduce the magnificent imagery in the Vatican’s books on the iPad's high-resolution display—yet another way to appeal to young readers.


Thirteen eBooks of Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly addresses have been published and are currently available from Apple iTunes in Italy.

Aptara transformed the Church’s print editions into striking digital editions for engaging a modern audience. Aptara helped the Vatican take the first steps toward protecting and preserving the delicate, historic paper-based contents of the Vatican Library from the ravages of time.