It may not make the New York Times Bestsellers’ List, but the U.S. bishops’ publishing office is expecting the soon-to-be-released Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to become a major publishing success.

With pre-publications sales at over 40,000, the USCCB is expecting to sell up to 200,000 copies in the first year. A publishing rule of thumb is that pre-publication sales amount to one-third of first year sales.

The 200-page synthesis of the 1992 Catechism, available in English and in Spanish, will be officially available March 31. It has been available by special order for the last few weeks.

Pope Benedict XVI promulgated the Compendium last year, attesting to its faithfulness to the Catechism. It “contains, in concise form, all the essential and fundamental elements of the Church’s faith,” he assured.

He expressed hope that it “may awaken in the Church of the third millennium renewed zeal for evangelization and education in the faith.”

The Compendium, which is organized in 598 easy questions and answers, was initiated by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, in response to an urgent need expressed by catechetical experts worldwide.

Paperback copies cost $14.95; hardcover books cost $24.95.

To order, go to