God’s Printing Presses
Pacific Press: Moving the Gospel Commission Forward for 130 Years
It is 7:30 a.m. The employees in each department of Pacific Press gather to start the day with worship and prayer. Several people make prayer requests—for a sick mother, for the safety of the workers in the plant, for Adventist Book Center employees and literature evangelists in their ministry to the community. After prayer and a few moments of sharing, everyone returns to his work area.
Devotional time begins a typical day at Pacific Press—a Seventh-day Adventist publishing house located in Nampa, Idaho. Many people are not aware that Pacific Press is located right here in the Northwest. Of course, that wasn’t always so. In 1874, James White started a publishing house at his home in Oakland, California, using a manual printing press on his dining room table. A lot has changed since then.
Pacific Press now sits on 61 acres, and its worksite is the size of three football fields. The company uses state of the art technology; not much is run manually anymore. But the same mission established by James White still drives Pacific Press today—to lift up Jesus and to publish the news of salvation and Christ's soon return. Pacific Press strives to be a source of light via the books, magazines, and sharing materials that it publishes; it also strives to be a source of inspiration via the music and multimedia it distributes.
Pacific Press celebrates 20 years in Idaho and the North Pacific Union this year. In 1984, the press moved from Mountain View, California, to Nampa, Idaho, to avoid the high cost of operation in the Silicon Valley.
In its 130 years, Pacific Press has had its share of challenges—earthquakes, fires, struggling economies, and world wars. Yet despite the challenges, its dedicated employees, sound business principles, and commitment to God’s mission have sustained the publishing house for more than a century.
If you ask the president, Bob Kyte, he’ll be quick to tell you that its employees are Pacific Press’s most important asset. Their dedication enables Pacific Press to print the life-changing materials that spread the gospel. On the first Monday of each month, the employees gather together to dedicate the press's products, asking God to bless the printed words. Many of the employees have spent their careers working for Pacific Press, knowing that their work is furthering God’s kingdom.
But each employee at Pacific Press is also a member of the North Pacific Union, and each contributes in his or her own community and church as well. For instance, there’s Carlos Morales, who works in the finance department. For five years now, Carlos has been holding a worship service and Sabbath School at the Snake River Correctional Institution—a prison ministry which has resulted in more than 20 baptisms.
Carlos loves to tell the story of an inmate from Pendleton, Oregon: “He told me his mother had been a literature evangelist. Over the years his mother had tried to give him materials, but he was never interested—until he was put in prison. There he read the literature and began to evaluate his life.” It was that literature (published by Pacific Press) that inspired him to begin attending Carlos’church service.
Literature evangelism has touched countless lives. In fact, Pacific Press now directs literature evangelism programs in four union conferences. In addition, Pacific Press owns and operates 24 retail Adventist Book Center stores. “We want to ensure that the materials we publish reach those who need them,” says Bob Kyte, “Sometimes that means managing literature evangelism programs and Adventist Book Centers that conferences no longer have the personnel and budgets to operate. However, we do appreciate those unions and conferences which continue to operate Adventist Book Centers, and those which continue to provide the leadership support for literature evangelism programs.”
Pacific Press uses many avenues to get printed materials into people’s hands. For example, in 1998 Pacific Press (in partnership with the Review and Herald Publishing Association) launched AdventistBookCenter.com, an online store providing access to thousands of Adventist books, magazines, sharing materials, music, and multi-media anywhere in the world. Most church members don't live near an Adventist Book Center, including many members right here in the North Pacific Union.
Another aspect of Pacific Press’s ministry is to provide books and resources in other languages, a service which is constantly expanding. Pacific Press currently publishes materials in 16 different languages, and is considered the official Spanish publisher for the North American Division. They currently offer a large number of printed materials and music in Spanish; they also publish El Centinela, the Spanish equivalent of Signs of the Times. Pacific Press plans to launch a Spanish version of the AdventistBookCenter.com website in 2005.
Every published book represents a myriad of preparatory details and much hard work. Have you ever stopped to wonder how a writer can author a book and have it end up in your hands? Here’s a little of what happens behind the scenes.
It is 10:30 a.m. The acquisitions committee is ready to meet. There are four new manuscripts on the table for the committee to evaluate. Prayer is offered before discussion begins. Hundreds of such manuscripts come in every year, and each must be evaluated carefully.
After a manuscript goes through the acquisitions committee and is edited, it is sent to the proofreading room where copy editors will go over each page to make sure there are no errors in grammar or style. Then the manuscript is sent back to the editor and author for final approval before being formatted. After that it is sent to prepress to prepare plates for printing.
Meanwhile, the book cover is being prepared. First, the title/cover committee determines a title for the book and gives direction for the cover design. Once a concept for the cover has been agreed upon, it is sent to a graphic designer, who will bring the concept to life. Then the cover is sent to prepress and the plates are sent to the pressroom.
The cover and inside of the book are printed separately and then bound together. The pages are trimmed and the book is shrink-wrapped before it is delivered to inventory. Meanwhile, the marketing department is deciding how to best promote, publicize, merchandise, and advertise the book.
It is 4:30 p.m. Out at the loading dock, boxes are loaded on a truck for delivery. Some are cases of Spirit of Prophecy books bound for an Adventist Book Center in Oregon; others are brimming with Adult Sabbath School Quarterlies for churches in the Northwest; and then there are the boxes full of Doug Batchelor’s new sharing book, Broken Chains, on their way to pastors' meetings. Eventually, each will reach a soul in need of understanding and encouragement.
Whether it is publishing Bible and science textbooks for Adventist schools, making sure Our Little Friend and Primary Treasure are available for children’s Sabbath School classes each quarter, supporting Adventist musicians through Chapel Music, or offering affordable printing to Adventist organizations, you can sense the strong dedication to God’s work at Pacific Press.