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The Good Book Business

gakked from _faithinfiction: a fascinating New Yorker article on the Bible-selling industry.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"...research has found that ninety-one per cent of American households own at least one Bible—the average household owns four—which means that Bible publishers manage to sell twenty-five million copies a year of a book that almost everybody already has."

and

"'The Personal Promise Bible' is custom-printed with the owner’s name ('The LORD is Daniel’s shepherd'), home town ('Woe to you, Brooklyn! Woe to you, New York!'), and spouse’s name ('Gina’s two breasts are like two fawns')."

and

"The publisher of Zondervan, Scott Bolinder, spoke with excitement about the possibilities for distributing the book on iTunes. 'A person hears about it, says, "I don’t know, I’m not parting with thirty-four dollars. But I’ll try the Book of Revelation for a dollar-ninety-nine,"' he said."

Just...keep...reading. I experienced a kind of shock, a horrified fascination, a repulsion, and the occasional moment of thinking an ideas might actually be a valid way of reaching out to people. I think the best quote, though, is a summary of the underlying conflict in marketing God like this:

"The problem, as [a former religion editor] sees it, is that 'instead of demanding that the believer, the reader, the seeker step out from the culture and become more Christian, more enclosed within ecclesial definition, we’re saying, "You stay in the culture and we’ll come to you." And, therefore, how are we going to separate out the culturally transient and trashy from the eternal?'"

Comments

I haven't read the article...dead beat and left your blog open to remember to comment before I collapsed on my bed (well, am actually collapsed on my bed). So, I probably won't be replying to on topic...but I'll read the article tomorrow...yeah...I promise.

What I think is, if they do get really "touched" they will become more Christian* eventually or their culture will become Christian. It's a pathway or an opening to God.

Also, we're not the Supreme judges so why do we need to separate the culturally transient and trashy from the eternal. It sounds a bit arrogant for me to start deciding who's a better Christian. I don't think humans can really tell what's truly in someone's heart. I'm pretty sure God will have no problem figuring out who is who.

It's better to get the resources out there. There's always the person who's just waiting for it and if they're transient so be it. They received the message. They cannot deny receipt. But they might not be transient. One shouldn't deny someone that opportunity.

This doesn't mean that just because it's $1.99 on iTunes and easily accessible that your job is done. You should still be reaching out to all and trying to explain and spread the message and thy whys and the beauty and why one should be Christian and not trendy etc etc

Consider me, I'm not going to go spend oodles of money on a Bible. But it might be worthwhile spending a few dollars for a cheap copy, if not for conversion but for insight. And maybe it might be a better world if more people had easy access to important texts.

*I don't just mean Christian. Feel free to substitute some other religion/calling etc.
Man...I just read people's comments and saw things about slang and...err...
Well, if I were buying a copy of the bible it wouldn't be the trendy version :-)

But hey, people write bible stories or stories from the bible geared for children so why not for people of today.

I think...

But still...sleep...read tomorrow