Christians take their Bibles everywhere with them… but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the one book collecting dust on the bookshelf is the Bible. Yet this need to own at least one copy of the inspired word of God drives the Bible to being a top selling book every year whether it is opened or not.
More than 2,100 languages have at least one book of the Bible in that language.
Bible Sales Statistics
Between 1815 and 1975, it was estimated that there could have been 5 billion Bibles printed. In 1995, one version of the bible, the Good News version that is copyrighted by the Bible Societies, had sold nearly 18 million copies. There’s no doubt about it – the Bible is one of the world’s best-selling books. It also proves that God’s Word is a moneymaker for today’s Christian publishers.
- The best selling and fastest growing version of the Bible in the United States is the NIV.
- 82%. That’s the percentage of people who regularly read the Bible who will reach for a King James Version before any other.
- There are more than 168,000 Bibles that are sold or given to others in the United States every day.
- 20 million. That’s the number of Bibles that are sold each year in the United States. That’s more than double the amount that was sold annually in the 1950s.
- The Gideon’s International distributed 59,460,000 Bibles worldwide last year. That’s more than 100 Bibles per minute.
- Zondervan, a leading Bible publisher, has more than 350 different versions of the Bible that are in print right now.
- The percentage of Americans who own at least 1 Bible, whether it was given to them or purchased: 92%. Two-thirds of owners, regardless of religious affiliation, say that the Bible holds the meaning of life.
- The average American Christian owns 9 Bibles and wants to purchase more. For this reason, the Bible is actually excluded from book bestsellers lists because it would always be on top.
Selling Bibles is big business for Christian publishers. There’s no denying it. Why else would a book that is considered to be “inerrant” have more than 350 versions by just one publisher? The fact that it sells so well is encouraging because there are incredible messages of love, forgiveness, and understanding that are contained within its 66 total books [or more depending on the version that is purchased]. It also means that some of the hype about persecution that is promoted in major Christian media could very well be a way to market this book to Christians who already have more Bibles than they can carry to buy more so they can “arm” themselves against coming attacks.
How Much Money Does The Bible Bring In Every Year?
- The annual sales of all versions of the Bible routinely tops $425 million.
- Over 100 million Bibles are printed every year. Consumers in the United States will purchase 25% of those newly printed Bibles every year.
- In the world today, there are more than 80,000 different versions of the Bible that generate at least 1 sale annually.
- A Bible also owns the record for least amount of sales per year – a translation of the New Testament into Coptic has never sold more than 2 copies in any year since 1791.
- YouVersion, a top downloaded Bible app for mobile devices, has over 100 million total downloads and counting. It was one of the first 200 apps that were available on iTunes. It’s also been a top 100 free app for 3 consecutive years.
- More than 66,000 people are using a Bible app at any given second. 3 people share a Bible verse on their social network every second as well.
- Isaiah 53:5 is the most shared Bible verse on the internet today.
- 77% of people say that they read the Bible more frequently because they have it available on a mobile device.
- 60% of people use a digital Bible at church instead of hauling their own printed Bible.
- Two-thirds of people prefer Bible apps because it gives them access to multiple versions of the Bible without the added cost.
- In 2005, Thomas Nelson, a leading Bible publisher, was sold for $473 million. They publish 60 different editions of the Bible.
Bible apps are going to eventually change the way people purchase Bibles. Although sales are still up, there’s been a change in the consumer profile. Instead of American families purchasing Bibles on a regular basis, it is groups, churches, and summer camps that are purchasing them in bulk. With that observation noted, it only takes one traumatic event to encourage Bible sales to increase. In the week after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US, some retailers saw 40% increases in Bible sales. When people need comfort, they go to the Bible if they’re Americans, regardless of religion. With apps available, multiple versions of comfort can be readily accessed.
How Is The Scope Of Bible Sales Changing?
- 60% of today’s Christians live in the developing world. In 1900, 80% of the world’s Christians lived in Europe or the United States.
- More Presbyterians go to church in Ghana on a regular basis than they do in Scotland.
- There are as many practicing Anglicans in England as there are practicing Muslims.
- A Gallup survey found that less than 50% of Americans can name the first book of the Bible.
- Only 1 in 3 Bible owners know that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Billy Graham is a more popular answer than the correct answer.
- 12%. That’s the percentage of Christians who believed that Noah was married to Joan of Arc.
- There are 900 different versions of the Bible just in English. There is even one Bible that has been translated into the fictional language of Klingon.
Bibles are always going to sell well. There’s no denying this fact whatsoever. What is unique about Bible sales, however, is that the people who have the most opportunity to purchase this holy book are also the most illiterate about it. That may ultimately be why this book continues to be a bestseller. It is being used as a sort of balm to increase personal spirituality through money. The only problem is that the Bible itself says that one cannot serve God and serve money at the same time. With over 80k different versions of the Bible, it is fair to ask who the real master in the Bible publishing world really happens to be.