Bible Bashing

NIV Bible CoverResponding to my musings about Bibles and Bookmarks John Duncan of Cornerstone Book Shop has expressed unease about Hodder’s recent makeover of their range of NIV Bibles, branding the covers with their marketing spin: “NIV: The World’s Most Popular Bible”.

I’m inclined to agree with John: in fact, I couldn’t agree more — I simply don’t want to find myself carrying a Bible that’s had its cover so brazenly redesigned as an advertising hoarding; something about it goes against the grain… and I’m all the more uneasy about the way Hodder have used the symbol of the Cross as a vehicle for their advertising.

And I’m also inclined to question the claim: is the NIV really the world’s most popular Bible? Or is it simply marketing spin? I’d love to see some independently verifiable figures to back this up: I’m fairly sure my own sales figures don’t back it up — I’ll check when I’m back in next week: watch this space…

But whether it is marketing spin or genuine truth, I remain unconvinced that emblazoning it on the covers of our Bibles is appropriate. By all means put it on the packaging, on a wraparound or on marketing materials — perhaps on a promotional bookmark? — but let’s take it off the actual Bibles.

How do you feel about it?

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5 thoughts on “Bible Bashing

  1. I’m really not familiar with the world market, but in the US the NIV is certainly the best-selling translation, both in terms of dollars and units sold.
    http://www.cbaonline.org/nm/documents/BSLs/Bible_Translations.pdf

    I personally find the presence of marketing copy on Bible covers to be distasteful. I’ve noticed that some Bibles are putting marketing copy on dust-jackets, which is only marginally better. I would prefer to keep the DJ until it deteriorates, but with marketing materials on it I just throw it away.

    I’d be interested in what you consider to be your most popular Bible translations in your stores.

  2. I think the new covers are great and will appeal to a mass market. About time someone did something modern and interesting. Let’s bring religion into the 20th century guys!

  3. Welcome, Mr Bragg, and thanks for the comment — but no, let’s leave the 20th century behind and get into the 21st!! As for modern — well, yes, that is kinda last-century now that we’re into postmodernism 😉 but, hey, I’m with you on the interesting, and there certainly are some cool-looking Bibles available these daze.

    Now if only we could get some of the energy that’s going into all these flash-in-the-pan English editions into translating the Bible into all those languages that don’t have them yet…

  4. I am a little Bemused at how people can complain about these covers spreading Gods fine word. Should we tape the mouths of every vicar too? Surely that’s advertising. I have seen numerous horendous Bible covers with imagery that doesn’t make sense or reflect my Lords word, we should all embrace this new direction and be thankful for this fresh look.

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