Pi Attitude Zone: Ethics & Altruism

Good Book, Good Business

The Holy Bible continues to be a worldwide best-seller. Americans have been buying about 25 million bibles a year, putting annual expenditure on The Good Book at something like half a billion US dollars.

Worldwide annual sales have been estimated at over 100 million copies.  Since Gutenberg started printing bibles in 1456, some seven billion copies have been sold, in over 450 languages.  This means more than one copy for each person alive today, regardless of faith.  If these volumes were all stacked on top of each other… they would probably Reach Unto Heaven.

Over ninety percent of Americans own at least one bible, with the average household owning three to four copies. Most owners say that they have one principal copy that they actually read, raising questions about what the other copies are for.  Propping up table legs?  No, it seems that more than sixty percent of all bibles sold in America are purchased as gifts for other people.

Then of course there is all that traffic of people accessing the bible through the internet, and reading it online.  About one third of Americans who said they had read it, and were interviewed for a recent poll, claimed to read the Scriptures “almost every day”. 

Frequent bible readers also professed to be more involved in other religious activities. In a typical month, 85 percent said they attended places of worship, 72 percent read religious books other than the bible, 50 percent read religious magazines, 53 percent attended Sunday school or Christian education classes, and 47 percent were initiators in volunteer groups.  So bible-reading seems to be at the center of a whole range of devotional activities.

All in all, the Bible publishing industry is doing well… by doing good.  As the Gospel of Mark put it: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall never pass away". 

Pi says: so far the prediction has held good.

Zone: Ethics & Altruism Country: Multiple Geographies Product – Other