The business of Bibles

Posted: 28th July 2008 by ElShaddai Edwards in Uncategorized
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Kevin O’Brien has written a thoughtful article on the business of Bible publishing, especially related to the market opportunity of “niche” Bibles. He describes the various factors of “can we?” vs. “should we?” when it comes to making publishing decisions.

I’m far too familiar with Kevin’s dilemnas, having spent almost 10 years in the software publishing industry as a product manager making profit/loss decisions on everything from the feature definitions of our products to development resourcing to documentation choices to packaging and the like. While I understand the complexity of the tradeoffs involved, I never had to explicitly deal with the business vs. ministry aspects of Bible publishing. Those in Kevin’s position have my respect for the integrity of the decisions that they have to make.

Kevin specifically addresses a topic that I’ve raised numerous times here and on other blogs: the availability and practicality of a single-column, cross-referenced, wide-margin edition for serious students, teachers and ministers who want to record their own thoughts alongside the text. He describes the first such NLT edition and comments on why there has not been a followup printing. Kevin’s post has already born fruit, with a significant rebuttal comment from Rick Mansfield, who champions the cause of “gatekeeper editions”, to use his language.

Kevin closes by asking the following question:

How would you strike the balance between “can vs. should”? What would that look like if you were the one developing Bibles?

I encourage you to take a look, even if you find the business of Bibles somehow distasteful.

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