The Good Book Is Good Biz

New looks, special themes drive $770M Bible industry
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 25, 2007 9:19 AM CST
A Bible bound in pink faux-leather. Bible publishing has become a $770 million industry.   ((c) The Pink Princess)
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(Newser) – In the thriving business of Bible publishing, the lone calligrapher in his scriptorium has been superseded by marketing execs armed with PowerPoint. About 25 million Bibles were sold this year in America, reports the Los Angeles Times—that's 11 million more than the latest Harry Potter installment. But since the content stays the same, the dressing has to keep changing.

Leading publisher Zondervan, owned by HarperCollins, targets specific groups—teenagers, newlyweds, recovered alcoholics—with new designs and specialized commentary. Since a third of Bibles are purchased as gifts, Zondervan has one for every occasion; their sorority rush edition does particularly well. "Smoke and mirrors," a sales VP concedes, are what keep prices at $30 and up.