Is The Digital Bible Overtaking the Printed Bible?
September 4, 2012
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A very interesting development of late has led me to ask, is the digital age phasing out the printed Bible?
DETROIT — Not too long ago, the sight of someone using an electronic device during a worship service might lead an observer to assume that person was not fully engaged. But not anymore. Reading the Bible used to mean reading a book, but increasingly, people are getting the Word on smartphones, iPads and other electronic devices.
So then, what will happen to the printed Bible? The last word has not been written on that, but experts speculate that its unchallenged reign is over.
“The Bible is sort of the flagship of the printed book culture,” said Timothy Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible” (Mariner, 2011, $15.95). “The printed word is losing its place as the dominant medium for reading.”
He pointed to the traditional family Bible — once commonplace in many homes — as evidence of the decline in printed Bibles. “Most families don’t have them anymore,” he said. “The family Bible as we know it is already a thing of the past in most families. What was once a perfect product during its time has become kind of an artifact.”
Hardcover Bibles are no longer always found in hotel rooms worldwide, either. Last month, a hotel in Newcastle, England, replaced the hardcover Bibles in all 148 guest rooms with Amazon Kindles, preloaded with Bibles. It’s exploring doing the same in all 44 hotels the InterContinental Hotels Group owns worldwide.
Another hotel — the Damson Dene, in England’s Lake District — replaced nightstand Bibles with the popular novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The digital age may have its advantages in some aspects; it also has its distractions. I still fancy carrying my printed Bible to church and read it at home. Maybe I am old fashioned but I do not watch the trends to fit in ( yet I am free to use the digital edition whenever convenient).
As a side note, I do hope groups like Gideon’s International do not stop placing and distributing free Gideon’s Bibles in hotels, schools and the streets.