The Death of Print

Jehoiakim Burns the Scroll of Jeremiah

You’ve heard it all before, the eBooks and eReaders are going to be the death of print.

Paperback sales are down. Magazine sales are down. No one even reads the news anymore. Anything and everything you’d ever want to read is waiting for you online.

If you’re reading this in 2019, chances are you’ll live to see the day when the great American newspaper chains shut down their presses and live on only as web pages. People are calling this the digital revolution. It’s affecting the way we make movies (film vs. video) and has already changed the way we listen to music. For example, when was the last time you broke out your record player? The revolution’s also changing the way we see scripture. Personally, I could never imagine a world without tangible Bibles: gold-leaf, the place-marker ribbon, passages underlined in red ink, those little plastic indexing tabs, etc. But just because I can’t see a world without The Gideons, doesn’t mean my grandkids won’t. Recent websites and downloadable apps like Bible Gateway and YouVersion are making the scriptures accessible from anywhere there’s an internet connection. Why carry a pocket New Testament when the whole bible will fit on your smartphone? And not just the testaments (Old and New) but audio scriptures and more commentaries than you could read in a lifetime. Now, I’m hard pressed to see this as a bad thing but then again, many of our most beloved bible publishers will, if they fail to adapt, go under. Revolution’s are rarely pretty things. Think European history. The Digital Bible Society is all about riding that wave and it’s allowed us and people like us to turn the way we think about Bibles on its head. One of our favorite people, Brother Andrew, used to smuggle Bibles into communist countries by cramming New Testaments into a special compartment of his Volkswagen beetle.

Now with the new high capacity SD chips, smuggling a thumb-drive into a closed nation would be the equivalent of sneaking several train cars loaded down with the entirety of Christian literature in every language and file format, no railroad required. Yes, the leather-bound bible will one day be a novelty but that doesn’t the bible’s going anywhere. In fact, it is my belief that the Digital Revolution is a big part of the Great Commission. Furthermore, and I know this may seem controversial, but I believe that God gave us binary so that we could do just that, give everyone everywhere a chance to hear the gospel. In the meantime, stay tuned. Drop us a line and get involved with the conversation. I’ll do my best to update the blog as I am able.