The Rebirth of Print

Print on Demand Bibles at the Digital Bible Society

In the last blog we rung the death knell for print (as we know it) but that (as is always the case) is not the end of the story. Yea verily, the bookstores are heading for the precipice and news papers the antique shop, but ink and paper are still a valid means of communication and have an exciting future ahead of them. 

You’ve probably heard the words “print on demand” before in conversations and wondered if it meant what you thought it meant. Well, it does. Printing tech has gotten to a place where we can, with a relatively cheap printer set up, mill out a single ready-to-read book in a matter of minutes.

So, what do these recent advances mean for world missions? Nothing if we don’t take advantage of them. Mobile printing tech makes it possible for someone with a bare minimum of technical savvy to turn a church with an electrical outlet into a Bible factory, location irrelevant. Metropolitan New York is not too near nor Africa’s sweltering heart too far. We like to talk about the people who floated New Testaments across the English channel in the early 1500’s or hollowed out their Volkswagen for secret Bible smuggling storage space in the late 1950’s but today all a burgeoning Bible smuggler needs to get God’s word “in” is a micro SD chip with the Bible on it (or what have you) and the wherewithal to find a working printer which is, of course, much more feasible than trying to sneak 300 Bibles into Mauritania on a camel like this guy did. 

A round of applause please. It’s important to note that when we describe the Bible printing process as feasible, we’re referring to the technical side of things. 500 years after Tyndale was burned at the stake, Bible publishers are still being murdered. If this were any other book, the persecution would have scared off publishers and the Bible would have died with the many other works of art that censorship has destroyed but the scriptures survive because the Word of God is as worth printing as it is dying for. Watch the DBS Print-on-Demand Video here.

Here’s another short video detailing how the people at Arizona State University are using print on demand technology to democratized the book making process.