In the age of Kindle and Audible, the Bible remains an interesting outlier!

We live in an age when technology has not only altered consumer patterns but also become an integral part of our lives. The recent lockdown only further accelerated this change, encouraging many self-proclaimed “old-timers” to embrace online solutions such as video calls, OTT entertainment, mobile banking and e-commerce deliveries. The internet has undoubtedly made our lives simpler. Today, access to everything from music to groceries, movies and banking are all just a few clicks away.

Physical books, once a much-desired collectable was one of the first things to move online. It may come as a surprise to many that Amazon and Flipkart initially started off as online book stores. Today online readers such as Kindle and audio book providers such as Audible have become the new norm. Some books and publishers even have their own mobile apps – building a loyal online reader base.

In such a scenario the bible remains an interesting outlier. A popular Christian bookstore owner told us, “while we have seen a constant decline in the purchase of Christian books over the years, the bible itself remains hugely popular among our customers.”

There is today no scarcity of bible reading apps and websites. From the hugely popular YouVersion App to online websites such as BibleGateway, the bible in its many translations is freely available online. Yet, Christian bookshop owners agree that they continue to see healthy sales of the physical bible. Our conversations with bible owners revealed many possible explanations – ranging from serious and spiritual to downright comical. One family told us that while they all enjoyed their bible apps; they felt the need to have at least one physical bible at home to be able to read together during their family prayer each evening. Another youngster told us the only reason he was buying a bible was because he was scared his pastor wouldn’t allow him into the church without it. A self-proclaimed “bibliophile” told us,” I just enjoy the smell of an actual physical bible.”

One woman mentioned that she felt a physical bible helped add a personal touch to her meditation. She told us, “From personal scribblings to big God revelations, I enjoy jotting all of them down on my physical bible so I am reminded of them when I read that passage again.” Another purchaser told us that he felt the physical bible helped him reduce distraction. “As a business man, I receive multiple emails and messages all the time. No matter how hard I try to focus on God’s word, a notification ping is hard to ignore and I often find myself fighting the urge to tap on it.” The physical bible helps me focus completely on what I am reading and this makes a huge difference in my personal quiet time.”

Be it an online version or a physical bible, we can all agree that the word of God remains the same. Having it available on multiple platforms only helps make it more accessible which is a good thing. While a digital bible ensures ease of use and enables us access it anywhere, a physical bible has its own perks – including distraction-free reading and a personal touch. What type of bible do you enjoy reading? Let us know your views in the comments section below