How Many Bibles Are Really Sold Each Year?

The Bible, as a book, has collected many "best of" titles. Guinness World Records claimed it is the top-selling and most-distributed tome worldwide. Plus, the good book lands on lists as one of the oldest ever published, including the Gutenberg Bible, printed sometime between 1454-1455 A.D. by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany, according to Wigan Lane Books. It's the first book created with movable type in that western region. In fact, several religious texts appear on such listings as well, including the Scotland's Book of Kells, featuring 11th century psalms; the Diamond Sūtra, a Buddhist book that many believe take top honors as the oldest printed scroll; and a Jewish siddur from 840 A.D.

The Bible, though, contains more than one book. It consists of two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament, that offer an assortment of songs, poetry, and stories. The text took a long time to write; the Old Testament from 1200-165 B.C., and the New Testament in the first century A.D. In addition, it represents the work of a number of contributors, according to the BBC. The first five books of the Old Testament are sometimes attributed to the Jewish leader Moses, who brought the Israelites away from Egypt. The Old Testament's books include well-known stories of Job and Ruth, along with psalms and proverbs. The New Testament is made up of 27 books and talks about Jesus and his teachings.

In modern times, people have access to full Bibles in 717 languages, according to Wycliffe Bible Translators. Think that's a lot of Bible types? You have no idea.

Publishers make bank with Bible sales

Bible demand has made it a top-selling book for a long time. Guinness World Records quotes a Bible Society survey that said some 2.5 billion copies were printed between the years 1815 and 1975, although Guinness claimed the number might be more than 5 billion. Some 20 million Bibles get purchased annually in the United States alone, according to Brandon Gaille in 2017, with 92% of all Americans possessing one (or more — the average Christian has nine) copies of the good book. In total, the holy book moves 100 million copies, asserted Add to that the fact that Gideons International alone distributed more than 59 million Bibles, free, in 2016. (Yes, the Bible in that hotel room.)

While bound, printed copies of the Bible still sell, competition is rising from the digital world, with 24 million Bible apps becoming available between January and June 2020 and online searches with Bible keywords reaching a five-year record, said the American Bible Society in its State of the Bible. "It's a whole new ball game in Bible publishing," said John Farquhar Plake, director of the Society's Ministry Intelligence Team, to Publisher's Weekly. Soon, we'll measure Bible sales in downloads.