Thomas Nelson Publishers is one of the major Christian book publishers in the United States, yet it is not owned by a church. Every year, the firm claims to produce one-third of all Bibles printed in the globe. It also publishes best-sellers such as Nelson's Complete World Atlas and the NIV Study Bible.
Thomas Nelson Publishers was founded in 1834 by John Nelson and his three sons. The company originally produced Bibles but soon expanded into other genres as well, including books for children, college textbooks, poetry collections, novels, and more. Today, Thomas Nelson employs more than 1,000 people and operates out of their headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.
They print nearly 15 million copies of Scripture each year and are one of the largest Bible publishers in the world. Thomas Nelson is a member of the Evangelical Press Association (EPA).
According to the EPA, only eight other companies in the world can match or exceed Thomas Nelson's printing volume. These eight companies represent five different countries: China, India, Israel, South Korea, and Thailand.
China is the largest producer of Bibles in the world with over 70 million copies printed every year. Most Chinese Bibles are translated and published by independent groups without any connection to the government or any specific denomination.
The Bible, predictably, is at the top of the list. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, more than 5 billion copies of the Bible have been produced. Other religious writings on the list include the Quran, which has 800 million copies, and the Book of Mormon, which has 120 million.
The total number of books published in English alone is about 150,000, so the Bible accounts for about 2% of all books published in that language. However, the Bible is by far the most popular book among English-language readers: it is estimated that there are about 75 million Christians in over 200 countries who read the Bible regularly.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life, half or more of all Christian adults (depending on how "Christian" is defined) around the world have read the Bible. Other major religious texts that are widely read include the Qur'an (mostly by Muslims), the Bhagavad Gita (mostly by Hindus), and the Tao Te Ching (mostly by Chinese Buddhists).
In terms of sales, the Bible remains the best-selling book in the world, followed by the Qur'an. It must be noted that estimates regarding the numbers of copies that have been sold vary significantly between sources. For example, Guiness Book of Records claims that 5 billion copies of the Bible have been produced, while other estimates range from 100 to 250 billion.
The headquarters of Gideons International, the world's biggest Bible distributor, are located here. Last year, Gideons supplied 24 million Bibles printed in 55 languages to over 100 nations as well as hotels, motels, hospitals, and jails across the United States. The Gideons organization was founded by a group of German merchants who took Bibles with them when they came to the United States in 1881.
Gideons is a contraction of the words "gift" and "distributor," which describes its business model of giving out free Bibles with the intention of getting people to buy books by other publishers too. The company claims that it has distributed more than 160 billion Bibles since it started in 1881.
Today, almost all Bibles are printed by commercial companies, with only a few small religious groups like The Berean Testimony Church and Calvary Chapel Christian Center still printing their own versions. However, there is one major player in the industry that continues to distribute Bibles in boxes called "bundles." This company is called Gideons International and they have been doing so since 1881.
Every year, Gideons distributes about 25 million Bibles (in bundles of 20) around the world. The Bible is released in 55 languages, including English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, etc.
The Philadelphia plant printed Bibles for Gideons International, a Tennessee-based Bible distributor. In addition, the firm published medical publications as well as works from its own modest publishing line. Gideon Bibles have long been a feature in hotel rooms and other public settings in the United States.
Gideon's Army: The Story of the Israelites' Historic Victory Over the Midianites
By Michael Oren
Israel was just about to be annihilated by several nations who had sworn to destroy it forever when out of nowhere a tiny army led by a young man named Gideon defeats them all! Through divine intervention, God chooses an obscure tribe known as the Israelites to save his people from destruction. Despite their small size, the Israelites go on to become one of the greatest civilizations in history. In this fascinating book, acclaimed historian and former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, tells the dramatic story of Israel's survival from its earliest days until today.
Oren weaves together ancient history and modern politics to produce a compelling narrative that is also a call to action. He argues that only if we remember how God rescued his chosen people from slavery will we be able to claim his protection for ourselves. With insight and authority, Oren offers a persuasive argument that this small country, almost destroyed by its enemies, is what will save us if we let it.