The number-one selling book of all time is now thought to be in danger of becoming limited in the US.
The scare comes after the newly proposed tariff on imported goods from China, where the majority of American Bibles are published, according to the William Perkins, the Miss. Baptist Convention Board’s editor at the Baptist Record.
“So much of the printing, like many of our industrial efforts, have gone to China,” Perkins said. “I think 58-percent of the Bibles are printed in China now.”
According to Perkins, the proposed 25-percent hike in cost on getting the Holy Bibles from China, among other goods, could limit the purchasing ability of the books, by those who distribute them.
“Bibles are going to cost a lot more in the United States. If you were paying, let’s just say $10 for a Bible and there’s a 25-percent tariff, which would be $2.50, the $12.50 for 100,000 Bibles, instead of $10 per Bible, could really add up. IT could really affect the ministry plan for distributing those Bibles.”
Perkins further notes the irony in Chinese atheists producing America’s Bibles.
“China is officially atheist, so that’s why I said it’s ironic to think that an officially atheist country has almost a corner on the Bible.”
For now, the tariff proposal is on hold and in negotiation between America and China.
“The president is hoping to get the Chinese government’s attention, if he has to impose his tariffs,” Perkins said. “From what I understand from secular news reports, the president believes that the country has been mistreated by China, very unfairly, when it comes to business practices, and what he’s said publicly, is he would like there to be balance for both countries to benefit from a relationship and not just one country; China.”
So, if the tariff takes effect and hinders distribution, many ask couldn’t America publish Bibles themselves?
“Under our free-enterprise capitalist system, somebody will pick it up, if it becomes a way for them to make money or maybe they just want to see the word of God distributed, then I think someone it America would pick it up,” Perkins said.
“If it gets to a level where Americans can publish Bibles as inexpensively as the Chinese, then I’m sure some of that will come back over here- we’re seeing that in a few other industries, you know, Apple has brought iPhone production back to America.”
So, should people here in the Bible belt be concerned?
“One thing’s for sure; a movement of God will never be stopped,” Perkins said. “So, if Bibles cannot be obtained from one source, if it is a movement of God, Bible distribution will come from another source.”
“Christians aren’t really concerned about being halted in the advancement of Christianity, because it’s in God’s hands- we trust Him to open doors and we trust Him to close doors. If it is of God’s will, then it cannot be stopped.”