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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Smoking May Damage Bible Production
Demand for Cigarette Paper Increases Printing Costs

By Wolfgang Polzer
Special to ASSIST News Service

STUTTGART (ANS) -- There are at least two good reasons to stop smoking. Number one: It may damage your health. Number two: It raises the production costs for bibles.

The Chinese craving for cigarettes is responsible for rising paper costs in bible printing, according to the business manager of the German Bible Society, Felix Breidenstein.

Because of the rising demand for cigarette paper in China the special thin paper used in bible printing is getting more expensive, as Breidenstein told the German news magazine Der Spiegel.

The German Bible Society sells approximately 400,000 bibles per year. To cut costs the books are printed not only in Germany but also in Brazil, Indonesia and China.

The Bible Society is one of only a few publishing houses which offer the bible in the original languages – Hebrew and Greek. In fact it is the world leader in this field, says Jan A. Buehler, General Secretary of the German Bible Society.

The complete bible is currently available in 429 languages, parts of the “Book of Book” in 2,426. That kind of distribution is far ahead of other best selling books, for instance Harry Potter.

In Germany, however, the market for bibles is saturated and stagnating. Most households own at least one bible, although it is probably gathering dust on the bookshelf.

By comparison, books written by the German Pope Benedict XVI are selling like hotcakes. Even secular bookstores have a special “Pope rack” with Joseph Ratzinger’s works, according to Juergen M. Schymura, executive director of the Catholic Bible Association.


Wolfgang Polzer (56), is senior news editor of the Evangelical News Agency idea, Wetzlar (Germany), which he joined in 1981. In all, he has spent 30 years in Christian media. Wolfgang can be contacted by e-mail at: Wolfgang.Polzer@idea.de.

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