How The Bible Industry Makes Its Fortune
from the thou-shalt-target-niches dept
Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it happens to be a best-seller year after year, which in itself casts some doubt on the idea that strict copyright protection is needed to protect the publishing business. Of course, it's not so black and white; the Bible is arguably in a class all of its own, in terms of books, while modern books have authors that demand payment and other such considerations. But the fact that the words (or The Word) aren't protected means the industry must find a different model than the one enjoyed by most traditional book publishers. Because the basic content is a commodity, much of the money is in targeting specific niches, such as bibles for families, surfers and teenage girls (which attempt to co-opt some of the style of a glossy teen magazine). The publishers add value by packing in extra content that imbue the subject matter with Biblical inspiration. The Bible is also used as a platform for new products, like a biblically inspired cooking publication (does it have a recipe for Ezekiel 4:9 bread?). Of course, these specific versions and spin-offs do have copyright protection, which makes the intellectual property question a bit murkier. But the model does suggest that when the typical mode of business is unavailable, the industry will seek out a new approach. In this case, it's had the positive effect of leading to more variety and specialization.