Where was your Bible printed?

Yesterday I started a series to bring you companies that produce products in the United States, with U.S. materials and workers, which started me considering where all of our books are printed. I didn’t say published, I said printed. Undoubtedly, most of the books and Bibles on your shelves are from publishers in the U.S., so at first glance it appears that you have purchased a book produced in the USA. To find out where it was actually printed though, you need to go to the copyright page (near the front where the ISBN is located), look through the small print near the bottom and it will say “printed in …”.

I did a very small sample of our books – children’s books, Bibles, textbooks – and found that about 50% were actually printed in the USA. You will not be helped by relying on one publisher though, as books from the same company were printed here in the U.S. and in other countries as well. Example: we have several Bibles that were published by Zondervan’s Publishing House (Grand Rapids, Michigan), and they were produced in the U.S., Korea, and China (I was most bothered that our favorite children’s Bible was printed in China).

Granted, there are some books in which there are no options other than not having it in your library, but when it comes to Bibles, we do have a choice, and I plan on letting the publishers know that if they have any Bibles produced outside of the United States, that I will not purchase it. Publishing companies located in the United States should be manufacturing their products here with U.S. workers.

I will certainly be checking inside books before I purchase them from now on.


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  1. Just for kicks, I checked out the books that I had in my bookbag with me:

    Bible…printed in Belgium
    A fiction book…printed in the US
    A classic…printed in the US
    A Christian classic…printed in the US
    A textbook…printed in Canada
    Another textbook…printed in the US
    A third textbook…printed in the US

    Another item of note: I’m going to break my back carrying books I don’t need. Two of those books I finished weeks ago.

  2. One thing I remember from my past experience in publishing is that most full-color children’s books are printed in China. If the children’s Bibles you’re looking at have lots of full-color illustrations, I would bet that’s the reason they’re being made in China. There are very, very few printers in the U.S. who can affordably offer that kind of printing service. There are some large printing houses in China that specialize in this type of book, however (for some of them, it’s the only type of book they print) and so they are able to offer it at a reasonable price. If you were to take your average, color-illustration children’s book to a book printer in the U.S., you would find that even with a large print run, it would cost more than the retail price of the book just to have it printed.

  3. Checking a few of mine (I intentionally try to avoid Zondervan) …

    The MacArthur Study Bible – by Word Publishing, a division of Thomas Nelson, “Printed in he United States of America”

    Ryrie Study Bible – by Moody Press, Chicago, “Printed in the United States of Chicago”

    The King James Study Bible – by Thomas Nelson, “Printed in the United States of America”

  4. Hi Rob … I don’t know about that, because the children’s books (other than the Bible and one “I can read” book) were more likely to have been printed in the USA than my books.

  5. I think that Rob is right to a certain extent. Board books are almost exclusively manufactured in Asia. Many children’s books that say published in USA may actually be printed somewhere else and then bound here or something like that.

    My Daily Bible is printed in the USA.

    I went through a stack of library books. Most of the newer ones were printed in Asia (8 to 2). The older ones were printed in the USA and Asia about equally.

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  7. Let’s see …

    Wiggle’s NIV Adventure Bible lists “Printed in the USA”

    Tickle’s Teen Study Bible says “Printed in the United States of America”

    I grabbed two of my NIV’s, each of which was printed in the USA.

    I have some non-NIV copies around; I can check on those.

  8. Things printed in China smell funny. I was very upset to learn a Bible I purchased as a gift for a friend was printed in China. It smells gross. I’m going to try to buy American from now on since the quality is better. I would never trust China to make anything.

  9. I’m with you. I recently was burned when I bought a Scofield Study Bible with a premium cover only to receive a Bible that was so poorly constructed that it would have been identified as a “second quality” product had it been made in the US. I felt especially bad because I paid a premium price looking to get a product I could use for a long time. Instead I wasn’t even satisfied on the first day.

  10. Just purchased a parallel bible (AMP/NKJV) by Zondervan from Amazon, only to find out that it was printed in China. Returned it and suggested that Amazon add a country of origin in the item description. Also let Zondervan know how disappointed I was with there choice of printing bibles in China. I would have never thought a bible would be printed in China…silly me:-(

    • It is sad that Zondervan’s based in Grand Rapids Michigan let’s China do their printing. Very little actual book publishing in Grand Rapids anymore. šŸ™

  11. Unfortunately for publishers big box retailers such as Walmart dictate pricing. They do not ask what a Bible cost, they tell you what they will buy it for. The publisher has to work backwards to meet the price to sell to the stores. US printers cannot meet the pricing these stores demand and stay in business. The publisher can either give up 60% of their sales and distribute through traditional sources, or meet the pricing by printing overseas. Reducing sales would mean reducing the workforce, resulting in the lose of thousands of US jobs, in an industry that has already contracted to all time lows.

  12. I under stand we would like to keep USA, working but more importantly we must keep bible production at its peak, now that we have electronics the demand to buy a bible has decrease. and when these devices fail us what then?

  13. Onemom standing for faith, family, freedom but not free trade. America is not the world and there’s a lot of things that the rest of the world does better than the USA. You need to wake up to that or it won’t just be the Chinese that overtake you – and then where will your faith or freedom be?

    • Big difference between “free trade” and “fair trade”. Our trade practices benefit the rest of the world. If I choose to buy USA made products whenever possible, that’s not destroying my faith, my family or my freedom.

  14. ESV, Crossway Classic thin line edition. Printed in CHINA. ESV, Crossway, large print, compact edition. Printed in CHINA. I am so disturbed by this. NRSV, with Apocrypha, Oxford Press. Printed in the Netherlands, on acid free paper. NLT, Tyndale, Discover God’s Word Study Bible. Printed in the USA. NIV, Zondervan, Thinline Bible, Busy Mom’s Edition. Printed in CHINA. NASB, Lockman Foundation, Text Edition. Printed in the USA. NLT, Tyndale Chronological Life Application Study Bible. Printed in ITALY.

  15. James Anderson

    OneMom, your Q&A “Where was your Bible printed?” starts out saying you want companies that produce products in the United States, with U.S. materials and workers. >>> It is easy to find the actual Printing Company in the USA. >>> but were the trees grown and havested in the USA; was the wood pulp formed into paper in USA, was the ink’s raw material processed in the USA, was the ink mixed in the USA. It is the bindery in the USA with the labor of USA citizens: What about the Hard-bound covers that include thread, glue, chipboard, ribbon, endsheets outer-wraps. boxes; …….. The “actual cost” to print on paper is very small, compared to the cost of the labor & materals to produce a “book.” (I have been a Print Estimator for several commerial printers: New York, Oregon, California, Colorado, and Florida.)

    • Well James, most of us are not print estimators. My only point is looking at jobs. We are making less and less in this country and that’s a large segment of our population struggling to find meaningful work with a living wage.

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