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Bible publishing 101: Christianity Today Q&A explains process

Published: Friday, May 31 2013 1:50 p.m. MDT

The NIV Student Bible by Christianity Today in partnership with Zondervan.

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As part of its nonprofit global media ministry, Christianity Today partners with publishers providing content for new Bible versions that the publishers in turn print and sell. Christianity Today recently released a question-and-answer piece with Cliff Johnson, its global publishing director and the man responsible for overseeing all of Christianity Today’s projects that fall under the umbrella of Bible publishing.

“For Bible projects started from the ground up, the editorial development alone can take anywhere from two to three years, often longer,” Johnson said. “It depends on the length of time it takes to develop the best concept, find the right content direction, line up the best writers for that content, and craft that content into the many different features within the Bible itself.

"Once we deliver final files to the publisher, it often takes the publisher another 12 to 15 months to do a final editorial review on the content, design the cover and interior layouts, place the content from each feature within the Bible text at the appropriate place and then send those files to a printer who will produce the actual physical product. Since many Bibles are produced in China or Korea, it takes an extra two to three months to get the product delivered back to the publisher's warehouse in the United States.”

The largest Bible publisher in America is Zondervan, with which Christianity Today partnered to produce the popular NIV Student Bible. Last year USA Today reported that Zondervan “offers about 800 different Bibles for adults and children. Additionally, it offers approximately 80 e-Bibles.”

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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