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Common English Bible sets record

January 7, 2012

Have we commented on this already on our blog? Sorry if I missed this. HT Better Bibles Blog.

Common English Bible Is a Bestselling Translation in Record Time
Common English Bible

The new Common English Bible  is #10 on the CBA Bible Translation Best Seller list for the month of December. Since the list is based on actual unit sales in Christian retail stores in the United States through Oct. 29, 2011, the Common English Bible  achieved this status after being in stores less than three months.

“We’re delighted the Common English Bible is receiving such early overwhelming support and acceptance,” says Paul Franklin, PhD, associate publisher. “We see this as confirming our decision to create an academically rigorous yet naturally understandable translation for 21st century English readers; a translation from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that’s built on common ground.”

The best seller achievement comes at the same time the completion of the Common English Bible after four years of translation work was named one of the top 10 religion stories of 2011 as decided by leading religion journalists in the 30th annual Religion Newswriters Association survey. Read the rest here.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2012 8:44 pm

    I’m unimpressed.

    First, for CBA recording purposes, the CEB was not out for three months, it has been out since 2010.

    Second, the CEB was tenth for unit sales, but not for dollar sales, suggesting that many of the sales were of super-cheap editions.

    Third, the publisher (Abingdon Press) owns more than 70 of the bookstores that are canvassed by the CBA, the Cokesbury chain. (I believe that it is the second largest presence in the CBA, after Lifeway.) You can see how that can lead to all sorts of misstated sales figures. Even if the figures were not misreported, Abingdon/Cokesbury can manipulate them by understocking other Bibles, or by heavily discounting or promoting the CEB.

    Fourth, I do not see any sort of similar “surge” in Amazon Best Selling Christian Bible sales , which represent a much broader cross-section of the book-buying public (it also represents Kindle sales — note that the CEB is available at a low price for the Kindle). For example, we see that books that don’t make the CBA list, such as the US Catholic NABRE translation (currently #19 on the list), the New Oxford Annotated Bible (currently #22 on the list), the HarperCollins Study Bible (currently #23 on the list), the Jewish Annotated New Testament (currently #29 on the list — how was this ranked as a “Christian Bible”?), the NRSV Gospel Parallels (currently #44 on the list), the NET Bible (currently #53 on the list), an Interlinear Greek Bible (currently #62 on the list), the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (currently #64 on the list), the JPS Tanakh (currently #67 on the list — how was this ranked as a “Christian Bible”?), the New Interpreter’s Study Bible (currently #69 on the list), and the LDS Scriptures (currently #70 on the list) all come ahead of the CEB, which does not show up until item #96 on the list (just ahead of Santa Biblia, Antiguo y Nuevo Testamento.)

    I would hazard that if the CEB were really that popular, it might show up a little higher on the Amazon sales list.

    Of course sales figures do not necessarily reflect merit. I know that all of us on the blog have strong feelings about the CEB, and I hope we post reviews of it in due course.

  2. January 8, 2012 9:29 am

    “We see this as confirming our decision to create an academically rigorous yet naturally understandable translation for 21st century English readers.”

    I see this statement as begging the question. Is the CEB “academically rigorous”? Is it “naturally understandable”? Must we accept this inferred binary between rigor and understandability by 21 century English readers? And “this” report — which Theophrastus shares much light on in his comment — is “this” really a confirmation of what Dr. Franklin asserts it’s a confirmation of?

    The best thing about the CEB is its goal of ecumenism. The question is whether the CEB really does create a “bridge” between disparate groups of readers as is the “common” goal, articulated by Franklin on the CEB website.

  3. January 9, 2012 8:28 pm

    Kurk, I hope to address the question you raise through my examples in this series. I hope they also give an indication as to the overall quality and strengths and weaknesses of the CEB.

  4. January 10, 2012 10:50 am

    Theophrastus, Wow what a great post to introduce the series, which I’m very much looking forward to. (Hope to comment on that post – just a couple of thoughts – soon).

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