Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bible Rankings by sales, 2011

 Bible Translations - Based on Unit Sales   (March 2011)

     1        New International Version                        (TNIV)
     2        New Living Translation                             (NLT)
     3        King James Version                               (KJV)
     4        New King James Version                       (NKJV)

     5        English Standard Version                          (ESV)
     6        Reina Valera 1960 (Spanish)   
     7        Holman Christian Standard Bible            (HCSB=NRSV)   
     8        The Message   
     9        New American Standard Bible updated    (NASBu)
     10      Other Translations   

The newest listing is interesting.

(1) Its no surprise that the NIV is at the top, since about 60% of all modern book sales is based on promotion budgets and campaigns, and the NIV is the flagship for many Bible publishers.   The NLT is again one of the longest running easy modern translations, popular with many for whom English is a second language.  Number 6 isn't really an English translation, but is of interest to a growing Spanish-speaking population in the USA, hence its inclusion by the CBA Listing.

(2) The actual numbers aren't given, but its a good bet that collectively the KJV and NKJV would still outrank sales in numbers of any other single version, in English-speaking countries of the West at least.

(3) The "Holman" Bible was originally meant to follow the KJV NT text (i.e., the TR or Majority Text) but the originator and editor Farstad died shortly after the project began, and those who took over switched to the UBS text.

(4) The NASB and CEV have slid down and off the chart respectively, in part because the Spanish version was inserted (out of place here), but mainly because these older translations have lost promotional investment to newer versions.

(5) The suprise is the NLT, which has probably moved up for a few reasons: (a) it has won 2nd place in the 'modern version' race due to its longstanding history, (b) it is one of the popular versions purchased by educational institutions and liberal denominations, (c) money has been invested in promoting it, especially among Roman Catholics in North America, (d) it is the default '2nd language=English' translation for new immigrants to NA.



  1. Can you please sight your reference for this? I'm guessing this is based off of 2010 data?

  2. Yes, this is what I was looking for - but it is worthless without any reference cited - did you make this up?