Major Trade Publisher to Produce First Commercial Book of Mormon

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“Major Trade Publisher to Produce First Commercial Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Sept. 2004, 75

Major Trade Publisher to Produce First Commercial Book of Mormon

For the 174 years that the Book of Mormon has been in publication, the world has received it through the efforts of members and missionaries who have distributed it. But now a new option has come along.

In November, Doubleday, a publishing firm based in New York, will become the first major trade publisher to produce an official, commercial edition of the book. Until now, all other official distribution has been through the Church.

Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that the First Presidency had authorized the new publication, feeling this would allow the sacred volume to be more readily obtained by the general public at such places as airport bookstores and through major popular retail outlets and their Web sites. The availability of the Book of Mormon in bookstores is not expected to detract from the efforts of full-time and member missionaries.

Since Doubleday approached the Church about the idea more than a year ago, they have been working with the Church to make sure the text remains true to the authorized edition already in use by Church members.

“The new edition uses the authorized text, so buying new scriptures is not necessary,” Elder Eyring said. “However, many members may feel that this new edition would be an ideal gift for friends who are not members of the Church.”

The new edition will be a hardcover version with design changes introduced to make the book easier to read and understand for an audience outside of the Latter-day Saint culture. It will not include the cross-references, index, and footnotes used in the editions available in Church distribution centers. The two-column format will be replaced by a single column, intended to make the book easier to read.

One addition to the book includes a seven-page Reference Guide to help orient the reader who may not be familiar with the Church or its teachings. It will outline key events, ideas, and people. The book will be priced at U.S. $24.95.

“The Mormon faith has become one of the largest in America,” said Doubleday Religion Division Vice President Michelle Rapkin. “We’re proud to be the first publisher to bring this vitally important work to bookstores across the country.”

Because the Latter-day Saint faith is growing so rapidly, many people are interested in reading the book, Ms. Rapkin told the Salt Lake Tribune. But because most general-interest bookstores don’t carry the Church’s version, copies of the book aren’t always easy to find.

Since its initial printing in English in 1830, the Book of Mormon has been translated into 72 languages, beginning with Danish in 1851. Selections of it have been printed in an additional 32 languages.