The King James version of the Bible turned 400 last year, and to celebrate, a new, 1,500-page edition has been printed. Retailing at $120 AUS, the book is flying off the shelves down under, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Prized for its collectible value, the volume is also like manna from heaven to traditional booksellers, with bookstores in Australia reporting waiting lists for the title, which literary critic Melvyn Bragg says has had a greater influence on the English language than Shakespeare.
”We’re selling them as fast as we can get them,” said Christian Hummelshoj, deputy manager at Abbey’s Bookshop. ”We won’t have any to put on the shelf for a few months at least.”
Customers were buying the King James Bible (commonly abbreviated as KJV) to nurture both historical and religious interests, he said.
Sales of religious texts tend to spike around Christmas and Easter, said Betty Hew of Oxford University Press, which distributes the KJV locally. Fewer than 100 copies were first ordered from Britain but in the ”past couple of months we’ve been getting heaps of orders ¦ word has been spreading.” Just like the Gospel.