Surprise: Bible Readers Prefer Physical Over Digital Copy

Michael Foust | Contributor | Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Surprise: Bible Readers Prefer Physical Over Digital Copy

Americans’ access to digital books may be growing, but they still enjoy reading a physical copy of the Bible.  

A new Barna survey shows that 89 percent of Bible users in the United States read a physical version – a percentage that has remained steady the past eight years.

Reading the Bible on the Internet (57 percent) and on a smartphone (55 percent) remains popular, but a Barna report said Americans’ usage of a physical version is noteworthy.

“Little has changed in the preference for a physical copy of the scriptures in the last eight years since tracking began,” the Barna report said.

The survey findings are similar to those of a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, which discovered that 65 percent of Americans prefer a physical book and 28 percent an e-book. 

The Barna survey also found that:

  • 48 percent of Americans are considered Bible users. This is defined by Barna as using, listening to, praying or watching the Bible text in any format at least three to four times a year, outside of a church service.
  • 66 percent of Americans “express at least some curiosity to know more about what the Bible says,” including 29 percent who express a strong desire.
  • 58 percent of Americans “believe that the message of the Bible has transformed their life.”

“Americans still read the Word, and it remains a powerful, transformative tool in their life,” the report said.

Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog,

Publication Date: July 17, 2018

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

Surprise: Bible Readers Prefer Physical Over Digital Copy