New sales figures indicate that the Bible has experienced a dramatic surge in sales as readers search for hope amid the current coronavirus pandemic.
Book sales data provider Nielsen BookScan said that Biblical and liturgical texts had been rapidly climbing the charts in recent weeks, noting that the clear uptick in purchases was an "unusual pattern in comparison to the same period in recent years."
Nielsen added that the closure of churches is likely to be a factor, before adding that "perhaps people are turning to scripture for comfort in these abnormal and melancholy times...or perhaps people are curious as to whether the coronavirus is prophesied in Revelations.”
Tomás Kenny of the Galway's large independent bookshop "Kennys," told the Times that their sales figures were “totally different to normal."
He added: “We have seen a big increase in religious and spirituality titles, particularly the Bible.
"Fiction, education, baking books and the big literary classics people were always trying to get around to are selling totally out of proportion to normal.”
Earlier this month, American publisher LifeWay Christian Resources said it had experienced a 62 percent sales increase compared to this time last year.
"We believe this is no accident, as people often go to the Bible as a source of hope in times of crisis and uncertainty," said Ben Mandrell, LifeWay's CEO. "People draw hope from Scripture because in it they see a God who is with us during our suffering."
Mandrell added: "The Bible, as God's words to us, is a reminder that He doesn't leave us to walk through difficult times alone."
Fellow faith-based publisher Tyndale is also seeing an increase in BIble sales.
Jim Jewell, communications director of Tyndale House Publishers, said: "It’s not surprising that people turn to the comfort and clarity of the Bible in times of trouble and uncertainty.
"We have been seeing this at Tyndale House during the last month, with strong Bible sales and engagement on our social media platforms."