TNIV – Where have all the bibles gone?

I have gone to 4 major Christian bookstores and have been unsuccessful in finding a TNIV. Only one out of 4 of the Christian bookstores that I went to carried the TNIV. Borders and Barns n’ Noble carried the TNIV, but I was only able to find just one or two copies. NIV is easy to find, as a matter a fact at one Christian bookstore they had 8 shelves of NIV bibles to choose from, in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles. TNIV is a great translation, and most experts will say that it is even better than the NIV. Why is not available at Christian Bookstores? I just read this update from Anwoth regarding bible sales. NIV continues to be the number 1 selling bible in both categories Dollar/Unit sales. But the TNIV did not even make the top 10 list. KJV is holding both 3, and 2 spot, and the NLT seems to be doing well.


This is disturbing news. Will the TNIV fall away because no one carries it? Or will it survive due to a grassroots movement? Zondervan does not seem to be pushing or properly marketing the TNIV as it’s main bible and continues to offer new and great products for NIV, but not TNIV.

The bible that I thought would fade away was the HCSB, but looking at both Dollar/Unit sales it appears to be doing excellent. It is holding both 2, and 3 positions.

The other interesting point was the drop for the ESV bible, down to 6th in both places. Other points of interest were Study or Specialty Bibles.  Wesley Study Bible (NRS) number two spot and it was just released in Feb. 2009?  I thought the ESV Study Bible was the number one best seller it comes in 9th place?  See for yourself who holds the number one spot, yet again another surprise.  For the full reports go to CBA Best Sellers List.


Based on what they say on their website they are only tracking sales at Christain Book stores.  So these charts do not give us a proper indication of true Dollars/Units sales.  It does not take into account sales from Amazon, or bookstores such as Borders.  I just wonder how much it would change if it did?

18 thoughts on “TNIV – Where have all the bibles gone?

  1. Robert, when I got my TNIV, I only had to go to two stores, but the second store I went to had four (4) copies. AND they were on the bottom shelf in the far corner. Not a very prestigious place for an entire wall and multiple shelves covered with Bibles.

    After I’d read through some of it and decided to get a copy for the media center, I went to CBD online and they had a slightly better selection. For the ease of not going on another hunt, that was the place to buy. I also noticed quite a few TNIVs on the sales table in a Books-a-million at Christmas.

    I don’t know how the numbers would change, but the fact that you can find things online and in secular stores that you can’t in the Christian bookstores has to make a difference.

  2. Robert, I have been told by an authority that I trust (?) that they are definitely not giving up on the TNIV, and in the near future we will be seeing better marketing of it.

    But I’m just as frustrated as you are. B&N is the only store here carrying it, and they only have three or four. To me, it seems that they need to market much more than the TNIVs for the younger generations; they need to make some that are more traditional, including with leather covers, larger print, two-columns and traditional center-column references just like they do with the NIV!

    At this point it looks to me like they are just sitting and watching the market, trying to decide how they want to do it, or even if they want to continue with the TNIV at all!

  3. I still see TNIVs on the bookshelves of Christian and secular bookstores here in Canada but I have to say that it’s not as popular as the NIV. I have to attribute this solely to Zondervan’s lack of marketing.

  4. Not out here in California. I own the Renaissance TNIV Reference bible, but I would like to have TNIV thin-line one as well to carry around and to church. I know I can easily order one over at Amazon, but I want to hold it and see what sort of quality it is. The one I really want to get only comes in NIV. I wrote Zondervan and all they responded with was the only Renaissance TNIV is the reference one.

    It’s just sad to see Christian Bookstores that won’t carry the TNIV.

  5. Nathan Stitt says:

    I get my book at amazon or cbd… cheaper than the bookstores. my local bookstores both carry the TNIV though, and a pretty good selection at that.

  6. I buy most of my books through Amazon, and In Christ Books (I try to support local bookstores), but for some reason these Christian book stores will not carry the TNIV, I am only left to guess and I can only think of one reason why.

  7. Gary, I hope you are right.

    The only other alternative for me would be the NLT as my primary readying bible, and HCSB. I just recently switched from HCSB to TNIV as my primary and I like to own a few copies of my primary bible. One to study with which tends to be a bigger bible. One to carry around like a thinline version but I just can’t find one that I like. The one I love only comes in NIV.

  8. Robert, it was reported on the Better Bibles Blog that Wayne Grudem, et al, lead a campaign desparaging the TNIV and wrote letters of protest to most major Christian bookstores convincing them to not sell the TNIV for any reason, and so I guess the bookstore owners/executives chose to believe Grudem, et al., and thus why you don’t see too many TNIV Bibles in the shelves.

  9. Nathan Stitt says:

    Well, initially there was a huge stink over the TNIV because of the Colorado guidelines thing. Unfortunately, Zondervan has not transitioned from the NIV to the TNIV, and so I think that the TNIV will never replace the original. In this case, I think the real reason has to do more with the massive amounts of money that Zondervan, as a publisher, makes on the NIV than it does with any other single factor.

    Perhaps if they had simply released the TNIV as a second edition as the NLT has done, and retained the NIV nomenclature, then none of this would have happened. I’m guessing that with the NLT and ESV making huge inroads that there will be another revision of the NIV in the next 5 years with a branding that is not the TNIV.

  10. Brian, why Christians would oppose a bible translations is beyond my comprehension.

    Nathan, if that is so and the NIV is revised I hope that it’s revisions are as good as the TNIV.

    I really hope that that TNIV does grow through a grass roots movement. My pastor uses it to preach from, and I have been using it to teach/preach from as well.

  11. that’s it nate – the NIV is Z’s cash cow – it’s not going anywhere – financially they probably can’t afford to giv it up.

    Robert – well if a translation offends one’s theology – then I guess that is what you do.

    I am exclusive TNIV now and the more I read it the more I can see what a great translation it is – (from the view of the biblical languages that is).

  12. Brian, I was never a fan of the NIV. But the TNIV has won me over. And like you the more I read it and study with it the more I like it.

    I finally began writing on my new TNIV Reference bible. I am trying to build a system for highlighting so that it just not random.

  13. There are few people who I would like to cuss about than Wayne Grudem and his cronies.

    Though, as you note, the TNIV has suffered since day one with marketing problems. For months all you could get were cheesy multi-colored ones that looked like “teen bibles.” Definitely hope they continue to fix that. Though it’s not the issue in my denomination. The “conservatives” are all pushing the ESV as an over-reaction to perceived “liberalism” and that dang liberal NRSV (which I love)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s