Trump's next round of China tariffs could lead to a U.S. Bible shortage

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The Bible is easily the best-selling book in the U.S., and religious publishing houses are warning that President Trump's next proposed round of Chinese tariffs could result in a Bible shortage, making the Good Book more expensive for American consumers and hurting Christian evangelization efforts, The Associated Press reports.

"U.S. printers moved their Bible printing facilities abroad decades ago, leaving no substantial domestic manufacturing alternatives," Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, told the U.S. Trade Representative recently. He added that HarperCollins, which owns the two largest U.S. Bible publishers, believes the Trump administration "never intended to impose a 'Bible Tax' on consumers and religious organizations." Combined, HarperCollins' Zondervan and Thomas Nelson commands 38 percent of the U.S. Bible market, and they incur about 75 percent of theirs Bible manufacturing costs in China.

Overall, about half of the world's Bibles are printed in China, and "traditionally, historically books have been excluded from tariffs," Evangelical Christian Publishers Association president and CEO Stan Jantz told AP. Bible printing also doesn't address Trump's stated concerns about Chinese business practices, Tyndale House CEO Mark Taylor noted. "The printing of books does not require significant technology or know-how that is at risk of theft or appropriation by China."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.