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Kindles to replace Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms

Starting in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, the Good News is going mobile.

Heather Kelly

Heather Kelly

Published: July 06, 2012 05:37 AM GMT
Kindles to replace Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms

Last year, Gideons International distributed more than 84 million printed copies of the Bible around the world to students, hospitals, members of the military and, of course, hotels, where they are a ubiquitous sight in bedside tables. Starting this month, however, the InterContinental Hotels Group is modernizing that mission at one of its hotels, replacing the paper tomes with electronic versions of the Bible loaded on Kindle e-readers. Each of the 148 rooms at the chain's Hotel Indigo in Newcastle, England, will be outfitted with a Kindle with Wi-Fi. Guests can use the e-ink devices to catch up on scripture, as well as purchase and read any other books available in the Amazon Kindle store. The hotel was chosen for the pilot program because of its rich literary and publishing history: It's a few blocks from the Philosophical Society of Newcastle, one of the largest independent libraries in the UK. If it's a success, InterContinental could expand it to other locations, and other hotels might follow its lead. The hotel's Bible-on-a-Kindle initiative has no connection to Gideons, a Tennessee-based Evangelical group and association of Christian professional men founded in 1899. However, the nonprofit group has no reservations about the hotel's program. "Anything to put the Bible in people's hands is a good thing," Gideons spokesman Ken Stephens said. "It is a fascinating idea, and I'm sure somehow, some way, its time will come for us. But right now just the paper version is the best for what we do." Stephens pointed out that paper books are more economical for large-scale distribution. Each Gideons Bible costs the organization about $5 to print and distribute. Although there are many free e-book versions of the Bible floating around online, a 6-inch Kindle e-reader retails in the U.S. for $109 (or about $139 in the UK). Given the high price tag, Hotel Indigo is keeping close tabs on the devices. Just like with fluffy hotel robes, the full cost of any pilfered Kindle will be charged to a guest's credit card. Full Story: Hotel replaces printed Bibles with KindlesSource:CNN

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