About two weeks ago, the Church announced that Doubleday would be publishing a new edition of the Book of Mormon for general readers. How does it differ from the one that you and I use?
“The new hardcover edition will reflect design changes introduced by Doubleday to make the volume more easily read and understood by a non-Mormon audience, but will remain faithful to the text itself. For example, the new edition will not include the exhaustive cross-references and index included in the volume used by Church members.”
The list price of this new book is $24.95 (though you can pre-order on Amazon for $16.97). Hmm … less for more. Not the usual marketing pitch, but Sheri Dew, who played a crucial role in getting the project off the ground, believes that the new book fills a niche:
The purpose of this project is to extend the reach of the Book of Mormon. I have wished a dozen times for a book to give away that is more substantial than the standard blue softback BOM, but less expensive and less intimidating than the leather-bound set. This edition fills that gap. Furthermore, if you’re not a Church member, aside from calling the missionaries where do you get a Book of Mormon? This commercial edition will be on shelves in Barnes & Noble, in airport shops-all over the country. It’s there with the Bible, the Koran, and the Talmud as real religious literature.
Elder Eyring shares this view: “The new edition uses the authorized text, so buying new scriptures is not necessary. However, many members may feel that this new edition would be an ideal gift for friends who are not members of the Church.”
When I first heard about this project, I was a real skeptic, but the idea is growing on me. I agree with the implicit assumption underlying Sheri Dew’s and Elder Eyring’s statements: the current editions of the Book of Mormon are offputting for many people who are new to the Church. I can think of a half dozen people who may get one of these from me.