Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Floating Book Fair / Exhibit / Mission

A ship containing a Christian books store calls on ports in Africa and Asia (see Doulos; a sister-ship sails Central and South American waters). Local press releases tout its scheduled stop this week in Chennai, India, as an "international Christian book fair." The merchandise includes
high-quality imported Indian Bibles in gilt edges, genuine leather bound, personalised versions in sizes, varying from large church editions to ultra small personal pocket Bibles. ... The Fair would also feature some exceptional Bibles like the largest, heaviest, smallest, waterproof, steel grip and personalised Bibles. ... In the personalised Bible, the reader's name appears 7000 times.
Other stories feature the floating store as "a floating book store for bibliophiles," "a book fair full of surprises," and "The Biggest Bible on display at Chennai Book Fair." A 2005 story in WikiNews about the ships emphasized that they bring books to people in regions otherwise without access to them.

Beyond the obvious use of iconicly crafted scriptures both as merchandise and as merchandizing display, the ships and the media coverage they willingly receive vividly illustrate how the interest in books in general, and scriptures in particular, reaches across cultural and religious boundaries. Iconic books have therefore always been useful tools for missionary work.

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