The Telegraph reports that a hotel in Newcastle is experimenting with replacing the Gideon’s Bibles in its rooms with Amazon Kindles pre-loaded with a copy of the Bible instead. These hotel Kindles will also have the ability to download a copy of any other religious text costing £5 (US $7.84) or less, or buy e-books that will then be added to their bill. (I would hope the e-books would also be added to that person’s own Amazon account so he could read them later at home, too, but the article doesn’t make that clear.)

The hotel’s general manager, Adam Munday, was inspired by Newcastle’s literary heritage as one of the largest print centers in Britain in the 18th century. “We wanted to reflect this literary history in a very contemporary way,” he said. If it’s a success, it could be expanded to other hotels in the chain.

I have mixed feelings about this. E-books are nice and all, very modern, but it seems to me e-readers can have some barriers to entry to people who’ve never used them before, especially in older generations. And for the purposes for which those Bibles are placed in hotel rooms, this might be one situation where a printed book would work better.

I’ve heard presentations at my parents’ church from Gideons, members of Gideons International who distribute Bibles to hotel rooms, and one of the things they mention is people who check into a hotel to consider suicide but then change their mind after picking up and thumbing through the Gideon’s Bible. It’s hard to imagine such a person doing that on an e-reader if he’s never used one before.

(Found via Engadget.)


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