Small enough to fit into a suitcase, this new system helps Christians who are living in extremely harsh conditions, facing severe persecution, to print in very small quantities without attracting any attention.
If one location becomes too risky for printing operations to continue, the mini Print On Demand system can be moved quickly and easily to a more secure location.
“Some minority language groups are so small that printing Bibles on a regular printing press would be exorbitantly expensive. These precious people could be forced to wait years before the funds are raised to print Bibles for them,” says Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “Bible translators may actually have handwritten copies of the Scriptures, or digital copies, but they’re not accessible to multitudes. They can’t read and study God’s Word for themselves, simply for lack of printed copies.”
Print On Demand is a compact, high-speed, digital printing system that Wycliffe Associates trains local Christians to operate and maintain. Using a flash drive containing Scriptures in their own language, local believers can quickly print what they need to be distributed to their churches.
Where large quantities of Bibles are needed, and where it’s safe to print and distribute them, full-scale units can produce a large volume of copies quickly and efficiently.
In addition, Print On Demand systems also back up all data so that even if a printing unit is destroyed, the translation work is completely protected and immediately available for publication on another Print On Demand unit.
The Print On Demand systems are helping meet the growing demand for Bibles. In July of this year, teams began translating the Scriptures in 58 more languages. Print On Demand units make it possible to produce Bibles immediately, once the translation work is complete.
“The requests for these systems far exceed what we had ever imagined,” says Smith. “One translation team is printing so many Bibles for their countrymen, they’ve asked for a fresh shipment of printing ink—$40,000 worth.”
In some regions, a single Print On Demand system is being used by as many as six different language groups.
“My hope and prayer is to provide at least a mini Print On Demand system for every translation workshop so that no one has to wait for God’s Word,” says Smith.
Wycliffe Associates wants to set up 29 more Print On Demand systems in areas where the need is greatest. This would include 18 full-scale systems, at a cost of $15,000 each, and 11 mini systems at $3,000 each.
“In spite of the danger, translators are actually asking for multiple Print On Demand units so they can print and distribute massive quantities of Bibles immediately,” says Smith. “They are willing to risk everything to share God’s Word with their people.”