actually did a bit of research to gather material for the article, including
making contact with the Ikea head office and seeking out statistics from
various Bible societies.
estimates differed, it seemed possible that more than 100 million Bibles
were being distributed worldwide each year. Concerning distribution of the
Ikea catalog, I wrote that “it topped 100 million for the first time in
2001, with the 2003 version – that’s the one shortly to arrive in your
mailbox - requiring a printing of 115 million.”
actually thought my finished article had something pertinent to say, and
after posting it on my site I sent out emails to various other bloggers
alerting them to it.
hardly anyone seemed to pay much attention, and the article quickly went
into my archives, relatively unnoticed.
something happened – very gradually it got linked to by lots of other sites,
and traffic to the article started to build. Within a couple of years it was
by far the most popular commentary on my site, attracting hundreds of
visitors each week.
me a while to work out where all this traffic was coming from. To my
amazement, it eventually turned out that one of the main sources was
this Wikipedia entry, “Quotations
From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung,” which links to my article and says about Mao’s
Little Red Book that,
estimated number of copies in print well exceeds one billion, certainly a
record in mainland China (although, worldwide, its publication is a distant
second to the Bible, or third if all publications and printings of the
annual Ikea catalog are counted as a book).
sources were various websites devoted to Ikea products, and it seems there
are plenty of these.
result now is that if you enter “bible
+ ikea catalog” into Google, my article comes up first, out of 178,000
So is the
article still relevant?
noted that, back in 2001, distribution of the Ikea catalog topped 100
million for the first time.
year’s edition reached 160 million.
years ago I wrote about Ikea, that,
It already has
around 150 stores in 22 countries. In 1997 it opened in Shanghai, two years
later in Beijing and a year after that in Moscow. It sees these stores as
stepping stones for further penetration of those countries. It is gearing up
to enter Japan. The catalogue printing run is set to soar.
Now the company
operates 225 stores in 33 countries.
I think the conclusion
I wrote then is as relevant as before:
Japan. Western Christians are spending heavily to reach people in such
countries with the Gospel. Will we win hearts as readily as Ikea?
November 1st, 2005