Is it “unbiblical” to charge money for digital copies of the Bible?

A person, who goes by Dougie Quick on Amazon, has left me a scathing review with only 2 stars. I will reprint his entire review below but first I would like to invite discussion in the comments about whether “it is unbiblical to charge money” for “digital copies of the KJV Bible.” On another note, there are hundreds of free KJV Bibles available on the Internet, including on Also, if you can’t afford the OSNOVA edition of the Bible but would really like it for your Kindle, please send me an email and I will send you a copy for free.

On a lighter note, OSNOVA could have charged the price of this book, but didn’t.  That should count for something.


Review by Dougie Quick on Amazon:

I just can not warm up to the idea of someone making money on digital copies of the KJV Bible. It is unbiblical to charge money although I see nothing wrong with asking for donations to help in ongoing improvements. For years and years the Online Bible for your computer has been totally free to download with folks constantly tweaking and improving things just for the love of getting it out to folks. The Bible is not just another book if you want to make money pick some other books, not the Bible. It would be better there were NONE available yet than to charge because that would encourage all sorts of folk with the proper mindset to leap into action. As it stands I would not doubt for a second that there are roadblocks to folks desirous to get free open source editions of the KJV Bible onto Kindle as well as the other readers. Again the Bible is NOT anything like all the other books, the arguments that seem right fair for other literature simply do NOT apply with the Scriptures! By all means ask for donations if money is needed but for your own sake even do not think to make your living in bringing the Bible to your fellow man! I am not accusing any individual(s) specifically, I guess what I am saying is this looks bad so far, what is going on? Has anyone tried to simply adapt the online Bible to Kindle? How hard can it be?



Filed under Discussion

18 responses to “Is it “unbiblical” to charge money for digital copies of the Bible?

  1. Bill

    Attitudes like this irk me. The following was my response to his comment. I posted this on Amazon:

    I do not understand how you arrive at the conclusion that it is unbiblical to change money for a copy of the scriptures. Would you say the same thing about a physical copy? There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into producing a product like this, whether it is on dead tree or live bytes. Would you deny those who labor from receiving a just compensation from their labors? Do you work, and if so do you take a salary or only ask for donations? Please consider: For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:18

    OSNOVA has put a ton of work to format the scriptures and to develop not one but two methods of fast navigation. My first thought on using the works he publishes was that he was charging too little. Also, he is quick to respond to any questions or problem. All this work takes time and deserves compensation. He is also continuing to produce books that will greatly benefit those who use them and he deserves support to continue this work.

    If you would not tell the men & women who work the printing presses to print bibles, who layout and proof read the bibles, who ship the bibles, who staff the stores that sell the bibles, etc. that they shouldn’t get a salary for the work they do and only hope for donations then you shouldn’t ask OSNOVA to.

  2. cpa491

    We all have the freedom of choice, whether we want to pay for the convenience and service provided by Osnova WordPress, or not. Dougie Quick would rather not pay for such quality service. Perhaps he should watch one or more of the video versions of “Christmas Carol” Merry Christmas to all, including Dougie Quick.

  3. Bev

    The OSNOVA prices are not outrageous. I’m sure there is much time involved in making those Bibles available for Kindle, and for keeping the information on the website current. And as Bill wrote, the response to questions and problems is very fast with a willingness to resolve whatever the problem is. I understand Dougie’s viewpoint, however. When you compare an OSNOVA Kindle Bible to, for example, a free (donation) program like e-Sword, even $4.99 seems outrageous. But those two things cannot be fairly compared. I use e-Sword daily and have made multiple donations. But I also am very pleased and thankful for the several OSNOVA products I have on my Kindle.

  4. I find it more offensive that people think its wrong to charge for a Bible. The Word of God is the most valuable thing to me. Scriptures say that where your treasure is, that’s where your heart it. If someone has a problem putting their money towards the Word of God, then their heart really isn’t into the Word of God.

    People don’t complain about paying for a secular book, or magazine, or movie, because they value the entertainment from it. I value what the Word gives me, so I am more than happy to pay $5.00 (which costs about the same as a value meal at McDonalds) for the Word which can change my life.

    Thank you for your work, don’t let others opinions offend you. For every one guy who doesn’t appreciate what you do, there are 5 who do.

  5. Lane

    Some people just cannot be happy about anything. Apparently Dougie doesn’t understand that the buyer is not paying so much for the text of the Scripture, but for the formatting and the DJV programming. There ARE free versions available, but they don’t have the DJV, so that’s the difference. I think $4.99 is extremely reasonable. You deserve to be paid for your time & talent.

  6. toddes

    I’m a little late coming to the discussion but I heartily disagree with the Amazon reviewer, Dougie Quick. What one pays for with a public domain title (such as the KJV) is the time and effort to provide a well-formatted, easily navigable ebook. While I have not (yet) purchased one of the OSNOVA bibles, it will be done in the very near future. I just have to decide which version.

    Thank you and GOD bless you for work.

  7. Michelle

    Hi Osnova, Dougie is entiled to his opinion. But he must not be aware there are free Kindle versions of KJV available online. I like your work due to the formatting, links, and navigation. Has anyone purchased the Complete Matthew Henry Commentary by Osnova? Its wonderful! You clearly do a lot of work on your items and I am more than happy to pay the nominal prices you charge. I have this site bookmarked to check freq for new items you completed :-). Im taking a look at your Study Bible now. God Bless you and yours!

  8. Scott

    I think that free enterprise is a good, honest, Christian way to run a business. If you don’t have income, then you can’t continue in business. The workman is worth his wage.

  9. Sherry Brewer

    I agree with the folks who understand that your work is not that of “writing” the Bible, but that of making the Bible navigatable on the Kindle. I have several versions of the Bible that have been Kindle-ized. None of them (even mobi) is set up to quickly navigate to a chapter and verse. Therefore, they are not usable within a church or group study setting where you have to find a citation quickly before the pastor/teacher reads it. I am looking forward to now using my KJV with MHCC for this purpose. AND, I’m happy to pay for it. Keep up the good work OSVOVA! I am also considering adding your Study Bible to my collection.

  10. Chris

    I have only just come across this site and the Osnova version.
    Although I have not used this version as I have kindle on my ipad so already have bibles I wanted to respond to this unChristian review posted by Dougie. I say unChristian as scripture teaches us that disagreements with our brothers are to be dealt with privately then left to God. My personal view is that he should have contacted you directly and asked why you charge etc. That way he may understand that although the core text is freely available in the public domain other aspects of the version may not be e.g. study notes, links etc. James warns of the damage the tounge can do. I pray and trust his comments will not damage your reputation nor detract you from the important work you do. We in the west need to stop taking God’s Word for granted, many people past and present walk miles to get a copy and even die for owning one. Praying for the persecuted church should be our primary concern not prevaricating over paying a few pounds / dollars for His precious word to be so readily available at our fingertips. God Bless and apologies for my long comment.

  11. I just purchased my first OSNOVA version of the Bible. I want a copy of the Word on my Kindle so I have it with me whenever I want to read. I stumbled upon this site after searching for “best kindle bible” and finding mention of it on mobileread.

    I have a copy of the NIV I bought for my nook, which I decided to give away. The NIV is a great translation and I like to read it, but navigation on the nook was not good enough to make the NIV useable for anything other than personal reading. Finding a passage was not fast.

    My other favorite translation is the NASB, although it is not as readable. I bought a copy of it for my iPad for use with the Olive Tree software. OSNOVA, if you aren’t aware of Olive Tree, you should be. They’ve been making digital versions of the Bible since I was using a Palm Pilot! Navigation on the iPad is what digital navigation should be. It’s a great tool. However, I don’t like reading on the iPad (or any LED or backlit screen) because it is hard on the eyes.

    So you find me here, looking for a solid translation with a navigable interface and a reasonable price. My new purchase should now be downloaded onto my Kindle 3. I chose the Net Bible because of its readability.

    You might wonder at the reason for my comment here… The workman is worth his wages… My encouragement to you, someone I never met yet a brother in Christ is as straightforward as I am: Do the work because the work is good, not in response to the praise or criticism of any man (human). If you believe you are doing the work because God gifted you and led you to the work, then don’t let them get you down.

    Those of us who benefit from the work will watch your back. 🙂


    • Thank you. You are of course right. I know it myself but sometimes hearing it from somebody else helps.

      I know Olive Tree. I also used them on PDAs and Blackberry.

      • You are welcome. I stated the obvious for good reason — I also need to hear it from others now and again. Encouragement is a good thing for both the giver and receiver.


  12. Robin

    I appreciate the time and effort you put into making a kindle version that is easy to navigate. I just got my kindle and after reading amazon reviews I had no problem investing in a quality product. It is the first thing and at this point the only thing I have on my kindle. God Bless you.

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