At least one in five of all the Bibles distributed by organisations under the umbrella of the United Bible Societies during 2017 were downloaded via the internet.

UBS recorded digital downloads for the first time and the figures for 2017, contained in the Global Scripture Distribution Report 2017, showed that of the more than 34 million full Bibles distributed, more than 7.9 million were downloaded via the internet, primarily via apps such as YouVersion.

UBS Internet graphic

GRAPHIC: Courtesy of United Bible Societies.

UBS says the figure of 7.9 million is a conservative one - representing unique downloads - and the likely number of actual downloads is believed to be higher. 

Around 90 Bible societies around the world are now making Scripture translations available online and more than three quarters of all Bible societies have received training in how to make the Bible available digitally.

The European-Middle Eastern region had the highest proportion of digital downloads with some 44 per cent of all Bibles distributed there provided via online sources. The largest number of downloads - some 5.4 million - took place in the Americas.

The languages with the largest number of digital downloads included Spanish (3.1 million), Portguese (two million) and English (1.2 million).

More than 107 million full Bibles have been distributed by members of the UBS fellowship since 2015.

In 2017, almost 355 million Scripture items - including Bibles, New and Old Testaments, Gospels and other, smaller items - were distributed or downloaded. This included more than 34 million full Bibles.