A California-based startup company re-imagines the Bible to attract Millennials to read the Good Book.
Alabaster Company is the brainchild of Millennials Bryan Ye-Chung and Brian Chung. Brian, who embraced the Christian faith when he was studying at the University of Southern California, felt the need to encourage his peers to read the Bible, reports France news website Aleteia.
Visual culture is everything for Millennials. That’s what is important to us, too, so we wondered why can’t a faith-based product take advantage of that space as well? —Bryan Ye-Chung, Alabaster co-founder
Despite being the No.1 book sold every year and being available in many homes, the Bible intimidates many people. With its archaic verses, small letters printed on thin papers, and hundreds of pages to go through, it’s no wonder why Millennials aren’t interested in the Bible. Brian even admitted that he didn’t want to read the Bible because the book looks dense and uninviting.
“There were 20 pages before you actually got to Genesis,” Brian said. “As an artist and designer and a reader, I was thinking, ‘This is not good design.'”
Brian, together with Alabaster co-founder, Bryan, came up with an idea to include beautiful photography and artworks to reflect the narratives in select books from the Bible. They made the Bible visually appealing and eye-catching to readers.
Bryan said, “Visual culture is everything for Millennials. That’s what is important to us, too, so we wondered why can’t a faith-based product take advantage of that space as well?”
The company believes that the more aesthetically pleasing the Bible, the more people will want to read it.
Currently, Alabaster is selling seven standalone books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Romans, Psalms and Proverbs. Soft copies cost up to $38 each, while the hardcover copies cost $70, reports Religion News Service. Alabaster has sold 16,000 copies last year.
However, Jeffrey Skier, professor of New Testament at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, said Alabaster’s product is no different from the online Bible.
“When you only have one book, you end up having a fragmented picture of the Bible,” he explained. “This is what has happened recently with digital Bibles — they’ve become unbound. So people read and they have no idea that the Gospel of Mark is bumping up against the Gospel of Matthew. They don’t have a tangible feel for the text as a whole.”