Ten Things You Should Know About the New Girls' Biblezine
A super hip thing happened in July: Thomas Nelson's division of books for teens, Transit Books, put out a Bible-and-magazine in one. The head-spinning hybrid is called Revolve, to connote a different twist on the way the Bible is packaged. Think the allure of Cosmo, minus the sleaze, plus the easy-to-read New Century Version of the New Testament.
The secular media totally dig this, this … uhm—we need a new word—biblezine! Since its release, Revolve's marketing director has given "well over 60" interviews. Seventy percent of them were for mainstream media such as CNN, ABCnews.com, and Detroit Free Press. The media attention has been mostly positive. More importantly, teens, parents, and youth pastors are into Revolve, too.
In less than eight weeks, 40 thousand copies of the glossy New Testament have disappeared from bookstores. That's the number of copies that an average Thomas Nelson Bible sells in a year! An additional printing of 60 thousand copies should be in stores in the beginning of October.
But there are other, more and less conspicuous, facts about the hot 'zine. If you care about the Bible and about teens, you might like to know them. In true Revolve fashion, we present you with an exclusive list of Ten Things You Should Know About the New Girl Biblezine. Here's our countdown, from the most to the least obvious:
10) What a Girl Wants
In a survey of teens several years ago, Thomas Nelson editors asked them if they read the Bible. Laurie Whaley, New Century brand manager, summed up their answers in an interview with Christianity Today this way: "They don't read the Bible." They say, "It's too big; it's too freaky; it doesn't make sense." When asked about what they do read, the teens said they read "magazines, magazines, magazines," Whaley reports. Examples: Cosmo, Glamour, Teen People, YM, and seventeen.
This eureka gave birth to Revolve. The biblezine is what Paul G. Gutjahr, the author of An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United States (Stanford Univ. Press, 1999), calls "a gateway Bible"—one designed to find new readers.
9) What a Girl Might Need
The rationale behind Revolve's extrabiblical wrap was this: The readers need common-sense advice about the usual things on the minds of Christian teenage girls: looks, dating, families, faith. It's offered to them in easy-to-digest chunks of text adorned with photos and illustrations, much like what you see in glamour magazines. Among the hundreds of sexy-but-in-a-good-way features are:
- quizzes ("Are you Dating a Godly Guy?");
- blurbs called "Guys Speak Out" (in which real-life guys surveyed by Thomas Nelson give their uncommonly saintly opinions—more about this later);
- the "Didya Know" stats (the data, such as "75% of teens think their parents understand their problems well" and "92% of teens say they are happy" are not attributed, but Whaley told CT that most of them come from Barna Research);
- beauty secrets (the clever pointers on achieving both inner and outer beauty include combining exercise with doing something for the good of the community, such as doing a car wash for charity or participating in the local cancer or AIDS walk);
- calendar (on November 28, the readers are told to "pray for a Person of Influence: Today is Anna Nicole Smith's birthday," on April 27, to "volunteer at a soup kitchen this week," and on October 9, to "campaign for world peace");
- the "Blab" advice column (in which Revolve editors answer the questions of teens who submitted them on a website);
- "Check It Out" features (mini profiles of social concern organizations such as the Salvation Army, DATA, and Feed the Children invite girls to volunteer);