Hotel Gideon bible put on e-reader in Newcastle

image captionThe bible is "found in virtually every hotel drawer" said Mr Munday.

A Newcastle hotel is replacing the traditional bedside Gideon bibles with e-reader editions.

Each room at the Indigo hotel in the city centre will be supplied with the device, pre-loaded with the latest Gideon version.

Guests of other faiths can download their preferred religious books.

Gideon bibles have been placed in hotel rooms since 1889 when Gideons International was formed by two Christian businessmen.

They met by chance when they shared a hotel room and the organisation they founded has since distributed about 1.7 billion bibles.

It says research suggests about a quarter of people who find a bible in their hotel room read it.

Hotel general manager Adam Munday says the building's proximity to a famous local independent library partly prompted the decision.

"In the 18th Century, Newcastle was one of the largest print centres in Britain and we're in Grainger Town close to the Literary and Philosophical Society, Britain's biggest independent library," he said.

'Goes missing'

"We wanted to reflect this history in a very contemporary way."

Mr Munday said they had considered the greater expense of providing e-reader versions of the bibles and replacing those that go missing, which he admitted was likely.

"We lose all sorts of things from hotel rooms - shampoos, dressing gowns and anything that isn't screwed down," he said.

"But we do have the credit card details of every person that stays with us, so if an e-reader goes missing we will be able to charge the customer accordingly."

Although the e-readers are there principally to replace the traditional Gideon bible, guests are being encouraged to download other books which they can use during their stay at the hotel.

Mr Munday made it clear content would be monitored and "anything inappropriate" would be deleted.

He said Gideons International had supported their attempts at "bringing the bible into the digital age" although the organisation later declined to comment.

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