October 13, 2010 Alexander Scourby's Narration of King James Bible Now Available as a Digital Talking Book

Contact: Jane Caulton (202) 707-0521

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), part of the Library of Congress, reached a milestone in its digital talking-book program with the reissue of the entire King James Version of the Bible, narrated by Alexander Scourby, on a single digital cartridge.

“The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments” combines two titles from the NLS collection—“The Holy Bible, Containing the Old Testament” and “The Holy Bible, Containing the New Testament.” Those titles have long been available from NLS as cassette books—on fifteen audiocassette tapes.

Scourby (1913–1985) possessed a voice described in a Time Magazine story of March 15, 1968, as “distinguished, melodic, mellifluous—the kind that makes people stop and listen.” His performance credits on stage, screen, and radio ranged from Shakespeare to Superman, and from soap operas to commercials. He narrated more than 500 books during his lifetime, including classics in the NLS collection such as “The Odyssey,” “Crime and Punishment,” and “The Great Gatsby.”

Of all those books, Scourby considered his narration of the King James Version of the Bible, which he recorded over four years in the 1950s, his proudest and most important achievement. “I really stand in awe in pondering that nothing else I have done has had such a powerful and positive impact on people as my recordings of the Bible,” Scourby once said. Because of the recording’s popularity, he came to be known as “the Voice of the Bible.”

“We are excited to be able to offer Alexander Scourby’s classic narration of the Bible to our patrons in this convenient digital format,” NLS director Kurt Cylke said. “It is only one of 3,000 talking-book titles NLS has released on digital cartridges so far, but it is sure to be among the most popular. This marks another significant step in our transition to digital talking books.”

National Audio Company in Springfield, Mo., produced and shipped 2,415 copies of “The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments” to cooperating libraries, making it the most-ordered NLS title ever.

The new digital Bible may be navigated by testament, book, and chapter on NLS digital talking-book players or authorized commercial players.

“The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments” also is available as a digital download to registered users of the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) Internet service. NLS patrons may still request the separate Old and New Testaments on audiocassettes.

NLS administers the free program that loans recorded and braille books and magazines, music scores in braille and large print, and specially designed playback equipment to residents of the United States who are unable to read or use standard print materials because of a visual or physical handicap. After distributing talking books on analog cassettes for nearly forty years, NLS began producing talking books on digital flash cartridges in 2008. Learn more about NLS at www.loc.gov/nls/.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with nearly 145 million items in various languages, disciplines, and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site, in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill, and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.


PR 10-232
ISSN 0731-3527