The PDF contains a few pics.
LIES HIGHLIGHTED IN YELLOW
The Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower magazine is printed
twice a month - more than 27 million copies are published
simultaneously in 153 different languages. In addition, Bible
literature is available in 413 languages, including Green-
landic, Palauan and Yapese.
The organization is busy preaching and teaching the Bible’s
message in 235 countries, with no hierarchy or clerical class,
but volunteers operating with high professionalism, enthusiasm
and drive. The Italian Printery Of? ce, in the midst of well kept gar-
dens in the northern suburbs of Rome, is the branch which
leads the purchasing of paper for the printing houses owned
by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in different countries. It can easily
be recognized that printing has an important place in their
“Thanks to printing, we are able to reach the largest pos-
sible number of people in any part of the world. The printing
and binding of manuals for the comprehension of the Bible
are an important part of our activities. Even the printing of
Bibles has a very particular importance,” af? rms Gianfranco
Andreotti, responsible for the Printery Of? ce, accompanied
by Giuseppe Comodi, member of the Printery Of? ce at the
Congregazione Cristiana dei Testimoni di Geova.
Probably no other product in the world has experienced
such a change in production technology than the Holy texts
of the Bible. Most of the early writings were done on scrolls.
By the second century AD., the codex, or leaf-book, was de-
veloped. This was more economical and easier to use. The
Christians were in the forefront of its use, as they saw its val-
ue in spreading the news about the Kingdom of God. It is no
surprise therefore, that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been in
some respects among those in the forefront of the printing
The Watchtower magazine was published for the ? rst
time in 1879. In early 1920, the organization decided to
print on their own to avoid delays in publication and to make
Bibles and other publications available at a low cost. A print-
ing machine was bought to start production in a factory in
Brooklyn, New York. From that time everything was used that
was offered: from typographic printing with slates of lead to
the high velocity offset printing of today.
To support four-color printing, a computerized pre-press
system had to be developed; and the decision to go ahead
with this was made in 1977. The internal software could
process material for publication in all 413 languages. “One
of the latest steps has been the purchase of seven offset print-
ers of the speed of 90,000 sheets per hour. Additionally, we
use various machines to speed up the bindery and the ship-
ping of our publications,” Comodi explains.
A printed page is something concrete
Even though the Jehovah’s Witnesses have an of? cial website
where it is possible to see information in 264 different lan-
guages, and they have increased the production of CD and
DVD audio of Bible literature, the printed message is still the
“Reading a magazine or a book is the best way to spread
the Bible message in places far away from technology and
for people who do not have any means of support. The print-
ed page is always something concrete. When you read the
Bible in a relaxing atmosphere, having a book in your hands
is different from having a computer. Considering this, there
will always be a notable use of the printed page,” both An-
dreotti and Comodi believe.
Indeed, the speci? c needs of those using the Bible must
be considered when purchasing paper and other materials
for printing. “In book production for example we decided to
use polyurethane glue in book covers for all publications, e.g.
the Bible, since they are used in Africa and Siberia, where
there are extreme climatic changes, humidity, etc. Thus the
polyurethane glue prevents cracking and books falling apart.
Note that our publications are not only for reading, but study-
ing too, and they are used over and over again,” Comodi
For printing the Bibles, they use paper grades which pro-
vide clear reading and a long life. All Jehovah’s Witnesses
regularly handle the Bible each day. The paper used for the
magazines works well in a four-color process and, above all,
provides good legibility. Two fundamental characteristics are
thus the opacity and the paper’s performance on the print
machine. The machine ability does not only include good
characteristics in printing but also the stability of the paper
during printing and folding. The reaction to humidity is an-
other important factor and of course a basic criterion for
printing the Bibles and books is also the thickness of paper.
“For the magazine and the books we generally use MFC
54 g/m² paper, but there are also publications printed with
double coated free sheet paper of 115-200 g/m². When
printing covers, we use cardboard of about 200 g/m², resist-
ant to folds and usury. Even the use of special cardboard has
an important role. These special materials are used for the
Bibles and books that will be subject to a higher level of con-
Uni? ed printing systems
“Our printing machines are the same worldwide. In the past
we used to look for local suppliers of paper, but then searched
global suppliers to reduce costs for the publications, and ac-
tually we are today 80-90% uni? ed in paper purchasing. We
generally work with a speci? c type of paper for a particular
publication. For example from UPM we use Satin 72 g/m²,
and 54 g/m² for some speci? c publications. The paper
comes from UPM Stracel paper mill. At the moment UPM
sends this paper to 11 of our branches in Europe,” Comodi
Centralizing and standardizing purchasing and produc-
tion have also taken place among the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“In this way we simplify the operations, reducing preparation
time, increasing production and quality, and reducing costs.
We are not a commercial organization but supported by pri-
vate donations. Most of the work is done by volunteers, who
neither expect nor desire ? nancial return for their services.
We recognize that UPM sees that in us and the uniqueness
makes the negotiations very congenial and approachable,”
“As with UPM, we always hope to ? nd partners who pro-
duce and sell paper being serious, ? exible and reliable.”
He says that UPM and the printers in Italy have found a
common ground and co-operation regarding stabilizing the
paper to function well in the printing machines. At the mo-
ment, the extranet services offer more detailed information
about paper production. A quick contact in case of problems
also helps to avoid any misunderstanding.
“In the future, the research of new technology for the pre-
servation of the environment and of the production costs will
be a fundamental point in this co-operation. The continuous
increase of energy prices is a particular challenge,” Andre-
Printing houses in 18 countries
Comodi points out that they have technicians with notable
experience in every branch in the printing department. On a
global level, there is a group of experts co-ordinating the
various problems of paper quality. The Technical Group regu-
larly exchanges information about tests of new paper types.
They communicate about printing problems with the paper
plants, and also take into consideration the logistical ship-
ping and delivery problems to ? nd the best solutions for spe-
ci? c requirements.
“When for example the branch in South Africa started a
new press, we sent people from the German and Italian
plants to assist them in teaching and training on the new
equipment. Thus, they are now self-suf? cient,” Comodi says.
At the moment the Jehovah’s Witnesses print publications
in 18 countries, including the US, Canada and Mexico in
North America; Argentina, Brazil and Colombia in South
America; the UK, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain in
Europe; Nigeria and South Africa in Africa; India, Japan,
Korea and the Philippines in Asia; as well as Australia.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are also self-suf? cient in distribu-
tion. Once the order is received, the program starts for print-
ing, binding and shipping the publications. If not shipped by
courier, the distribution takes place using their own trucks.
Each member of the community receives the publications that