Salt Lake City -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has agreed to allow Doubleday to publish the Book of Mormon, which the church commonly has provided for free in paperback editions.
It will be the first time since its initial publication in 1830 that a trade publisher has handled distribution of the Mormon scripture outside the Church. However, a "readers' edition" is available from the University of Illinois Press.
The Doubleday decision was made in order to make the book more widely available, church spokesman Dale Bills said Wednesday.
Millions of copies of the Book of Mormon are in print, with the full text available in 72 languages and selections in 32 others.
Doubleday will publish the $24.95 hardcover book in November. Its version will be without the lengthy footnotes and cross-references that may be daunting to readers not familiar with the faith, said Michelle Rapkin, director of Doubleday's religious publishing division.
Details of the agreement have not been finalized, including distribution of profits.