Yes, or one of the most shoplifted books. As your forth example, the NYT article says:
At BookPeople in Austin, Tex., the rate of theft has increased to approximately one book per hour. I asked Steve Bercu, BookPeople’s owner, what the most frequently stolen title was.
“The Bible,” he said, without pausing.
As it turns out, Bibles are snatched even at the Parable Christian Store in Springfield, Ore., the manager told me, despite the fact that if a person asks for a Bible, they’ll be given a copy without charge.
In an earlier article by the NYT sevral small bookshop owners asked what are their most shoplifted books:
On both East Coast and West, the Beat poets Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs kept popping up as favorites among shoplifters. (In Britain, The Economist surveyed booksellers on thievery and found that the Beat poet Jack Kerouac was No. 1 choice.) Right behind the Beats comes the Bible.
and particular examples:
At Ventura Bookstore in Ventura, Calif., Kerouac's ''On the Road'' and Ginsberg's ''Howl!'' are at the top of the most-wanted lists as well as that old favorite, Abbie Hoffman's ''Steal This Book,'' said Ed Elrod, the owner. Tarot cards and how-to books, particularly sex manuals, are also popular. Even Bibles get taken, probably for use in marriage ceremonies, Mr. Elrod said.
At Powell's Book Store, in Portland, Ore., one of the largest chain stores, the general manager, Miriam Sontz, said that people who take books fall into two categories: those who steal on impulse and those who take books to sell for money. She said that people take books they would be ashamed to buy: books on cocaine cultivation, sex dysfunction or ''racy'' books for teen-agers. Bibles are also a favorite, she added, saying she does not know why.
At Green Apple Books and Music in San Francisco, the general manager, Pete Mulvihill, reports that current favorites for shoplifters included Bibles and books on philosophy.
There are other stores in that article that don't mention the bible as one of their best-stealer but there are a lot of stores where it is.
It also happens in libraries, as shown in this transcript of a segment from On the Media:
BROOKE GLADSTONE: One place where the book thief is more likely to read what he hath took is the public library, and library theft tends to lean toward the practical more than the popular; news you can use, so to speak - how-to books ranging from auto repair to divorce, how to ace the GEDs and The Joy of Sex, also anything - and this is from libraries across the country - anything to do with witchcraft, the occult, UFOs or astrology. And there are some other popular choices for the kleptomaniacally-inclined - the Bible, for instance. [SOUND OF RON ROSENBAUM LAUGHING]] Ron Rosenbaum.
LARRA CLARK: They do, actually. A couple of librarians, including one in Salt Lake City, she said that the Bible was their most frequently stolen book.
However, in hotels the phenomenon is less frequent, as shows this Article by Yahoo Travel, that lists the top 10 stolen items from Novotel hotels. The bible is not among them:
- TV remote controls
- Light bulbs
- Mini-bar contents
- Clothes hangers
- Bathroom display trays
- Coffee sachets
- Plastic tissue boxes
I couldn't find any information on whether the Novotel hotels chain has Bibles in their hotels, if you have knowledge that they don't please comment it.
The article doesn't say they are not stolen, it says that they are, but only by 1% of the guest
A survey from last year found that 86% of hotel guests had taken toiletries, as opposed to a mere 3% who admitted to stashing away bathrobes in their suitcase... and then there's the hard-core 1% who confessed to stealing electronics, silverware, and most worryingly, bibles!
a lot less than Towels and Bathrobes.