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September 28, 2007

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DLE

Mark,

Perhaps in the future you might also discuss differences in sewn bindings, such as Smyth.

I'll also chime in that hardback isn't always a bad option, especially with a sewn binding. I've been using a hardback Bible with a sewn binding for 25 years. I've protected the cover with a pleather(*gasp*)Bible cover and it's held up. I don't know if today's hardbacks are of as good a quality tolast 25 years, but considering the price difference between them and leather, it may well be worth it.

Dave

Mark,

If I may, I would also suggest that if someone is looking for a first Bible, or doing translation shopping, that they try out a simple hardback pew editon first to save some money. These usually tend to hold up pretty well and are very cheap. Then, if you like the translation, you could look into a nicer leatherbound one. I, however, sem to be enamored with "cheap" hardbacks, like DLE above.

Dave

Jesus Saenz

I would much rather buy a synthetic leather Bible like Corssway's(ESV) TruTone or Leathertex by The Lockman Foundation(NASB) then to buy a bonded leather or even genuine leather Bible.

If one is looking for a new translation you can find many available to read online, rather than buying a Bible.

Aside from Cambridge, RL Allan makes fine Bibles. Crossway and The Lockman Foundation also make great Bibles with premium leather covers. Although I don't own one, a couple of my friends form church own them, Thomas Nelson Signature Series are also well made.

Scott Sackett

Can you tell by looking if a Bible is sewn or glued? I know some hardbacks have have a flexable spine inside the Bible, but that doesn't mean it's sewn, right?

J. Mark Bertrand

It's easier to tell with some Bibles than it is with others. Visible stitches are an obvious sign, and in some cases they're easy to see when you open the Bible and look into the crevice where the pages meet. You'll see the thread holding the signatures in place. Others are more difficult.

For example, knowing that the original Thinline ESV I had rebound was glued (yes, I put a goatskin cover on a glued text block -- it never even occurred to me to check before ending it off), I examined a cordovan Thinline to see if that was still the case. I don't recommend my method, but curiosity got the better of me. I saw visible thread in back, where the maps and what-not are, but I couldn't discern stitching further inside, not even the pinching of the page that sometimes occurs. So I opened it up and fiddled with the pages until I isolated an individual signature and started pulled it away from the spine to see what happened. (Like I said, not recommended.) I ran into a little area where the signature stuck to the spine, but with a little pressure -- trying to see a stitch -- it came away leaving a little trace of glue. So my theory was that the signatures were glued. I kept pulling, though, and a little further down hit a visible stitch. Okay, so it's sewn. But adhesive is used to attach the covers and all my probing hadn't done it many favors.

There is probably a super-simple method I'm just not aware of, and if so I hope a better-informed reader will point it out. That will save me from doing any Bible autopsies in the future.

Dan, in response to your point about discussing the differences in sewn bindings, I don't think I'm competent to do that. I know Smyth-sewn is good, and I assume that the stitching I see in relatively inexpensive Bibles isn't up the that level, but beyond that I'm at a loss. If you know more about it, feel free to chime in!

Dave

I freely admit that I also don't know much about the sewing methods, but there are a few varieties that I've run across in my searchfor the "perfect" Bible. The first is the typical glue binding where the end of the signatures are cut flat (usually with some grooves cut into them transversly to help the glue hold), pressed together, and glued.

The second is what I call the "hybrid" glue binding, where the individual signatures are sewn in the middle, so if you open the Bible and find the middle of the signature, you can usually see the threads if you pull it open far enough. These signatures are then pressed together and guled like the completely glued bindings. I believe they also cut grooves transversly into these as well. The advantage of this is that you are less likely to have individual pages come unglued, but if you open the binding too far, you can get the whole signature to come out. You can usually tell these from the normal, fully sewn bindings if you look at the edge of the spine. Ther you will see the sewn signatures, but there will be glue holding them together. If you open the book, usually the signature will be so tightly pressed together and held by the glue that they will stay in a straight line.

Finally, the fully sewn bindings have sewn signatures like the ones above, but they have strips of fabric holding the signatures together. I believe on the really nice Bibles, these are sewn to the signatures somehow and on the lesser nice ones, they are glued to the signatures. Either way, these will let the book open flat, and if you look at the edge of the spine with the book open, they will usually leave a gap between the spine cove and the text block, since they are not tightly pressed and glued together. Crossway's journaling Bible, as near as I can tell, is of the type that has the sewn signatures with the fabric strips glued to them.

If I'm wrong n any of that, feel free to correct me!

Dave

J. Mark Bertrand

That's an excellent description, Dave. I think I'll post it on the blog as a permanent reference, if you don't mind. After reading your hybrid observations, I'm wondering if some of the bindings I've assumed are sewn because of the visible stitching are actually some sort of glued/sewn combination.

Dave

Thanks, Mark! Feel free to post it/change it or whatever you want. Keep in mind, those were just my observations, and I could easily be mistaken. So feel free to correct and edit if you need to.

What do you mean by visible stitching? One problem I've come across when asking sale-reps over the phone is that they see the striped fabric bands at the end of the spine and consider that sewn, which it is not.

Dave

DLE

Mark,

I used to know all the differences between types of sewn bindings, but two decades have passed and so has that knowledge. By asking, I was hoping you could refresh my memory!

And yes, I do remember that a Smyth-sewn binding was the ultimate. That Moroccan goatskin NIV Study Bible from Zondervan had an insert that explained the sewing, plus the way the Bible had been bound. The insert was lengthy, too, mentioning other binding and sewing styles and why this one was superior to all of them.

Denis

Hi Mark,

I would recommend adding RL Allan to your 6th point.

Earlier this year I had decided to transition to the ESV as my primary Bible. While doing general research on the ESV, I came across your post about RL Allan's Reference ESV and it stuck in the back of my mind - especially since my main Bible had started loosing pages! Not knowing anything about bindings, I found the information you provided very helpful and, in the end, I did purchase the Allan's ESV1. I am very pleased so far and look forward to using for years to come.

The only minor downside I found to buying a high quality Bible in a new translation like the ESV was that the available printings were not the latest revision of the text. Both Allan and Crossway were (and I believe still are) publishing the reference edition in the original 2001 text, not the 2005(?) revision. Not necessarily a big deal but the latest available text would've been really nice (maybe that's just the tech geek in me).

Derek

Hey guys,
As I was reading up on this and doing a search of my own, I started to feel kind of spoiled. I mean we are actually blessed with the Bible in the sense that we can read it without any persecution. But here we are practically whining over types of fabric and stitching!
My gosh what on earth are we doing?
We're talking about YEARS down the line and we don't know if we'll even live through tommorw and we're worrying about stitchings! I think we should be more concerned for our own souls at this point and maybe for others aswell....
God bless.

PDS

Derek -- not sure the purpose of your comments. May I suggest, as you pointed out, that you should be concerned about your soul and the souls of others instead of posting on this blog.

Jesus Saenz

Derek, by God's grace we do live in a time and place where we can choose from a plethora of translations as well as being able to choose a Bible of exceedingly high quality.

The only whining being done around here seems to be from detractors... such as yourself. I am not going to feel guilty for God's blessings, but merely humbled that he has given so much more than what I as a sinner deserve. If that includes Bibles that in their craftsmanship can't help but reflect God's glory, so be it.

Michael

I have just purchased the NASB wide margin. I would like to ask if anyone has any guidance on using the index to notes. I am sure I could work a system out but I am interested to learn from others experience?

Nathan

Someone asked the same question a few weeks ago. He found this link as helpful as I did:

http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/marking-yourbible/marking-your-bible.html

You can find more information by Googling "bible marking" Hope that helps.

Jesus Saenz

If you are going to write in your Bible, I wrote a post on what pens to use.

http://souldesaenz.wordpress.com/what-to-use-for-writing-in-your-bible/

hope it helps

Seraphim

Hi Guys,

OK, so I'm not quite a beginner, I have 6-7 leather bound Bibles, (perhaps more?), but I'm looking for opinions. I am interested in getting another NKJV Bible, and am trying to decide between the new Cambridge Pitt Minion and one of the Nelson signature series editions (I have the old style NKJV reference, as well as the NKJV pocket companion editions). I really like the Nelson leather bindings. I have a Cambridge Concord KJV in cowhide, but am not overly impressed with the binding, nor the print quality. Do the goatskin editions have higher quality throughout (paper opacity, clarity of print, other such goodies Bibliophiles dig like that?).
The Nelson reference edition has the cleanest printing and the least bleedthrough of any of the Bibles I own. However, the pocket companion is not quite up to that level of excellence. I think that the quality of the signature series used to be higher?
I love the reference edition, it' my favorite, but with all of the useful references, meanings of names, etc. I always distrct myself from simply reading what I should be reading.
Anybody have experience with Cambridge pitt minions? Is the font tiny, or what's the deal? Any nice pics, etc?
Thanks,
Seraphim

Nathan

I've handled the Pitt Minion but I can't remember which translations at the moment. The only good pictures that I know of for the Pitt Minion online are from B&N here:

http://images.barnesandnoble.com/images/10990000/10999502.jpg
http://images.barnesandnoble.com/images/10990000/10999503.jpg

From what I can remember they were very well made and a handy size for taking to church, but I wouldn't want one for my daily reading.

Michael

Re Bible marking notetaking

All. Thanks for the tips on Bible marking. I am going to use Bible Book & or Author/Topic in the NASB wide margin Bible index to notes.

Wishing all who love Gods Word a Blessed new year

Seraphim

Thanks for the input regarding the pitt minions.

Jesus Saenz

Seraphim, I wrote a review of the NASB Pitt Minion

http://souldesaenz.wordpress.com/2008/01/03/77/79/

If you want larger pics, contact me

Nathan

Nice review, and hot off the press just in time for Seraphim!

Seraphim

Thanks again for the review. I'm leaning towards another Nelson Signature series, although the good ones are getting harder to find.

Seraphim

Thought I'd throw this up here for your perusal: http://www.arionpress.com/catalog/060.htm Available in goatskin too! ;^)

Seraphim

Also a news clip about that Bible: http://pbs-newshour.onstreammedia.com/cgi-bin/visearch?user=pbs-newshour&template=play220asf.html&query=%2A&squery=+ClipID%3A4++VideoAsset%3Apbsnh122900&inputField=%20&ccstart=2627833&ccend=3247766&videoID=pbsnh122900

threegirldad

$7,750 for a *hardcover* edition?! Guess I'll have to wait for the paperback.

;-)

Seraphim

Well, that is a bargain compared to this handwritten Bible:http://www.heritageedition.com/about.htm $115,000 for a reproduction of it!

Earl G.

Hello,

I have purchased an ESV Classic Thinline edition - bonded leather, and HATE it. It is to the point of being annoying, makes you not want to read the Bible; just dreadful. However, I recently purchased the same edition, this time in genuine leather. I am now thinking I made another bad choice. Should I just go with this trutone-stuff? Please let me know if you are aware of the quality of Crossway's genuine leather.
Thanks!

J. Mark Bertrand

Earl, I would never recommend a bonded leather or "genuine" leather cover from any manufacturer, although sometimes you have no choice -- on this site, the red Cambridge NIV is "Cabra bonded leather" and the Reformation Study Bible is "genuine leather." I haven't handled a genuine leather ESV in awhile, so others here will know better, but I'm guessing the binding is glued. The best edition from Crossway, if you ask me, is the Classic Reference in cordovan calfskin.

Nathan

Earl G.

My recommendations for Crossway ESV bibles are to go with a hardcover, TruTone, or the most expensive Calfskin bindings. The TruTone is much nicer in my opinion than either the bonded or 'genuine' leather. If you can afford it, I would recommend getting the calfskin bindings, and failing that the TruTone. Hope that helps.

Earl G.

Thanks for the advice!
Basically, I am not overly concerned with the glue binding. My concern and reason for purchasing a higher quality leather is that the bonded leather 'puckered' in and out as I flipped back and forth. I constantly had to push the pages against the cover in order for the surface to remain somewhat flat, as it always got bent out of shape. This was extremely annoying and interfered with my concentration. Hopefully, I will not have to go through this with the genuine leather edition. I have already bought it and it's shipped. So, I am just curious as to the quality of Crossway's genuine leather. It obviously is superior to the bonded leather, but my question is how much? Will there be any of this 'puckering' of the cover!?
Thank-you.

Kyle

Earl G.

I heartily agree with Nathan. I first bought a genuine leather Thinline but after using it, I promptly took it back and bought the less expensive trutone. I also have the Thinline in Calfskin. The trutone gets the abuse, but I don't have to worry about it. As others have mentioned on this excellent site, it's the binding that counts (glued or sewn) and you are getting the same binding whether you buy the trutone, bonded leather, or genuine leather. The great thing about the trutone is that it is less expensive and comes with the "floppiness" factor right out of the box. Mine has seen some abuse and done very well. I now stay away from bonded and "genuine" leather. They both tend to be too stiff for me and I can't justify spending the extra for "genuine" leather since in most production Bibles there isn't that much difference. It won't last any longer. Pages will still tend to fall out if the binding is glued.

Earl G.

Hey Kyle,

Thanks for the info. So, you actually had a genuine leather thinline edition? Was the leather quality that terrible? Was it anything like bonded leather with that cardboard feel, or does it just need to be worked in a little? Does it stay bent with creases in it, or does it flop back like the Trutone?
Thanks for any additional help.

Take care.

Michael Smith

The first Bible I had rebound (RSV) in 1981 was boind over boards with top grade leather. The binder would only bind over boards (hard cardboard) because she felt it lasted longer. One thing she did was to test the paper to see it'e ph level. She would only bind a Bible with paper which was non acid. The Bible is in use every week as my preaching bible. Crossway has a thinline ESV Bible that is bound over boards and is sewn. Even though it is non leather it is a great edition - the Thinline Regency Edition. Avaible from Westminister Seminary Bookstore and other places for a great price.

James

Do you know which will last longer - hardback or leather (assuming both are sewn well)? I.e. Cambridge leather vs. hardback?

thanks,
james

Albert

Hey guys,

In the world of book binding the supreme of the supreme method is not Smyth Sewn or any other stitch method, rather it is the "British Heirloom Binding". Guessed you guys have never heard of that. Right?

Albert

Hey guys,

In the world of book binding the supreme of the supreme method is not Smyth Sewn or any other stitch method, rather it is the "British Heirloom Binding". Guessed you guys have never heard of that. Right?

Stan McCullars

What is "British Heirloom Binding"? What sets it apart?

What Bibles use that binding?

Thanks,
Stan

Igor

Mark, thank you very much! I wish at least a few of those quality Bibles were available in my own country and in my language!
Anyway, for myself (not for preaching!) I prefer to read the Bible in English - there is a number of reasons for that, both theological and linguistic. I have a few copies, but I still want something else (I am kind of a perfectionist and just love quality books and especially Bibles), that I could use everywhere, both outside and at home, and for many years.
Will you please give me your suggestions? Here is what I want:
1) leather-bound and sewn with quality binding and paper - ideally it should last for life (I am not very young :));
2) small enough to carry in a backpack but with a typeface big enough to read without straining my eyes (my eyesight is good now, but... it's only now);
3) any translation will suit as long as it is NIV :);
4) I understand it simply cannot be cheap, but if it is somewhere about $60-70 that would be perfect.
I have done some research (thanks again for your site) and at the moment I am thinking of Pitt Minion Reference Burgundy French Morocco (have managed to find it for $62 without shipping). What would you say?
Thank you in advance.
Sorry for my English, it is not my native language.

Kathy

Igor, since you like the NIV I suggest you pick up one of the last copies of the discontinued NIV bold print reference edition Bible in black goatskin (NIV B2) with semi yapp covers, made by RL Allan. Evangelicalbible.com is selling these for $110.50. It has the most readable typeface I have seen and the paper is very nice and opaque, with art gilt page edges. It is probably larger than you were looking for (page size is 5 3/4" by 8 1/4") but it is still portable.

The Pitt Minion is very nice but if readability is a concern you might want to look for something with a more generous font size.

Anthony Miller

Igor,
I have both the NIV Pitt Minion you mention in Burgundy Morocco and the Allan's NIV Bold Print that Kathy posted about. Both are great editions but widely different in size, and fo me application. The Pitt Minion series is truely a portable edition. Quite think, less than 3/4" of an inch but despite the smallish font is easy to read. It has basic center column references and if on a budget but wanting quality would be on my list.
The Allan's Bold Print NIV is the easiest reading bible I own. Bold, well spaced type on decent quality paper with a nice feel to the fingers. Physically though it is twice the bulk of the Pitt Minion. An inch or two wider and taller and at least twice as thick. It is a heavy volume. Mine is for my late evening reading sitting in bed. Big type, smooth translation makes for an easy read for tired eyes and mind. The Pitt Minion is one I would take with me when away from home and may fit your backpack requirements better. The smaller type takes a bit more work to read.
Either (or both) are excellent choices in the NIV.

Igor

Thank you very much, Kathy. This NIV B2 seems to be a very good choice (I would even say excellent), but it's way too big (I have a couple of other Bibles exactly the same size)... and expensive. It's OK if the typeface is just a little bit larger than in compact Bibles, but the portability is the real issue.
Still looking at the Pitt Minion - if only I could see a picture with the text sample... I understand there is no difference between Cambridge University Press and Baker Publishing Group editions?

Igor

Anthony, thanks a lot! I seem to have made my choice - it will be the Pitt Minion.

Kathy

Igor, to see a text sample, check out Mark's reviews of the NKJV and ESV Pitt Minions on this site. The text should be comparable in the NIV edition.

Baker Publishers market the Cambridge products in the US.

Kathy

You can also download and print a text sample at the Baker website that would be close to actual size.

Igor

Kathy, that's exactly what I need! Now, there is no need to look for anything else, I guess, it's just perfect. Thanks again.

Igor

Stuart, thanks. It is quite readable - much more than any of my compact Bibles.

Eric Rollie

It might just be me, but every Lockman Bible I bought fell apart in 2 or 3 days. They sent me the calfskin version, and it is not doing to well either. I don't "beat" or treat my Bibles rough like other people either. If I were anyone getting a new Bible, stay away from Lockman or Foundation Pub. ones.

Debbie

Hi Michael

I saw your post earlier and tried to click through to this link you posted (below) but it doesn't seem to work now. Would you know if there is a different link to access this info now - http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/marking-yourbible/marking-your-bible.html

I'm very interested in the NASB wide margin Bible as I have just purchase one and love it and would like to use it to its full potential.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Blessings
Debbie

Jo

Very helpful blog and articles. Thank you

Dina

What is the different between Calfskin and Genuine Leather?

Thank you for your time

Fernando Villegas

Calfskin leather comes from a calf (hence the name!). The calfskin I've experienced tends to be pretty soft and flexible, and sometimes it scratches too easily; but I've seen on this site that calfskin can vary in terms of flexibility. Most bookstores that I've been to don't imprint calfskin Bibles because of how soft the leather is.
As for genuine leather, I don't know what animal it comes from, although I think I read in one of Mark's posts that most genuine leather is actually pigskin. It doesn't feel as nice as the calfskin, but the ones I've had do become more flexible with use.
Calfskin tends to be more expensive than Genuine Leather.
I hope this helps some. I'm sure there's others out there who can expand on the differences more than I can.

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William

Can someone recommend an ESV bible that is in verse form rather than paragraph form?
Thanks...

Knight

William,

The only ESV I know of like that is the Single Column Reference Bible. I have a copy of that and believe it to be the best reference format that Crossway publishes. (Possibly overall)

I recommend either the Trutone Brown/Cordovan or the Calfskin since they are sewn binding and have upgraded paper (better for note taking) I have the black trutone which is glued and has rather thin, low grade paper. (That said, it has held up rather well to two years of use.)

SFT

Remember, it is not what is on (covering) the Bible, but, what is inside the cover that will truely set you free!! I grow weary reading about leather bindings! Read the Word and God will explode it in your mind and life and bless you beyond your imagination!!Calfskin will never be able to do that.....

Paul Nielsen

I love reading my Bible. I like the NLT for the emotion and the ESV for the literal meaning. Some have complained that we shouldn't get excited about leather bindings or text fonts. I disagree. I have many nice things, but my NLT Cambridge Pitt Minion is my most prized possession.

I travel a lot and design software for a living, so I buy the best notebook computer I can. I play guitar and there’s no comparison between playing a nice Taylor guitar vs. playing an average guitar. Just the feel of the neck makes a world of difference. And it makes the playing more enjoyable. The word of God is infinitely more precious than my job or finger picking a guitar, so why wouldn’t I be even more selective about buying the best edition of the Bible? If you love reading Scripture then spending $100-200 for a very nice edition is well worth it. Compared to what folks pay for a car, a vacation, or a TV, even the best Bible that will be more enjoyable to hold and easier to read is cheap.

The mistake the too many folks make is to think of the Bible as in the price range of a novel at the bookstore instead of thinking of the Bible as a finely crafted work.

Great Blog, many thanks!

Chris Bloom

I agree completely, Paul. We think so little of demanding quality from everything else we buy, but when it comes to Bibles we're all supposed to be humble and buy the cheapest one out there? I can remember seeing the Nelson Signatures a few years ago and wondering what kind of fool would pay $100 for a Bible. Having owned a couple of $100+ Bibles since then, I can safely say that while I still can't see spending that much on a Nelson, you do indeed get what you pay for with Cambridge and Allan.

I'm still a cheapskate, and I always look for the best price no matter what I'm buying, but I can't deny that the physical pleasure of a well-bound Bible is worth it. Anything that makes you want to read the Bible more is okay in my book.

bill

Just as a historical note...back in the 1800's when all books were hand-produced (lead type, printpress, hand-sewn, etc) a Bible cost about a half-day's wage, or 50 cents. In other words, a print shop with 5 workers producing ~25 Bibles per day was a valid business model. (I'm assuming raw materials about equal to labor and a 20% overhead&profit.) Fast-forward to today, where a laborer's wage is ~$100 per day, a glued paperback Bible can be purchased for about 1/10th of that daily wage, due to the degree of automation in book production and cheap foreign labor. So $50 for a better machine-sewn, leather-bound Bible is totally reasonable, historically-speaking. What you're getting when you pay more than that is (hopefully) better materials, Western/Christian labor rates, and more hand-detailing.

Carole in the UK

Gosh, what a fascinating subject for a website.

I am so impressed and I am so excited.

I have just hopped over here from Nick Schoeneberger’s article on Becoming an informed Bible Buyer, Part 1 and see you also have lots of information on buying Bibles and more.

Wonderful, I have attempted a couple of times to dedicate time on this subject, as I love the History of it. I sell Bibles and wanted to gain more knowledge. As an avid bookaholic, I was unable to find the time, for such research.

Now from the comfort of my own home and at the click of my mouse, I am in Bible heaven, with both sites to hand,

God Bless, you will see a lot of me over here.

Rachel

In reply to Eric (back in 2009!) ...that has been my experience as well--I bought a Lockman Foundation genuine leather wide margin Bible some ten years ago and the cover broke off of it after just a few weeks. I was shocked and dismayed that what I perceived to be a pricey Bible ($60) was so shoddily bound. I just bought a Trutone ESV Legacy ($30) and it is far better quality (I did love the thick paper of that NASB, for all the good it's done me in its box)

robert Anderson

In 2013, I will say, the new synthetics with names like "TruTone," "NuTone, are your best deal even over a hardbound Bible today and they are soft as butter in your hands and light weight. I believe in some cases a person would be better off with the "new leather" cover than the real leather. I believe that the TruTone and NuTone covers are more durable and will take more punishment than leather...and they look great. One thing, no one will know just looking at your Bible if it is covered in leather or not and no one will care but you. Another thing is...most people don't really care if their Bible last 10 years or not today. You will want a different version or different cover or different size or an updated version. ...30 years ago most people owned only 2or 3 Bibles in their lives, not so today, so I wouldn't spend $200.plus for a Bible. All of that being said, if you truly want a nice leather bound Bible and you are going to take care of it go with the A.L.Allen (Scotland) or Cambridge Bibles printed and bound in the Netherlands with the finest leathers. You pay anywhere from $135. and up.

bill

Now Robert, you can get leather-bound Bibles for $100 less than the price you mention so let's not be hasty. And I'll believe your "look great" and "soft as butter" comments when GM starts upholstering Cadillac (or even Buick!) seats in TruTone. For now, leather is the standard for durable luxury and the only real question is whether or not the durability of the all-plastic TruTone outweighs the feel of bonded leather for a distant second place showing. Continuing the car analogy, there too your mileage may vary.

Jun Valmores

Check out Local Bible Publishers, look them up at their website. Finest quality, better than Cambridge, yet less than half the price. Even comparative posts in YouTube hail leather bibles from LBP.

cec

Re the synthetic leathers, in general I agree with Robert. In the past several months, I've bought over a dozen Bibles for gifts and a few for myself. (The reasons for my recent purchases are that I'm recently retired, and having more time to read, wanted a study Bible and some of the other translations. I also wanted to gift them.)

My bonded leather NKJV Bible was falling apart after not that much use, so I avoided any bonded leather Bibles. I ordered a compact Holman HCSB, one NASB, several student NIVs, and a NKJV Life Application study Bible in various synthetic leathers, and I'm very pleased with them for the cost. I also ordered an NASB Life Application study Bible in genuine leather, and I'm disappointed in its cover. It's shiny and stiff as a board. This also seems to be the general consensus after reading many, many reviews of various editions. Therefore, I have to agree with Robert--the new synthetic leathers are nicer than bonded or some (most?) "genuine" leathers, in my experience.

The one exception, and it's a major exception, is the "Renaissance" premium leather from Zondervan. This leather is fabulous! I can only find it in the 1984 NIV translation, though. I've bought several of the ebony thinline, a couple of the Life Application study Bible, and a few of the brown women's devotional, and the Renaissance leather is amazing. I didn't realize the difference holding a supple leather Bible could make. I ordered these from christianbook dot com, and they were deeply discounted. If I could find a NKJV or NASB in this leather, I wouldn't even be looking at Cambridge and Allan! I don't know why Zondervan doesn't offer it in current editions and more translations, or why other publishers don't offer a similar leather. *sigh* I don't know how it will compare in durability, but it feels wonderful in the hand.

If anyone knows of other Bibles in a comparable leather, please tell me where to get them.

A somewhat distant second would be some of the softer synthetic leathers, especially that of the little HCSB. The bonded and hard, stiff genuine leathers aren't even in the league as far as comfortable feel and looks.

I want a nice supple, leather NKJV to replace the one that's coming apart. I'm looking at the NKJV Allan and the Cambridge Clarion. Any thoughts or comparisons of these two?

This would be for my primary (daily reading and church) Bible, and my one and only expensive Bible. I'm not a Bible collector.

If anyone had suggested paying over $100 for a Bible six months ago, I'd have thought they were crazy. However, after using the Renaissance Bibles, I now feel that I "should" be willing to pay for a quality Bible for my primary daily use. I try to buy reasonable quality in other items, so why not do it for something as important as God's word?

I'm very much enjoying this website! Thanks, all, and God bless.

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  • J. Mark Bertrand is the author of Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and the forthcoming Nothing to Hide, crime novels featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lived in the city for fifteen years. After one hurricane too many, he and his wife moved to South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of a hung jury in Houston, and after relocating served on the jury that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.

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