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October 16, 2007

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Comments

John

I completely agree on single-column paragraph format. Hopefully Collins will do something with the new personal reference when it comes out.

What do you think of the format of the HCSB Minister's Bible? Rather big, but a wonderful format.

matt

Thank you so much Mark for the article and pictures...I could not number the times or hours that I spent googling for Tan ESV pics.

The Tan looks awesome. The gold, Tan, red, colors seem to blend quite nicely together. This may be sad, but I tend to get bored of black, eventhough it is classic.

Mark,
If you were only allowed one Allans ESV would you take Black or Tan?

Curious, It seems that you have black ribbons on the black ESV, is this true? I know the most recent Allan editions installed Navy ribbons with the black covers.


Mark

I read the first line of this essay to my wife who said to me, "Apparently you're not the only one!"

However, none of the five Bibles I have purchased under "The Bertrand Spell" are R.L. Allan editions.

Yet.

According to the website, Allan has this month released a black goatskin leather, semi yapp style, red under gold page edges NRSV.

Shallowing breathing and an increased pulse are a sign that "The Spell" has returned.

J. Mark Bertrand

John -- Quite a few people have mentioned the Holman CSB Minister's Bible to me, and I've checked it out at the stores. I agree that it looks interesting. I wonder how popular it's been for them? Based on the feedback I've gotten, I'm guessing very.

Matt -- Yes, the ribbon on my original black Allan ESV is black. I wondered why you guys were calling them navy. Just assumed you were all blind. :) If I had to choose between the two, I'd go with the tan. It's quite distinctive.

Mark -- Ah, the Bertrand Spell. Imagine these words echoing from every corner of the room: "Maaarrrk. Buy the NRSVeeee. Drive South a couple of hourssss and show it to meeee." Apologies to your wife if my hypnotic suggestion succeeds!

Mark

"Yes, Maaaasster, your wish is my commmmaaaaand. The NRSVeee has been ordered and is on it's waaaaaay. What is the exchange rate but mere numberrrrs on a paaaage? Bwahahahaha."

And of course you'll have a chance to see it when I make the trip south. (If there's any money left over for gas, that is). At any rate, the trip to the glowing entrance of Aladdin's cave and turquoise water buffalo hides may have to be window shopping only.

Oh, no apologies are necessary. Of the trip your way my wife said, "That'll be a stitch."

Jesus Saenz

The Bertrand Spell? I asked the pharmacist if there was anything I could take for it... he asked me to leave.

Before clicking the button on the black ESV, I contacted RL Allan for a picture of their Tan ESV, sadly they didn't have one so I bought the black one... with the navy ribbons. : ) The leather is so thick and grainy that the gold stamping on the spine didn't take well and now is a little flaked. I was going to return it but then after considering how thick and soft the leather is I kept it.

I may buy a tan one after they use the updated ESV. Who am I kidding? I will most likely buy the tan.

Ahh, yes, a Personal Reference ESV by RL Allan would be close to filling my Bible wish list.

sad thing this Bertrand Spell.

Kent Pirkle

I ordered an Allan ESV on January 1st of this year based on your first review. I finally got it in May after they reprinted them and absolutely love it!

PDS

This site is great. Never heard of RL Allan, so I guess I'll need to check it out!

Thanks Mark for another great review. Appreciate you taking the time to do so.

David Dewey

Mark, thanks for the review, to which I add an 'Amen'. I have an Allan's Tan ESV from their first production run. It has two ribbons, but not the extra 32 writing pages. It remains my most prized Bible. Apparently, only 15 were produced, so it will probably never get to meet any of its siblings. However, the Cambridge Pitt Minion wide margin sounds tempting, and may persuade me not to bother with Crossway's wide margin ESV (I was thinking of getting the trutone portfolio cover which should be in production about now: http://www.gnpcb.org/product/9781581349016 )

As a Brit, thankfully, I don't have to worry about the exchange rate as far as Allan's is concerned. For those who are, I note Allan's also offer a slightly cheaper black goatskin (not highland) ESV. It lacks the writing pages and does not have leather linings or a second ribbon, but is $40 less. But you'd probably regret not going for the highland version.

Brian Blair

Another great Allan post - how can the company who make such great Bibles have such a cronky website - Mark is their Marketing Director-at-large!

I am awaiting my Allan ESV in black and the UK postal strike has not helped me. I also got the Cordovan ESV trutone today and for £10 I am very impressed. I hope that my Allan smells as good as my Cambridge Bible - they seem to get a lovely antiseptic fresh smell on the pages, no idea how that works but it must be print/paper.

As an aside, I was also impressed by the [insert lightning strike] "bonded" leather binding of The Net Bible - anyone else found it rather nice?

matt

Brian - Out of curiousity, how long is it taking you to get your allans bible. I am considering ordering the Tan ESV, but wondering if it will take longer because of the strike.

BTW Allan smells as good as it looks...IMHO Cambridge doesnt compare in that regard.

ElShaddai Edwards

Brian noted:

As an aside, I was also impressed by the [insert lightning strike] "bonded" leather binding of The Net Bible - anyone else found it rather nice?

I've been looking to get one of those as well - did you get the First Edition or Reader's Edition? Any negatives? How is the paper quality?

Thanks,
ElShaddai

J. Mark Bertrand

Re: the NET Bible, I'm disappointed to see that they still haven't stripped the odd chapter:verse numbering out of the text, which always irritated me in the original edition, which is the one I have. Love the notes, but that quirky design choice -- which makes it look like the text was copied off a verse-per-line web page and pasted into the layout without being properly reformatted -- never fails to distract.

Keith

Matt, I ordered the Tan ESV yesterday. Eric at the company said it will ship Monday 10/22 and take about a week. I can't wait. I wonder if they have seen an order spike since Mark's review and photos.

matt

If I were Allan's I would put mark on the payroll and let him design the "Bertrand Bible edition".

Mark,
do you really know if your essays have spiked Allan's sales?

J. Mark Bertrand

I have no idea what the effect on sales is whenever I post a review, but I'm sure the bottom line of Bible-addiction therapists everywhere is greatly improved. Then again, who'd want to be cured?

BLDavis

Great site you have here, Mark.

I have a used-yet-in-like-new-condition Black Allan's ESV coming to me from a friend who claims the type is too small for his aging eyes. I can't wait for it to arrive. So you all won't covet I'll spare telling you the price ;-)

I do hope that Allan's or Cambridge does something with the paragraph format. I did pre-order a personal size reference bible from Crossway to toss in my work bag. It would be nice to have this edition or one like it from Allan's.

Brian

Brian Blair

I have had the Allan Esv for a week now and oh boy do I love it. The smell, the feeling, I just can't put it down. When it first arrived it was a bit stiff and I was a bit worried; but like really good new shoes, it has to be like that as it is so well made. I have turned all the pages and handled it a lot and it has gradually got better and better - in a year it should be amazing. It smells just as good as my Cambridges and the paper is as good as my beloved old Oxford KJV's.

I got the £65 version that does not have all the blank pages and I guess a slightly coarser goat!

On the Net Bible: the paper is very thin but so far has not damaged and as I said before its the best bonded leather I have come across. Last night in a new Bible study it was a really useful Bible to have due to the extensive notes. There were 5 diff translations present at the study and it was a good source back to the Greek etc.

Back to Allan, I realise one must not get too hung up on looks etc when talking about the word of God, but if you have a Bible that makes you want to pick it up and read then that must be a good thing?


matt

brian - Congratulations on getting the Allan's bible. I plan to order a Tan ESV pretty soon...as soon as I can rationalize the extra cost.

by "stiff" did you mean that the book block was stiff or the cover?

PDS

I ordered one today -- last tan one on the shelf! :) Don't worry, more are coming in a week or so. The gentleman I spoke with at Allan's was super knowledgeable, courteous and answered many of the questions I had (ex: highland goatskin vs goatskin etc). Fascinating...and looking forward to receiving it. Can we say "Mark made me do it?"

PDS

Brian - because of the way the regular goatskin finish is completed, heat must be applied. On the highland goatskin (because of the slightly higher quality), it is hand-finished with no heat applied. And here is the key...heat does cause the goatskin (or any leather) to stiffen a bit. Regardless, even regular goatskin, as you attest to, is incredibly nice. Thanks for the testimonial -- I'll post mine after I get it and use it. And, I think that's been Mark's point...some of what we talk about may seem extreme, but if it is a product that causes you to cherish it and use it MORE, is that a bad thing?

matt

PDS - you bought the one I was going to get...hehe. I am ordering next week with the new shipment. Do you know if the new shipment is a new printing?

PDS

I don't know -- sorry about stealing your Bible! I'll let you know how it is! :)

Carol

Just curious, but does it have book introductions or maps?

PDS

Where did I read that it does not have either?

Carol

Too bad about the maps. Still, this news has not alleviated the temptation to pull out the old credit card....

PDS

Really? I guess I never even thought about that...I can't remember ever using maps in the back of my Bible. There are many other resources that offer better and more extensive maps. If that's the only thing holding you back...I feel you probably will never miss them.

Carol

You're probably right that I won't miss them. Maps aren't exactly worked into a daily reading schedule. However fond I am of them (and I do use them) you have a good point about other resources.

PDS

...now about that credit card! :)

matt

If R L Allans had their own department store credit card...I'd max it out!!! I would trade in my south west card any day for a card that gave me points to an Allan's bible with highland goatskin leather...j/k

Nathan

Hi - I recently bought one of the new Black ESV with the two ribbons from Allan. Does anyone else with this Bible have an issue with the outer edges of the pages being wavy? The middle of the pages are perfect fit and binding, but at the outer edge the pages are kind of wavy and stiff. Is this normal? Will it go away with time? Besides that i love everything else about the Bible.
Nathan

PDS

Which pages are you referring to?

Jesus Saenz

Nathan, my Bible was the same way. It eventually loosens up over time. I was going to send it back for that reason but the leather is so thick and soft I couldn't risk not getting one in return that wasn't this thick and soft. But worry not it will loosen up over time.

Nathan

JS - Thanks. I thought it would loosen up a bit over time. Was a little worried about it and thinking about returning it. But you are right, the leather is wonderful.

David

I had a wavy paged Allan Bible, too. It bothered me so I sold it to a friend who didn't mind the waves. I have several Allan Bibles and all of them are perfect.

If I bought another one that had the waves, I'd probably either sell it or send it back, but that's just my anal retentive personality. Maybe the binding will loosen up and straighten the pages out, I doubt it, but I wasn't willing to wait long enough to find out.

God Bless,
David


PDS

Going back to the Micron pens -- I was testing the brown and blue out on an old Bible. I couldn't get the brown to smear, but the blue kept doing it over and over again. Any ideas? I didn't have any problem with black either.

Jesus Saenz

PDS, did it smear immediately? Did you give it a few seconds to dry? Did it smear after it was 'dry'? What size nib was it?

matt

just use brown!!! :)

PDS

Matt - funny.

Jesus - yes, it smeared even after it dried. All were 005.

Jesus Saenz

PDS, I am not sure what it maybe. It could be a combination of the pigment, paper and the nib size. You may need to use a smaller nib size or not use the blue at all.

Keep me updated.

matt morales

the Allan's stiff book block has annoyed me as well, although it has loosened up a little. I doubt that it will ever feel as fluid as my cambridge bibles, which arrived to my house that way.

hopefully I am wrong.

David

Micron pens are great for Bible marking. However, I've actually found the Zig Memory System Millennium pens to perform better.

They are pigment ink, acid free, archival quality, etc., but where they differ from the Micron is that the Millenniums seem to be brighter.

I like using red exclusively because it's a good contrast with black lettering. I use the 05 for underlining and 01 for writing in the margins.

Zig Memory System Millennium...check them out.

God Bless,
David

Jesus Saenz

Matt, I have had my Allan ESV since July and it has loosened up quite a bit since. The more I use it the better it feels. The leather only gets softer and the binding gets more fluid. It currently is about as fluid as my NASB Pitt Minion and feels better than my vintage Cameo, both from Cambridge.

David, in what Bible are you using your pens? Thanks for the heads up on the Zig.

matt morales

David - Was the extra benefit of the Zig pens that they are just brighter. I thought the red from the micron was fairly bright. ALthough I must admit that I like the contrast of the red. I now have to choose between the brown (a lighter contrast) and red (a stronger contrast).

Jesus - Is you NASB Pitt from Allans? I have been looking to get one just not sure if from cambridge or Allans.

Jesus Saenz

Matt, my Pitt is from Cambridge. I got a great deal on it. For it's size, I couldn't see spending twice as much for one from R L Allan. I have become a bit of a Bible collector since, so I may end up buying one in the future.

David

"David - Was the extra benefit of the Zig pens that they are just brighter."

Yeah, as far as I could tell the Zig red seemed to have more depth and brightness to it.

There might be other differences between the two brands, but I haven’t done any extensive comparative analysis.

I’ve been using Zig for around a decade now and there has been no fading or smearing.

God Bless,
David

PDS

Jesus - "You may need to use a smaller nib size or not use the blue at all." - I was testing a 005. It doesn't get any smaller. It must be something unique to blue. I have a couple of them and every one of them smeared. It's nice to have an older Bible for testing!

Matt - "stiff book block" - can you clarify how this differs from ???

David -- thanks for the tips. I appreciate it. Sounds like with a decade of experience using these pens, your system is tested!

Jesus Saenz

PDS, that is too bad you had a bad experience with the blue. I have been drawing with these pens for over ten years but only recently have been using them for note taking in my Bibles.

PDS

Jesus -- it's not biggie. Like I said, I test before use! :) It's strange that one color has problems -- black and brown are fine. Hmmm....

matt morales

PDS - the stiffness in the book is in comparison to all the other bibles I own (crossway and cambridge primarily). My concord KJV from Cambridge for instance has pages that are fluid, but the Allan's pages seem to stay stiff thus far although the binding itself is very limp.

PDS

Yeah, the binding seems loose...very loose in fact, but the pages just kinda stay together in sections. It's not like anything I've seen before. Don't know if that is normal or not???

Also, is it normal for the pages to be wavy (perhaps the dye created it??) If you open to a particular page, it's visible...and if you run your finger from top to bottom you can actually feel the waviness (sp??). Anyone else have this issue?

matt

PDS - Thats what I meant, although I do not know the cause of it.

Jesus Saenz

PDS, Matt, I had the same issue with my Allan's ESV. I have had mine since July and it is now beginning to to loosen up. Before it was nearly impossible to thumb through the pages, it would just thumb through the individual signatures. It is now easier to thumb through and the waviness is all but gone. The leather just gets softer and softer. This just happens to be a Bible that you need to break in. Keep using it, it only gets better.

PDS

Jesus - thanks.

matt

Jesus - sounds good...I'll keep my fingers crossed

Kyle

I just received my black ESV today and it is beautiful. Thanks Mark for the review. I have one question for others who have ordered this one or the tan. The first pages, from Genesis 19 and back to the first or second blank page at the beginning, are stitched together so that they do not open as completely as the rest of the Bible does. It doesn't hide the text, but I was wondering if there is a reason for this, is it normal, or do I need to consider returning the Bible? Thanks for any response.

matt

You are not alone, I have wondered this as well. Although I do not know why.

Kyle

Thanks for the response matt. So yours has this strange stitching also. I wrote Allan's today concerning this issue and the stiffness and waves in the paper (yep, mine has that also). I will post Allan's response here once I receive it. I'm sure that structurally the Bible is good but I just wonder what's up. The cover, like others have said, on the Allan's is wonderful!

matt

I have experienced the same issues. Please let me know what they say.

PDS

I addressed this with them early on...the text below is an email from them. Hope it helps. Mine is also done on the Genesis 19 page.

-----

You have inadvertently discovered why an Allan binding is so strong. This lengthwise row of stitching is called 'overcasting' and it is positioned at the centre of the first section to lend additional strength to the volume, attaching the paper bookblock to the leather binding more securely.

It used to be done quite regularly in our grandparent's time and Bible buyers would have recognised it then for what it is. However for cost and maybe aesthetic reasons it is rarely used nowadays but we still put it in our finest bindings to make them last longer.

I think you will find the binding will relax in use, but that is why the extra line of stitching is there. It is not a fault but you may appreciate this feature more in the years to come. I hope so.

Kyle

Thanks PDS. I received a reply from Nicholas Gray at Allan's with the same response this morning (a very quick response) concerning the stitching. He also addressed the stiff and wavy pages issue. Here is the response:

----------------
I know what you mean.The paper may feel stiffer because of the grain
direction - it is short grain, which means that the fibres lie along a line from the spine to the fore-edge. This not a fault, but it is the way that the Bible is printed. This characteristic is related to the make-up of the india paper rather than the binding

All the Allan ESVs are printed this way. If it should become a distraction
in use, please let me know.

---------------

I can live with the page issue. This binding is soooo much better than anything I have seen out there today and Allan's customer service is top notch. Where else can you get a quality binding such as this and such quick and professional service?

Again,thank you Mark for your excellent site and for your recommendation of Allan's.

matt

Was it a mistake to have the grain going from the spine to edge of the page, or does this add strength?

Kyle

matt: I don't know. I am assuming that it doesn't matter other than the fact that it makes the page stiff. It seems apparent that all ESV's from Allan's will be this way for a time. I'm keeping mine in hopes that the pages will become more flimsy with use. I'm curious whether all the Collins ESV's are this way other than Allan's. It would seem that if they are selling blocks to several other companies that you would see the same issue. Anyone know? Anyone own a Collin's edition of the ESV other than an Allan's?

PDS

I'm not sure I follow the explanation on the paper issue. Can someone clarify?

Kyle

My guess on the wavy-stiff paper issue is (as some have already stated) that it is the red dye. The paper acts like it's been damp on the edge and then has dried out. If you check the ruled blank pages in the back of the Bible, they are the same way. I had a friend once who dropped his Bible in some water (the toilet! Watch how you set it on the tank!). I mean it got soaked! It become swollen to almost twice it's size and the paper become very wavy and stiff. This Bible is not that dramatic but kinda proves a point. My theory is that the paper used by Collins just doesn't handle the dye and gilding as well as some other higher quality papers. It soaks up the dye a bit more than say the paper used in my Cambridge Pitt Minion. You can tell if you look at the leading edge. The dye is actually soaked into the page a little bit. On the Pitt Minion, you wont see any red on the page at all.

So, what to do? I think it is either live with it and hope it loosens up or return the Bible and wait until it is resolved. I don't think the second option is gonna happen any time soon. My guess is that Allan's is using the only source they have at the time (Collins) and so they
(and ultimately us) are dealing with the wavy - stiff paper issue. I personally think that if they were not dyed, it would not be stiff and wavy, but then it wouldn't look as nice.

I'm going to give my theory to Allan's and see what they say and if there is any way they can test this. If my theory is correct, then I may see if it is possible to get one without the red dye and just the gilding. Will let you guys know what the verdict is.

Jesus Saenz

If the dye was the issue then the top and bottom of the book block would be stiff and wavy but that is not the case as only the side edge is wavy and stiff. Remember also that Cambridge handle all their production whereas R L Allan is taking book blocks from others and then rebinding into a finished product.

My Bible is less stiff and wavy from when I first received back in late July, but I have used it a lot as well as "worked" it to further loosen it up.

To the issue of the grain. The grain refers to how the paper was made. Paper is of course made of wood pulp and other substances that help bind the wood pulp maybe color is added, etc. The grain of the paper is how the pulp has been laid down, in other words, it is the direction of the fibers that make up paper. In the blocks used by R L Allan from Harper Collins have the grain or the fibers running horizontally rather than vertically. If the fibers were running vertically then the stiffness would also be on a vertical plane. For example, take a long thin piece of wood with the grain running vertically. You can bend the wood lengthwise, if the grain was horizontal on this piece of wood and you tried to bend it, it would snap and not bend. I hope this was clear.

PDS

Kyle -- I'd have to agree with Jesus. If the dye was the issue, then the waviness would appear on the top and bottom of the pages. However, it doesn't -- only on the vertical edges.

Jesus -- so you believe it is not attributed to dye but the grain? I've never seen this in a book. Is R L Allen the only ones who run it horizontal? And if so, why? Also, if it's the issue, then why aren't other Bibles wavy at the top and bottom edges. Interesting issue.

Kyle

Here is the response I received from Allan's on my "dye theory":

-------------------
Thank you for your helpful comment. We buy ungilded bookblocks and the paper used is the standard india paper Clays normally specify. So it's a bit of a mystery.

I'll discuss the red dye as a possible culprit with our binder. Good
thinking, Kyle.
---------------------

I totally see Jesus' point concerning the top and bottom edges not being wavy, but this may also be a combination of the dye and the grain (the grain running horizontal). I think the only way to know for sure is to look at a book block before the dye and gilding and then after it. If the book blocks are sitting not wavy and stiff then there you have it. Also, if anyone out there owns a Collins ESV edition printed by Clays Ltd, St Ives plc and it isn't doing this, then we have our answer. The mystery can be easily solved.

I am still left with the choice of keeping the Bible in hopes that what Jesus has said (that it does loosen up) will happen or simply returning it in hopes that the problem will be corrected at a later date. Unfortunately, we don't know when that later date will be. I have to admit, the stiffness of the pages is irritating especially since I spent so much on this Bible, but I think I will keep it for now and see what happens. I can learn to deal with it. I don't want to give it up.

Jesus Saenz

Another thing to consider regarding the grain, there is more deflection if the grain is running in the direction of the longest plane. Cutting the paper to use horizontally may be done to add strength.

matt

Kyle - Do you know what Allans meant comment you posted regarding "Clays"? I have not heard this term. Is it regarding the paper in an unfinished state?

You quoted:
"the paper used is the standard india paper Clays normally specify"

The stiffness in the paper is interesting considering it is the first time I have experienced it. DOes anyone know if all of Allan's bibles are like this or just the ESVs?

Jesus Saenz

Clays Ltd. is the printer for the Harper Collins ESV text block.

PDS

I wonder if they are going to do anything differently for the 2008 reprint in May/Jun 08? I understand there will a few issues addressed. It will also have the newer text of the ESV.

Kyle

Okay, I hate to be picky here, but does it bug anyone else that the red dye has bled into most of the pages? I was looking at mine today and noticed this when comparing it with my Pitt Minion. The Pitt Minion has no dye on the page. The dye is only on the outer edge. It has not bled into the paper. On my Allan's ESV it has bled into the page around the edge making it look untidy. On some pages it is worse than others.It was either too much dye or the paper was not designed to take the dye. Anyone else have this issue? Am I being too picky?

Kyle

Matt: This is the first Bible I have ever owned (and I have owned very many) that had stiff pages and dye bleed. All, even the cheapest, have had pages that stay flat and are limp. I believe this is the Collins bookblock Allan's binder is using. I don't think you would see this problem on their other Bibles since they come from Oxford and such. Another of my theories is that Collins doesn't produce this Bookblock strictly for Allan's. Allan's binder is probably just buying and using the same book block used in Collins ESV that is sold in the UK. My theory is that the paper used is just not up to the standard of other publishers. I would like to believe otherwise, and wish someone would convince me so. I want to keep this Bible, but the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to return it. 175.00 is a great deal of money to pay for a bible with inferior paper even if it is bound well and is a great translation. A book at this price should be near flawless, in my opinion.

PDS

Kyle--you wrote, "that the red dye has bled into most of the pages?" I'm not sure I follow. There are some of the pages at the back that have some red dye splattered on them, which I'm not sure what that is all about, but not really sure what you mean by "bled into most of the pages". As you described it, I can't say it's a big problem with mine.

It's hard for me to compare this with other Bibles as I've always owned cheap ones...with the exception of the ESV Calfskin I recently bought.

I guess you can get the ESV Pitt Minion in 2008, if nothing else.

Kyle

PDS--If you isolate a page by itself and lay it flat, text facing up, you should not see red around the border of the page. If you see red dye, especially if it is uneven, the dye has "bled" or soaked into the page. You will not see this on a Cambridge or Oxford Bible.

I believe the paper used for the ESV is more succeptable to moisture than an Oxford or Cambridge edition. The ESV calfskin you own (and I do as well) is even more so. Try this test: take one page and hold it between the palms of your hands for 1 min.. You will see how the paper responds to the moisture of your hands. Try it with your ESV from Crossway. It's paper responds even more to moisture. It will wrinkle all up. All Bible paper will wrinkle to a degree but most top quality paper is resilient and will bounce back into form (such as used by Cambridge or Oxford).

My object is not to make you or anyone else here discontent with their ESV from Allan's but simply to discuss the potential paper issue and try and come to a resolution myself as to what to do.

PDS

Thanks for the explanation -- makes sense to me!

Roger

First, thanks to Mark for his original Allan ESV research which led me to purchase a black Allan ESV in the Spring of '06. I'm very grateful to Mark, very impressed with the RL Allan company (especially Nicholas Gray), and I'm very pleased with my Bible. It's the first Bible that I've ever owned that instantly felt like a future heirloom. The only negative is that about 15% of the gold leaf imprinting on the binding has worn off, but I can live with that considering the rest is a completel masterpiece. If you haven't purchased an Allan ESV yet, I HIGHLY recommend that you buy one. Why? 1) The quality and workmanship is of the highest you will ever find. 2) Therefore, this Bible will wear better and last you longer than any other Bible out there. On second thought, buy two. Why two? 1) If you are married, your wife will certainly appreciate having a Bible as nice as yours and will stop coveting. I'm buying my wife a tan one for Christmas. 2) If you're not married but have someone special in mind, forget rings and chocolates...present her with this Bible and you just might clinch the deal. In all seriousness, if you value quality and fine workmanship, the Allan ESV is your Bible. You will get what you pay for. On a side note...if you want to spend considerably less on an ESV (and you don't want to wait a long time for shipping and can live with a few cosmetic imperfections), consider this - my friend (whose dad works for Crossway) told me that Crossway (in Wheaton, IL) has a cache of Bibles (mostly their top quality leather editions) with slight cosmetic flaws. They can't sell them in stores (many were store returns...no doubt from people like us). They don't have an outlet store either. If this sound interesting to you, I'd suggest you call them and make them an offer.

Again, hats off to Mark, RL Allan, and to all who have are currently enjoying their treasured find.

J. Mark Bertrand

I'm thrilled to see this discussion taking on such a life of its own. I've learned a lot! You guys are fantastic and I'm grateful for all the insight and information being shared.

Michael Smith

I have bought irregular ESV calfskin leather from crossway and the cost was the same as the 40% off at Westminister Bookstore for the same edition new.

Michael Smith

I talked to Crossway today and was told they have very seldom seen any seconds of the calfskin bibles and if they did it would be sold on their website at the 50% off dept. Even though they have not seen any on that site.

Denis

Hopefully we can get an update on this paper question at some point. The Allan's is the only high-quality Bible I've laid my hands on (as noted elsewhere, it doesn't seem too easy to find somewhere that stocks them), so I've really never had any exposure to the types of paper they would use.

I ended up getting an Allan's because I wanted a cover and binding that would hold up to regular use; I didn't want another Bible that would fall apart on me in a couple years. However, I did notice the paper was stiff (I assumed part of this was a static issue due to how sections of the paper seemed to stick together). The pages in mine are a bit wavy and have the same bleeding characteristics described above (I am more concerned about the usability as opposed to aesthetics though).

It has loosened up quite a bit with a few months of regular use, but still does seem a bit stiff.

Mark, if you happen to read this, since you have probably had the most exposure to the various types of paper used can you comment at all on these observations?

Thanks.

Adam

I think I may have finally found the bible I am have been looking for. After several years of walking not as close to the Lord as I should have been I have a renewed passion for Christ. I can remember as a child my grandfather had a very nice, tan bible that I always thought stood out in a sea of black bibles.

One question I have though, it does not appear the Allan's ESV version is a red letter bible. Is that correct?

matt


I just received my Tan ESV, and is beautiful. I consider it my favorite Allans bible thus far.

Pros: The book block is very flexible unlike my black edition, and the pages are only slightly wavy. It is extremely flexible and the leather is top notch. The red under gold gilding is elegant (darker red, and brighter gold), much more so than my cambridge bibles.

A couple Cons: when the printer was cutting the book block, somehow a few pages were missed and so when I received the bible there were a couple pages with squared corners with out any gilding...it was strange but I simply clipped them to match the other pages. Also the smugding text issue that I have experienced with my previous ESVs from Allans is still an issue here but that is related to the printing.

Adam: Allans ESVs are only black letter editions

Marktheless

Hello all! I just received my Allan ESV (in black highland) and my Cambridge NKJV pitt minion(in goatskin as well), both from Allan. I have to say I love everything about both of these Bibles except the red dye bleeding into the pages on the Allan ESV. The Cambridge, however, has no red on the "flat" side of the page. It really makes the Bible look sloppy, IMO. I emailed Nicholas at Allan, who is a pleasure to deal with, BTW, and asked if this was normal. I haven't received his reply yet, but if this is the norm, then I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed with this aspect of Allan's craftsmanship. I guess for the price I paid I expected more. My hat is off to Cambridge for producing a quality product!

PDS

Matt - you wrote, "Also the smugding text issue that I have experienced with my previous ESVs from Allans is still an issue here but that is related to the printing." -- Yep. It appears to be a mixture of the paper, print image, and ones chemical make-up. In my case, the print image is coming off. I was promised this will be resolved in the May 2008 printing.

matt

PDS - When I spoke to Allans they also mentioned the issue was with the print image and paper (I spoke with them in June when the printing first came out and I was told that this was the first time they had heard about it then everyone started coming out of the wood work) . Regarding "ones chemical makeup", it has been my experience (in talking with a handful of people) that the problem comes down to just touching or rubbing the text. Since it was just one printing it seems as though the whole batch was affected. I dont think Allans would do a "Recall" though.

PDS

Allan's said it has only been experienced by a couple of individuals. They are going to take care of me on the issue.

Kyle

marktheless: Wavy stiff pages and dye bleed into the pages seems to be the "norm" on this printing. Mine is like this also. Great cover and binding, but in my opinion, the paper used by Collins can't stand up to dying and gilding. Hopefully, Allan's will resolve this issue soon.

Marktheless

Kyle: Thanks for your response... here is the reply I received from Nicholas:
Dear Mark

That is an interesting comment about the bleeding red ink and I think ther reason is because the paper grain goes acroos the page rather than up and down, if you see what I mean. This is called 'short grain' as you may know.

Red under gold page edging is quite rare and perhaps too much ink was applied. If you would like us to send another copy, please let me know. Our Allan books are all hand-finished so there may be a small degree of difference in each volume.

Kind regards
Nicholas Gray

If this "bleeding" issue is the norm for this particular print then I guess I won't bother sending it back. Would you all agree with this? I'm assuming all the Allan ESV's have this same problem. I do have to say the leather cover and the sewn binding are wonderful. What a great smelling Bible! I'm glad I found this blog...I feel as though I own a piece of greatness, both inside and out.

matt

I have personally held 5 of the ESVs (purchased at different times if that matters) and they all smeared. I personally think the whole batch was affected and people that have not experienced it have not rubbed the page (some are more delicate with the pages), etc.

I may be wrong, but this has been my experience.

PDS

Hopefully this will be fixed with the next printing as they suggest.

Kyle

I regrettably returned my black ESV in highland goatskin to Allan's today. The cover and binding were excellent, but I just could not get over the paper issue that we have been discussing. Hopefully in the June 2008 reprint these issues will be resolved.

Marktheless

Kyle, you're not alone my friend. I'm leaning towards doing the same thing, unfortunately. Over the past couple of days I've been reading both the Allan ESV and one of my Cambridge Bibles in "tandem" so to speak. And I can't get past the poor quality paper issue either. Between the sloppy red dye soaked into every page and the overly stiff and wavy paper, I can't believe I actually spent $170 on this Bible! (even the black text is more "dark gray" than crisp black) I do LOVE the leather cover and the quality sewn binding, but for me, it ends right there. Maybe if Cambridge comes out with an ESV edition and Allan decides to cover it, then I will give it another try.

matt

Marktheless - I also noticed the grayish text, which threw me because I originally expected it to be a darker black similiar to my cambridge bibles.

Marktheless

Matt- At first I thought it was just the light in the room that I was reading in, and then I compared it to my Cambridge pitt minion and noticed a substantial difference. The pitt was very dark and crisp, where as the Allan was more gray with a faded look. Boy are we picky or what! It's not easy being anal. ;) What can I say...I'm a perfectionist and for that price, I expected perfection. (or at the least, a Bible with fluid pages that I can easily thumb through). I question how loose it will really get, even with continual use.

Marktheless

Just out of curiousity...does anyone own both a crossway classic reference ESV and an Allan ESV? and if so, is the page "stiffness/waviness" the same in the crossway? or is the crossway more fluid like a Cambridge?

matt

Marktheless- I own a couple premium leather and regular editions from crossway, eventhough the thickness in the paper varies between them they all have very fluid paper (i.e. similiar to cambridge). I am not sure what edition of the Allan's ESV you have, but I have found an improvement from the Black to the Tan edition. The roughly five Black ESVs I have handled were extremely stiff from the outset while the two Tan ones I have handled have had fairly fluid pages (barely notice the "waviness" in pages) and over the past week have gotten even more fluid (although the red ink issue is just a bad). I am satisfied at this point and will most likely just get another one come late next year.

Marktheless

Matt- I have the black goatskin ESV. Why do you suppose the tan ones would be different than the black? You would think the color of the binding wouldn't make a difference.
How do the premium leather crossway Bibles compare to Cambridge(as far as leather quality and binding), in your opinion?

matt

I have no idea why the Tan and Black editions feel different, the Tan just felt more fluid to me...I am guessing it is just random. Regarding cambridge vs crossway, Cambridge is just Cambridge and they have a few years on Crossway. Allans are the only ones in my opinion to top Cambridge in binding. My cambridge editions are much more fluid in general although it just depends on the edition for both. Put this way, I have returned premium from crossway, but not once from cambridge. When Cambridge puts out the ESV I will be one of the first to order.

In all it depends on what you want and I applaud crossway for their diligent and creative work in coming up with new and improved editions.

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