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November 19, 2007


Kyle Newcomer

I picked up a burgundy version of the Compact NLT a long time ago because I was interested in the translation. It has turned out to be one of the most useful Bible purchases I've ever made. It is really the perfect size Bible to throw in a backpack full of books or even a coat pocket. I wish I could get exactly the same thing in an ESV.


Having seen the ESV trutone first hand at my local shop, I've decided to go with it as it offers a good value for the price. I'm putting off my purchase until next year when the new printing comes out. This is the specific one I'm looking at:


I also own a TNIV duotone that I carry to work and church, though with this being my first read through of this translation it's quickly falling out of favor the more I read it. The materials are quite enjoyable to the touch though:



I sent a question a few weeks back asking about the Thompson Chain Bible.

I ordered the following:

· Genuine Leather with Levant Grain: 1923 pages
· Publisher: Kirkbride (January 1988)
· ISBN-10: 0887071082
· ISBN-13: 978-0887071089
· Product Dimensions: 25.9 x 19.8 x 4.6 cm

I was pretty happy with what I read and seen of it online, so when I opened the box when it arrived I was let down in a BIG way. It’s supposed to be leather but the cover was thinner then the cardboard giveaway Bibles we have at our church. When I opened it I thought the cover would eventually crack or break off. I took a quick look through it and seen that it was Smyth sewn instead of glued which is a plus. Working in a library for 15 years you come to respect the Smyth sewn binding over the cheaper glued bindings. I didn’t give up hope, the content of the Bible was seemed good at a glance, the references seemed to be what I was looking for so I got back online and contacted Kirkbride directly.

After a few days they did respond giving me a list of ISBN numbers to choose from and I became interested in what they call “Deluxe Kirvella.” My wife uses the Life Application Bible made of the similar stuff, it’s extremely soft and supple in the hand, it feels better in the hand then most of the leather Bibles I own so I ordered:

· Kirvella bound: 1923 pages
· Publisher: Kirkbride Bible Company (September 2006)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0887075525
· ISBN-13: 978-0887075520
· Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.1 x 2 inches

The pages are nice and white similar to the pages used by Oxford, the ribbon place marker is nice and thick, a little long, but if it frays you can trim it. Thank you for making the posts in reference to 'fake' leather covers I'm using one now and it's the nicest feeling Bible I own, I would suggest to anyone that is looking for a Thompson Chain Bible to go for the Kirvella and avoid the "Genuine Leather" editions.



J. Mark Bertrand

JM -- I appreciate the tip. It bears out what I've been saying for a while, that the imitation leathers are a better value at this point than most bonded and genuine options, and feel better out of the box, too. I've been told that some of the super-stiff genuine covers grow more supple with age and use, but that really hasn't been the case with many of mine.


I beg to differ with Nathan. I purchased A Kirkbride Thompson Chain-Reference Bible ISBN 9780887071034 (Genuine Morocco Leather), I love it. Just awesome to the touch, very supple and well made. I kinda like this leather over the Allan's goat skin for which I paid much more.


Since my previous post I've purchased the In Touch NASB in burgundy calfskin and I love it. I also bought a compact TruTone ESV portfolio which I also enjoy. Just so many beautifully bound bibles to choose from. Glad to hear you are enjoying your bible Raj :)

Fr. Bill Klock


Thanks for finding out what these covers actually are. I've been wondering that for quite a while. For Christmas 2006 I bought me then eight-year-old daughter an ESV slimsline TruTone with a funky pink cover that she loves, being eight and all. The text block wasn't anything to shout about, but the cover has held up perfectly through more than a year of shoving it into her backpack everyday. Since she had trouble with the ESV text when reading on her own, I bought her a Good News Bible direct from the American Bible Society for Christmas this year. Same kind of cover, but way nicer than the Crossway. It feels great, it looks great, and it's nice and floppy. I'm tempted to buy one of these for my own daily use just to see how it would hold up under heavy-duty ministerial use. Too bad no one's printing a 1928BCP/KJV combo with this kind of cover. I'd be really impressed if this new pleather were to hold up better than the real thing. The future is now!


I've had an ESV Brown/Cordovan TruTone Thinline Portfolio for a couple of years now and have really enjoyed it, but after setting it aside for a while in its box I discovered a problem: I had set a few other books on top of it for a few weeks, and the clear plastic window in the box stuck to the TruTone, forming a very large, very glossy patch on the otherwise nicely-textured front cover. Not a big deal considering its cost, I guess, but it was so handsome for a $23 Bible. I ended up purchasing a Black/Ostrich Thinline to replace it for my collection, and I'm trying to get past the aesthetic difficulties of the marred Cordovan to carry it around more. :-)

In any event, beware the plastic windows of the Crossway ESV boxes, or, apparently, too much pressure of a smooth surface on the Trutone.

Jonathan B

What will happen to Polyurethane after ten or twenty years? Any waterproof nylon pack or raingear I've bought that was coated with Polyurethane on the inside has always peeled off in little "crumby" bits and pieces as it aged.

Phil LaRue

Are they as durable? That is the question I'd like to see answered.

paul dare

I'm sure someone either already knows about this or has even posted in the comments already(sorry, didn't read them all yet) but I wanted to get this out to the readers here. WTS Bookstore is running a clearance on ESV Study's in the TruTone binding.

Find it here: http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/5824/nm/The_ESV_Study_Bible_TruTone_Natural_Brown_



This video is interesting, although I hope it doesn't turn anyone away from these synthetics:

Father Robert Lyons

I am a hospital Chaplain, and I have an NLT compact leatherlike in black that I got in May 2007. I use the snot out of it... and for the past year I have been noticing a progressive breakdown in the cover where my thumb rests on the front and where my palm holds the side. As an earlier poster described, little bits of poly are peeling off here and there, and it has a bit of a dirty feel to it. Simply rubbing my thumb lightly over the cover produces a significant amount of black specks.

I also have a larger NLT Life Application Study Bible bought at the same time (when I went NLT). It has fared better, since it sits on my desk in my office or is used in the lectern and isn't carted about.

I have to say, I don't think I'd buy one of these in the future... though I am admittedly still waiting for the single-column NLT second (revised) edition with minimal notes and cross-references for use when I pray my Daily Office.

J. Patrick Smith

Quick thanks for hosting this information regarding the material used for the "TruTone" covers. My wife has a latex allergy. Since bonded leather usually includes a layer of latex, we stay away from those just as a precaution. We've questioned the TruTone options, but until finding your post, couldn't locate any information regarding the materials used in these products. Thanks!


Fr. Lyons: do you have any ArmorAll, a product intended for automotive plastics? It seems to preserve my TruTones quite well although none of them are getting all that much wear. Once the PU starts flaking as you describe, it might be too late, but I've seen it do some pretty impressive restorations on old car dashes.

Would love to hear from anyone who uses it (or any other plastic treatment) on these plastic covers.

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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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