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ESV Personal Reference Bible (Cloth Over Board, Timeless) Hardcover – April 30, 2015
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The soft-cover seems decent...it is plush, flexible, and stiched. I wouldn't call it "imitation leather" as it doesn't look at all like that, but it looks nice.
The print is small, but readable. The layout of the text is great: Single column, side references along the spine. The side reference has an attractive line demarcating it from the text...which is nice. When I was reading it along at Church I found my eyes following the text and not going out to the references.
This seems like a somewhat durable Bible...the binding appears to be sewn. I say "appears" because my own smythe sewn Bibles look very different. Either this was made to appear to be smythe sewn, or it might actually be. The Bible lays pretty flat when open, so it may be a combo of sewn and glued. Where it may break down most quickly is the soft-cover. As noted above, it is stiched, but the paper it adheres to doesn't seem particularly sturdy. It is not a leatherette page it's adhered to, but the fact it's stitched makes me think this will be one of the more durable low-priced personal-size Bibles available.
A big draw-back to me is that this is printed in China. I've purchased a couple of Bibles recently from different publishers, and both are using China to print. The investigating I've done leads me to believe Amity Press in China is producing these (it is the largest Bible printer in China...and is the only one authorized by the State, I believe). The company appears to be very loosely "Christian" and works in conjunction with the Chinese government with its "outreach" (which includes AIDS and sex instruction...encouraging the use of condomns among prostitutes rather than repentance and a way out of being a sex-slave). Attention "Christian" publishers...with the cost of importing these Bibles, your largely Christian consumers will likely pay an extra $5-$10 in order to not fund a crypto-christian printer in China so you can still meet your bottom line.
It's troubling to me that Christian publishers are going this route. I give this Bible 4 stars only because I know other publishers are using Amity...although this alone might be worthy of giving it only 1 star.
Back when I got this, my daily reader was a NKJV Slimline from Thomas Nelson, with a bonded leather cover and glued binding, I thought I was rocking a rather good bible for daily use, and assumed the cardboard like cover was "the norm" for the price range. When UPS delivered my TruTone ESV, that all changed.
While this bible surely can't compete it "bible yoga" (as us bible geeks love to call it) I've personally found TruTone to be one of the best, non-genuine leather materials you can get for the money. TruTone for those who have never felt it in person before, it somewhat like leather, however it keeps a more "vinyl" feel, and doesn't gain that great personality true leather gains with use, however it holds up rather nicely, when properly maintained.
Much has been said about the ESV (including some negativity from KJVO proponents) regarding it's credibility, however this bible caused me to convert to reading the ESV almost exclusively, I'm not going to dive much into detail regarding the translation, however the ESV is one of the smoothest reading, most literal translations available today, and while some still prefer the NIV or even the NLT, I've found the ESV to be perfect for my own personal use.
As for stitching, This edition features a glued binding, however a well done one at that, the binding out of the box was far more cooperative than my NKJV or NIV study bible. With a bit of breaking in, you should have no issues with the binding.
Paper quality is also decent, and while not the best you'll find, The paper presents very little bleed through from other pages. A point worth making is that Crossway and skip a step in the manufacturing process, where after the pages are gilded, they're "shuffled" gently to break them apart from one other, as to prevent them from being stuck together once bound. This means if you decided to purchase this bible, You'll need to take some time to manually separate many of the pages, and while every page isn't stuck together many are. This is a small price to pay for such a lovely bible.
Beyond the stuck together pages, my only negative would be the somewhat interesting fact that the gold printing on the spine of this bible does have a tendency to rub off with use, something I haven't seen often, I bought mine on the 4th, and much of the gold printing has now rubbed off, and while this could be more common then I'm thinking, I thought it was interesting none the less, however it doesn't detract from the aesthetics in anyway (unless you cannot live without the "Holy Bible" markings on the spine).
All in all, Crossway did a great job with this bible, while the single column format isn't perfect, If your like me, you'll quickly fall in love with it. TruTone while nothing like Calfskin or Goatskin, is still a very nice option for those not wanting something of that quality, in fear of loosing it or damaging the material.
For the $23.99 (at time of writing) your hard pressed to find a nicer ESV, especially if your searching for a single column layout.
If you want something more, You may be highly tempted (like me) to look at buying the genuine leather of this bible (with a stitched binding) and sending it to be rebound in Calfskin or Goatskin, with additional ribbons, something that could easily become my (or someone else's) personal favourite bible for life.
Most recent customer reviews
Great version, beautiful cover, perfect size, good quality Bible paper so it doesn't show thru very much, font is very...Read more