Cambridge ESV Pitt Minion (Four Editions)

I picked up my first Pitt Minion at a Dublin cathedral bookstore a few years before Cambridge re-introduced the format. Printed by the Trinitarian Bible Society, it features a rugged, grainy calfskin binding with vinyl lining, semi-yapp covers, two ribbons, and art-gilt pages. Whenever they saw it, people would ask where I’d found it and how they could get one, too. So I haven’t been at all surprised by the success the format has enjoyed since Cambridge brought it back. Now it seems that the Pitt Minion and the wide margin based on the same setting are the one-two punch in the Cambridge line-up. Various evangelical-friendly translations — the KJV, the NIV, the NKJV, the NASB — are available in this combination, and now the ESV is following suit. The Pitt Minions are officially on the market, with the wide margins expected to follow later this year or early next.

ESV Pitt Minion (On the Table)
Above: Two options in goatskin — black and brown — and a third in burgundy French morocco. The imitation leather is not pictured, but just wait…

ESV Pitt Minion (On the Shelf)
Above: I never store softcover, leather-bound Bibles on their edges like this, but I just wanted to show that they hold their own on a crowded shelf.

Earlier this year, I reviewed the NKJV Pitt Minion in black goatskin. Just about everything I said there applies to the ESV Pitt Minion, too. There’s no need for suspense in this case, so I won’t make you wait until the end of the review to find out whether these things are any good. They’re great. The ESV Pitt Minion is available in four bindings: two goatskins (black and brown), burgundy French morocco, and a two-tone tan and red imitation leather. They’re all excellent — no surprised there — and which one you choose will have more to do with aesthetic preferences than anything else.

ESV Pitt Minion (Morning Read)
Above: Using the brown goatskin edition for a morning read. There’s only one ribbon, but don’t succumb to the temptation of using a leaf marker!

ESV Pitt Minion (Black Letter vs. Red Letter))
Above: Red letter or black? It’s your choice. The brown goatskin (top) and imitation leather leather editions feature black letter, which means the words of Christ are not set off in red ink, while the black goatskin (bottom) and burgundy French morocco editions give Americans what they want.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I personally prefer thicker, smaller Bibles to thinner, larger ones. The heft feels good in the hand. (At least, it does if you wear a size 9 glove like me. The small-handed among us might beg to differ.) Having said that, I’ve always like the Pitt Minion, perhaps because of the way it defies categorization. It’s not tiny, but it’s not big.

If the Pitt Minion were a person, we’d suspect it of an eating disorder. Its larger-than-compact proportions only emphasize the spine’s extreme leanness. This must be the secret of the format’s success. While it feels small in the hand, it doesn’t read small. No one will confuse it with a large print edition, but the type size is about right for a handy Bible, and you get a full complement of cross references. You can take the Pitt Minion with you to church or a Bible study and not feel like you’ve left something essential behind.

ESV Pitt Minion (Color Comparison)
Above: Goatskin and French morocco … meet cowhide. While I personally prefer the brown, there’s no denying that each option has its own charms.

Since the ESV Pitt Minions arrived on my doorstep, I’ve been using the brown goatskin edition constantly for study, for church, and for casual reading. There are better Bibles for each application, but few as good at doing everything well. As an all-arounder, a Bible for the person who’s only going to invest in one, this format makes a lot of sense.

The most traditional of the four offerings is of course the black goatskin. It comes with art-gilt (“red under gold”) page edges, a single red ribbon, and the words of Christ in red, which is standard in the American market. Comparing the ESV version with the NKJV I reviewed earlier, there are only two substantial differences. The ESV’s reference column is wider, which results in the text columns being marginally narrower. In terms of harmony, the balance achieved in the NKJV and NIV Pitt Minions is more attractive, but it didn’t take me long to get used to the ESV’s appearance.

ESV Pitt Minion (Color Comparison)
Above: Black (center) is the traditional option, with burgundy a close second. Brown is a tasteful, un-flashy alternative, perhaps a bit less formal.

The second difference has to do with the goatskin. The ESV covers seem just a bit stiffer and less pliable than the goatskin used on the NKJV and NIV. After a lot of tactile back-and-forth, I’m thinking the boards on the ESVs must be a bit thicker or stiffer than those used in the earlier Pitt Minions. It’s a shame, but I can’t say it detracts much from my overall satisfaction. As much as I appreciate the liquidity of the larger wide margins, the thing that makes the Pitt Minion “work” is the way it springs open flat. For those who prefer a supple but firm cover, these will be great. They are still flexible, especially in comparison to the stiffer French morocco.

ESV Pitt Minion (Somewhat Limp)
Above: While the cover isn’t exactly liquid, the Pitt Minions still open flat and make for an excellent hand-held reader.

ESV Pitt Minion (Open Flat)
Above: As you can see, the cover seems to attach farther outside the text block than usual, perhaps contributing to the Pitt Minion’s unique, flat-open feel. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Brown . . . what can I say? I love it in very variation, from light tan to the darkest mahogany. So it’s no surprise that my favorite edition of the four is the brown goatskin. The first thing I did was whip out the other brown goatskin Cambridges — the KJV Pitt Minion and the large-print Book of Common Prayer — for a little side-by-side comparison. The shading is pretty consistent, though of course there is variation between them both in terms of color and grain, this being a natural product and all. The imprinting on my brown ESV is more crisp. While the cover itself is not quite as flexible as the KJV’s, the fact that it opens perfectly flat where the KJV doesn’t makes it far preferable.

Let me repeat that: a stiffer cover combined with the ability to open flat is better than a limper cover on a Bible that doesn’t open flat. In fact, for my money, a cheap hardback that opens flat is better than a deluxe goatskin jewel-encrusted fairy-dust-impregnated edition that doesn’t. Because opening flat makes all the difference in usability. It’s easier on the eye and the hand.

ESV Pitt Minion (Study in Brown)
Above: They make a pretty trio.

ESV Pitt Minion (Brown and Brown)
Above: The ESV and BCP pair off. Size-wise, an excellent fit.

If there is one thing I prefer about the KJV edition, though, it’s the lining. The KJV is lined in a lighter brown with an almost marbled variation in color. By contrast, the ESV is lined in black. The brown is a more attractive lining choice, as you can see:

ESV Pitt Minion (Brown Linings Compared)

In terms of goatskin, which to choose — black or brown? In terms of layout or quality, there is no difference, so it’s purely an aesthetic decision. If you require a red letter edition, go with the black. If not, brown offers a unique change of pace.

ESV Pitt Minion (Flexibility)
Above: The brown goatskin (left) and black goatskin demonstrate their flexibility. All four of the editions open flat, but the goatskin is more supple than the French morocco. The imitation leather we’ll get to in a sec.

ESV Pitt Minion (Art Gilt Edges)
Above: Art-gilt (“red under gold”) edges on the goatskin editions, with plain gold on the morocco and imitation leather.

I’ve noted before that something’s happened in the world of French morocco. A vintage Cambridge Bible bound in French morocco often sported a thinner, more flexible cover than its calfskin compadre, but these days the morocco seems to be stiff, thicker, and less glossy — overall, a less refined option. So when I saw that a burgundy edition of the ESV Pitt Minion would be offered in morocco, I couldn’t see the point. After handling it, though, I’m happy to say that, while it won’t win any flexibility competitions with the goatskin (or vintage morocco), this is not the stiff, coarse stuff of recent years.

ESV Pitt Minion (Study in Red)
Above: A study in red. The ESV in French morocco (top) compared to the NIV Pitt Minion in burgundy goatskin. While the goatskin handles better, the morocco looks great and would make an excellent choice if this is your color preference.

As you can see, instead of the purplish, muddy, wine-red hue I expect when someone says ‘burgundy,’ here the shade has a healthy dose of scarlet. If you ask me, this could pass for red — and we all know how much I like red Bibles!

And then there’s the oddball of the assortment, the imitation leather. There is only one thing not to like about this one, and it’s the color. Everything else is jaw-droppingly good. My preference would have been for a single-tone edition in tan, the predominant color here, getting rid of the Frankenbible seam. That preference was strengthened by the realization that, in ever other respect, this edition is every bit as good as the others. It opens flat. It’s flexible. The tan is quite attractive. Compared to other polyurethane covers, the level of fit and finish is just superb.

ESV Pitt Minion (Imitation Leather)
Above: I don’t know what the fascination with two-tone covers is, but it leaves me cold. Having said that, this is the best cover of its class I’ve ever seen. If it were all tan, it could rear its head in the company of any leather and be unashamed.

ESV Pitt Minion (Imitations Compared)
Above: Compared to the Deluxe Compact ESV from Crossway (top), the Pitt Minion shows an extreme level of refinement. Nice, tight detailing, no loose threads. The Pitt Minion has a tackier surface feel, but that’s about it.

ESV Pitt Minion (Burgundy Morocco & Two-Tone Imitation))
Above: The two “lower end” options don’t feel low end at all. With the Pitt Minion, there really isn’t a bad choice.

What I love about the ESV is the way it splits the difference between the traditional language I grew up with and the need for clarity and comprehension today. No translation is perfect, but this one has served me pretty well the past few years. In the beginning, there were so few options, and now we’re spoiled for choices. In a sense, the Pitt Minion is a great vehicle for the ESV, because it represents a similar attempt at compromise. No, it doesn’t have the largest type, and it doesn’t have the most features, but for all around use, it cheats out the competition more often than not. It’s small enough to carry, full-featured enough to use, and does one thing better than any other leather-bound edition I’ve reviewed: it opens flat like it really wants to stay that way. And Cambridge has made it available in an unprecedented range of cover options.

ESV Pitt Minion (Four Editions)
Above: The four editions, one on top of the other. Which look do you prefer?

So faced with the four options, which would I choose? No suspense here. The brown goatskin. But surprisingly, I can’t bring myself to say that if you choose differently, you’ll be missing out. I prefer black letter editions, but the red letter versions here are executed well, in nice dark ink that doesn’t diminish readability. I prefer goatskin, but because all four open flat equally well, I’m not sure there’s really a tactile advantage. With softer boards under the leather, that might change, but even so . . . you can’t really go wrong no matter which you choose.

ESV Pitt Minion (Brown & Black Goatskin)
Above: I gave all four to my wife and let her choose one for herself. She narrowed it down to the goatskin editions by feel, and after a hairy moment when it looked like she’d snatch my favorite, she went with the black instead.

The moral of the story is this. Because the Pitt Minions are so good inside, you find yourself not caring so much about the outside. Goatskin? Great. Morocco? Cool. Plastic? Neat. It’s a secondary consideration when all four open flat, feature an attractive, classic layout and decent paper. At the end of the day, it’s not the covers that make the Pitt Minion a great edition, it’s this:

ESV Pitt Minion (Page Spreads)

They measure just 5 1/8 inches across, just 7 3/8 tall, and maybe 7/8 of an inch thick. Compact, in other words. They open flat. If you can get by without reading glasses, you can probably cope with the smaller type. If you use the ESV, this is a format that will prove quite handy. Once again, the Pitt Minion demonstrates just why it’s become a classic.

85 Comments on “Cambridge ESV Pitt Minion (Four Editions)

  1. What an outstanding review! Thank you so much. I can’t wait for my brown goatskin edition to arrive.

  2. I’m waiting for the arrival of my brown goatskin, not very patiently, but I am waiting. This will probably be my primary Bible. I love the size and the ESV.

  3. Hadn’t really thought about a Cambridge Pitt Minion ESV, but now I’m not so sure. I just recieved my Allan’s Black ESV1, and darned if the burgandy Pitt Minion isn’t summoning me! I have the NKJV in goatskin and I use it a lot. So I guess I’ll add the ESV to my list :). That list also includes the Holman Legacy Ultrathin and the top end NLT in Mahogany Calfskin (thank you Ben Ting).

  4. P. S. Hey Mark! I kinda like the leaf marker. It’s “organic”.

  5. Jeff, the honor is mine.
    It is getting really “costly” reading this site πŸ™‚ In a good way, of course.
    Btw, I have posted some photos of my ESV1 black & tan too. All thanks to Mark for his inspiration. I would never have imagined of all things I like to photograph – now Bibles!

  6. I’m so glad I stumbled across this website, I felt for the longest time I was the only one with a “Bible addiction”, Never finding the perfect Bible; always finding something to be overly compulsive about. I prefer the RSV; finally found an Oxford RSV 1977 printing bound in black in berkshire leather with the expanded apocrypha (ahh ebay). I have recent printings of this same Bible and I find it amazing how the quality in leather, gilting (which now seems less golden)and paper has gone down. Thanks for all the excellent reviews, its good to drool a little bit now and then!

  7. Thanks for the review. I was sucked in today and ordered the brown goatskin Pitt Minion from myself. Looking forward to getting it.

  8. Many thanks, Mark, for your in-depth review. I have both the brown goatskin and two-tone editions and concur with your comments. A single colour faux leather would be better than the two-tone. I also like the burgundy French morocco and that is is leans towards red rather than brownish purple in the way some burgundy Bibles do. One dispappontment I have is over the size of the concordance – the same, with around 5000 entries, as in the Crossway deluxe compact. However, Cambridge promise a more extensive concordance with the wide margin editions. Also, I would like to persaude them to have two ribbons in the wide margin editions as they will be used even more greatly for reference purposes.
    Just a thought: suppose we could persuade Allan’s to produce a dark brown goatskin ESV. Now for that, I would pay seriously good money!

  9. Allans, is going to do a dark brown NIV very soon so maybe a dark brown ESV could be an option for the next release. They also do a separate Concordance but it is not as easy as one contained in the same volume.
    FEDEX tracking is putting my ESV1 as bound for home today!! What a great treat for the weekend.

  10. I asked the question and Mr. Grey indicated that if the NIV in brown goatskin sells well Allan’s might produce a brown goatskin ESV in 2009.

  11. Can goatskin be dyed any color? I assume it can. I ordered the Allan’s black and wouldn’t mind a burgundy in the Cambridge, but I am not sure if I’d want the French Morroco now that Mark has made us all leather snobs. πŸ˜‰ They just need to use the goatskin for everything!

  12. Oh, I just realized the NIV Pitt Minion above is in burgundy goatskin. I surely do wish they had made that choice for the ESV.

  13. Excellent review – thanks Mark, you sure you’re not “on the take” for these publishers!!? (they should be paying you)
    @ David – has the ESV Wide Margin’s listed WITH 2 Ribbon Markers! So your wish is already a reality. Why not bump that wish up to 3 Ribbon Markers like the Allan ESV – which is just superb & at a minimal cost I’d imagine. πŸ™‚

  14. To me the red under gold on the brown pitt looks different than that of the Black (a brighter red).

  15. Did anyone receive theirs from Amazon yet?
    How about an ESVSB from Crossway?

  16. Mark,
    Great review. I am trying to decide between a Crossway Personal Reference ESV and the Cambridge ESV Pitt Minion – after reading this review, I think I will be going with the Pitt Minion, particularly given the quality of the Imitation Leather. I, too, share you concerns about the “Frakenbible” seams and two-tone design. That said, I try to patronize quality imitation leather bindings whenever possible for personal, ethical reasons. Not only that, but I agree that this is probably the best of the two-tone imitations that I’ve seen.
    Finally, I agree with Matthew….I hope you at least get some free schwag out of all this.

  17. woot! my order from amazon just shipped and should be arriving in a month :\

  18. In looking at the text pages I just noticed something I have never seen in a Bible before- the different justifications of the center cross references. The references for the left column are left justified and the references for the right column are right justified. Can’t wait to get a copy to look at that closer. Interesting design!

  19. I just received my Pitt Minion in NASB. I had long considered purchasing one and now I don’t know why it took me so long to do so. I’ve decided I’m definitely going to get the Pitt in ESV (brown goatskin) and might purchase a KJV Pitt… I just wish they had that version in goatskin as well.
    Mark, I don’t know if you’re a blessing or a curse but thanks for your reviews and continued source of temptation. ;=)

  20. The Pitt Minion by Cambridge is a wonderfull edition. I love my Allans for indoor, at my house reading but have several Pitt Minion translations as go everywhere bibles. They still retain that great look and feel of a quality bible but if bought selectively online at a discount are inexpensive enough I won’t worry as much if they get beat up a little. I own the NKJV and NASB in black goatskin, an NIV in burgundy goatskin and have an ESV in brown on order.

  21. For those that have ordered ESV Pitt Minions: The Evangelical Bible website indicates that they have received the shipment and are shipping pre orders today to customers.

  22. Ordered mine from Barnes and Noble. Had an extra coupon that gave me the cheapest price I could find (less than $80). So guess what happens while being shipped via UPS? Read this note from the tracking notes at one of the Big Brown distribution centers: “MERCHANDISE IS MISSING. UPS WILL NOTIFY THE SENDER WITH ADDITIONAL DETAILS. / ALL MERCHANDISE MISSING, EMPTY CARTON WAS DISCARDED. UPS WILL NOTIFY THE SENDER WITH DETAILS OF THE DAMAGE”
    I guess if somebody is going to open a package and steal a Bible…they need it!! Okay now I gotta wait longer. When all the rest of you start getting them, take it easy while rubbing it in. πŸ™‚

  23. It looks like from the pictures that the red is lighter on the black goatskin than it is on the brown…
    And there’s some more good news: Preorders of the ESV Pitt Minion have shipped from!

  24. Good News for those that ordered from Amazon….I just reviewed my order and it is on: “We are preparing these items for shipment and this portion of your order cannot be canceled or changed.”
    Should be shipping very soon.

  25. great bible, but the goatskin is soooo stiff! i like the skin for my crossway calfskin a lot better.

  26. I use every available space in my bible to write notes etc. Can someone tell me how wide the margin is in the Cambridge Pitt Minnion ESV? Also whether each book starts on a new page therefore potentially leaving blank space at the end of the previous book? And finally, how many writable pages at the beginning, middle (between the testaments)and the end of the Bible?
    Thanks for a great review, by the way.

  27. Nic – My Pitt is not in front of me but since I also like white space I can give you a good idea:
    margins – about 1/4″
    head/foot – about 1/3″
    From what I have seen new books start their own page so you would have some space there (couple inches) and there is usually white space at the end of a book (white space depends on book length).
    I would say there are atleast two white pages that could be used writing at the end and begining of the bible.

  28. Nic, this Bible has very little unused space. There is one thicker blank page before the presentation page. The page identifying the “Old Testament” is otherwise blank front and back, and so is the “New Testament” page. There are 3 thicker blank pages, front and back, after the maps. Where there is room, a new book will follow the previous book on the same page.
    The margins on mine vary slightly. They measure about 3/8″ top, 1/2″ bottom, and between 1/4 and 3/8″ outside edge. The inside margins are probably unusable. Also, the paper is very thin so hand written notes would probably show through.
    This is a nice small Bible, but it is not meant to be a note taker. If you take copious notes you might want to check out the wide margin edition, due to be released by Cambridge in February. It will be comparable to the Cambridge Wide Margin Reference Bible (NASB), previously reviewed here by Mark.
    Hope this helps!

  29. Matt – Kathy, Thank you guys. Very helpful. The wide-margin would be ideal except that I need a compact working bible for on-your-feet situations. With fine pens I can get a fair amount of info in a surprisingly small place. The main thing is that it should be durable & last a good while. I normally get through bibles every 3 years or so and I want to try and improve this. Any views on ESV v NIV?

  30. my pitt minion is more flexible now. i wish its font is bold like my kjv pm. it’s easier on the eyes.

  31. Thanks for the review. Just wondering about font size – I have a compact thinline from Crossway that is too small. I like the font size on my Classic Reference from Crossway but it is too big to carry frequently. I was thinking about the Thinline from Crossway (9.5 font) and the Personal Reference from Crossway (7.4 font) and then saw this Pitt Minion bible. How readable is it, especially compared to the above editions? I’m only 30 but I’ve got extremely nearsighted eyes, and I’m only getting older!

  32. Do the Cambridge goatskin Bibles have a full leather cover or are they wrapped on a cardstock like most other genuine leather Bibles? Thanks for your time. I appreciate it.

  33. @ Tim,
    They are not leather lined, but are wrapped on some type of card stock. I have the brown one. It is very nice, but stiff as I believe Mark stated in his review. Mine has loosened up some with use.

  34. @ Andy,
    The font on the Pitt is smaller of course than that of the Thinline from Crossway. I have both and the Thinline is more readable. My eyes are not the greatest (I’m 45, nearsighted and slowly going farsighted) but I find the print of the Pitt (I have two: the NASB and ESV) to be very clear and legible. I don’t sit and read it for hours or study with it, but for an easily transportable Bible that you pull out and read at the coffee shop or for visiting the sick, etc., I don’t think it can be beat. If you go to Baker Publishing website, you can download a pdf of the text, print it out, and see how it works for you.

  35. Kyle,
    Thanks for your advice. I printed out the pdf and was surprised at how readable the Pitt Minion is. I also printed a page from the Personal Size Reference at Crossway’s website just to compare, and even though the font is bigger I find the Pitt to actually be a bit easier to read due to it being bolder. Both are much better than the original Compact Thinline I have. I still haven’t decided on whether or not to spend the money on a Pitt Minion, though I really want one. In the meantime I used a gift card locally to pick up the Personal Size Reference in the Forest/Tan Trutone and really like it. (Add another one to the list of those hoping for a Pers Ref bound in calfskin). My wife likes it too, which may be the excuse I need to get a Pitt in the near future! Thanks again.

  36. Andy,
    I went through the same process you did on the Pitt. I bought the brown goatskin. In my opinion, it is readable but the print is not as dark as what you get from printing the downloaded pdf version. In fact, I did a personal test of reading an epistle in the Pitt Minion and then went and read the Personal ESV. I have nearly 50 year old eyes and, surprisingly, the Personal ESV was more comfortable to read. I did not have the same level of eye strain. As a result, I went and bought the green/tan PESV (to go with my black genuine leather PESV) to use while on trips. I am also considering having one of them rebound in goat or calf skin. I use the PM at church and for short readings because it will match the Wide Margin edition coming out shortly WHICH WILL BE MY PERFECT BIBLE THAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS!! (yeah…right) πŸ™‚

  37. Just received my brown goatskin Pitt Minion today. It’s a nice little Bible, comfortable in the hand and not too bad on the eye strain. The only complaint I can lodge with this compact Bible is the lack of more ribbons. I am in a yearly reading program where I read out of both testaments each day and it would be perfect with 1 or 2 more ribbons. The grain is very nice, it’s quite supple, more so than I expected. My expectations with regard to that were tempered by Mark’s review so I was pleasantly surprised when I took it out of the case and began inspecting it. I absolutely love the brown, so much so that I sent my black one back to Amazon and waited the extra 2 weeks for the brown to get here while my return/replacement went thru. I can’t wait to break this thing in and see how time treats it. My goal is to hand it down to my son one day, he’s 3 years and I bought this with the intention of passing it down as a family heirloom, Lord willing. If you are considering this you can’t go wrong, R.L. Allan’s may be able to one up the Pitt Minion but you’ll definitely pay more $$ and I don’t know if they have an offering that competes with the size dimensions of the Pitt. Someone please ring in on this if they know, because if they do I would like to purchase one in the future. Thanks Mark for your recommendation.

  38. I ordered the ESV Pitt Minion in the burgundy French morocco bounding from B&N.
    I picked up a $30. ESV by Crossway yesterday just to have an ESV to read while I wait for my Allan and my Oxford ESV to come in the post. I had only read about the ESV on the net.

  39. In our little “B&N type” bookstore (books and coffee)here in the Mat Su Valley in Alaska, they had an R L Allan/Oxford KJV Bible in goatskin. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t remember which one. It was not the Pitt Minion. But,I wasn’t impressed with the goatskin as for as softness. The Bible was well bound and the type was nice, but the cover wasn’t soft as for as buttery and flexible, say like a man’s leather wallet. I would have thought the French Morroco would be a softer and more pliable leather than the goatskin. I would think the goatskin would be, maybe, more durable than the French Morroco.

  40. There no comparison in the binding of the Cambridge Pitt Minion ESV, and the Allan’s ESV1BR Brown. I like the handy size of the Pitt Minion, but the binding is stiff…like most Bibles. I only wish my Pitt Minion was bound like my Allan’s ESV1 BR. Aftering receiving my Allan’s ESV1 BR, I wish I had never spent the money for the Pitt Minion. The Allan’s ESV1 is so “sweet”. It has to be the nicest bound Bible I have ever held.

  41. what’s the difference between the allan vs the cambridge pitt minion. they both look like the same exact bible? is one better than the other? price seems the same too.

  42. Allan doesn’t make a Pitt Minion. Cambridge makes it but Allan sells it. When browsing the Allan site, look for the * next to the bible model# / product code. If it has an *, that means it’s an Allan product. Otherwise, if it doesn’t have the asterick, it’s made by someone else and they simply stock and sell it.

  43. Allan makes a KJV Pitt Minion that is a text-only version. For around $40 in goatskin its an excellent portable bible if you enjoy the KJV language. It does not lie flat as well as the Cambridge Reference Pitt Minions but it is slightly smaller in every dimension while having larger type. Very readable and great for taking to worship or whatnot. It smells great (if that’s something that appeals to you like it does me) and for the price it is an excellently made bible.

  44. Mark,
    I have been a reader of the Bible design blog for quite some time. I have learned much and enjoyed your reviews of various editions and, based upon many of the comments her, bought my first “premium” Bible this week.
    Today I received my brown goatskin ESV Pitt Minion…WOW! This is by far the best quality Bible I have ever owned. With a minimum of open and flex it just falls right open, front to back. The print, though small, is very readable. I love having references in the text. And it’s all in such an wonderfully
    “carryable” size. I love this Bible! Thanks Mark and all the others here who inspired me to go for it with the Pitt Minion.
    T. Hicks

  45. I put my hands on my first brown ESV Pitt Minions today and I was in awe of it. I went looking for a quality bible for my 14 year old son. I was worried at what my heart felt…envy for my 14 year old. Although I would prefer the red letter edition (it was not in stock at the store) the brown black letter goatskin was impressive. The size of the Pitt Minions reminded me so much of my wife’s NKJV Thomas Nelson 1983 reference edition. I had not ever seen one that size ever until today. You are right! It feels good in the hand. Just the right amount of heft without the bulk. I own a Crossway reference ESV leather but it’s bigger than I like though I cherish the translation. I also own the smaller TruTone ESV but it’s really hard on the eyes but easier on travel. The Pitt Minions is perfection. I really enjoyed your reviews on these Cambridge editions. I very much appreciate your passion. My wife has criticized my propensity to purchase and collect bibles over the years. Secretly, I believe she enjoys reading all these translations and now she’s hooked on the ESV, i.e., my bible. Think I’ll purchase the Pitt Minions for her instead of my 14 year old son, who may not be as appreciative of the Pitt Minions’ quality. For 16 years I’ve been looking for the perfect bible and now I have found it. Cambridge has designed a remarkable and beautiful antique that can withstand some handling. I’m really glad I stumbled onto this website. Your comments were extremely enlightening. Thank you JMB for going through all this trouble although I suspect it was probably fun.

  46. Mark, thank you for the great review! However, I wonder if something’s changed in Cambridge’s choice of “burgundy”. I just received my burgundy ESV & it’s pretty much the same shade as all our other burgundy books. The only time it comes close to being red is when it’s next to a black Bible or isn’t around anything else that’s red. Now I’m trying to resist the temptation to get the black goatskin – I’ve a weakness for art-gilt edges. πŸ™‚

  47. I’m wondering if anyone can give me some insight. I received my EVS Pitt Minion last week and I’m not sure if others are all like mine. The pages just don’t seem very white to me and the effect is that the type isn’t easy to read like it seems to be described by others. The red coloring of the edges seems to have bled/intruded/crept onto many of the page…its not a lot but I notice it and it gives the pages a tattered look. Is this normal?

  48. Thanks for this review! Has anyone had the imitation leather edition for a while and used it a good bit? How is it holding up. I am thinking that I’ll purchase an ESV Pitt Minion and use it as my primary Bible. I was looking at a local book store today, and I found myself most attracted to the imitation leather, and a bit disapointed with the pliability of the goatskin editions, just like this review says–they’re surprisingly stiff. So, I’m thinking of saving $30 and going for the imitation leather, but I’m just afraid that it will fall apart on me, or start to get worn and scuffed around the edges, the way “duo-tone” and the like tend to.
    Can anyone speak to this?

  49. Yes, I’ve been using the tu-tone leather since it was published. It is holding up fine though I treat it fairly gently. The cover has some kind of coating to protect it, thoguh I think it could scracth more easily than the goatskin. The imitation cover is now even bendier than ever. When held underneath by just the spine the covers almost meet. However, do watch out for:
    a) the colours: a rich tan and a very vivid burgundy
    b) the feel: plasticky
    c) the page edging is gilt not art gilt (ie.e. there is no red under the gilt) and this makes a difference.
    I use my tu-tone as a carry-around Bible, but I have a dark brown goatskin as well. The goatskin is becoming more pliable over time and it certainly lays flat very easily.

  50. Just ordered the brown goatskin today. i have the crossway cordovan and love it! wanted something more portable.
    you just summed it all up masterfully!
    blessings and thanks!

  51. In the last week I have gone a little crazy buying Bibles. I have been spending my Christmas money but it does seem excessive. I have bought a leather NIV Life Application Study Bible to replace the hardback version that is falling apart. a Cambridge NIV Single Column, a Brown Allan ESV PSR and a Brown ESV Pitt Minion. Plus, I have the Allan ESV Readers Edition and Leather ESV Study Bible on order. Yes, I have gone crazy.
    The Pitt Minion is the perfect size and Mark’s description of it is spot on. My copy did come with two brown ribbon markers. The only drawback to this Bible for me is the double column format but the real deal breaker is the small font. It is readable in good light but it really strains my bifocals. Nevertheless, I plan on keeping this Bible because of it perfect portability. It will be easy to carry in my “man-bag” all the time because it is light-weight and doesn’t take up much room. Overall, it is a very nice Bible, just get out the magnifying glass.

  52. You guys are right about the new ESV Pitt Minions having two ribbon markers. I didn’t read the comments here before buying one this week in brown goatskin and was jubilant over the two ribbons when I saw it. I’m kind of glad to have discovered it on my own.
    Before a few weeks ago, finding two ribbons in my bible instead of one would not have been cause for a quickened pulse and a “woohoo” of excitement….I owe the bibledesignblog for that little bit of joy. It really is about the simple things in life, eh?

  53. Just received my ESV Pitt in the french morocco and am a bit disappointed that it isn’t red like the pics on site here. As Bonnie mentioned, it’s burgundy, matching other burgundy bibles I have. I only went with morocco because of the red color. But it is a nice bible and I will probably keep it.

  54. I just received my brown ESV Pitt Minion and have to say it is the nicest object I own (sad? Maybe.). I have not been able to read it yet (my fiancee wanted to write me a note in the front :)), but I’m sure i’ll enjoy the reading. It truly is all thanks to you; thank you for operating this site and being so thorough and detailed in your reviews.

  55. I had the NKJV Pitt, and now have the ESV. I must agree; the ESV covers seem just a bit stiffer and less pliable than the goatskin used on the NKJV. When I received the NKJV, it opened flat, straight from the box. The ESV tries to close. Does it ‘break in’, or is this going to be the case permanently?

  56. My ESV in brown was likewise stiffer than expected at first but it never had a problem opening flat. Over a period has broken in wonderfully, goes with me everywhere!

  57. im considering getting one of the brown leather or the burgundy. I keep having problems with my other bibles bindings simply falling apart

  58. just received my brown pitt. the thing is simply amazing. thanks for all the great reviews. this pitt I hope will last for a long time :]

  59. Finally picked up a brown goatskin PM in ESV. It is THE most gorgeous Bible I own! Not sure how truly functional it will prove to be as that small print is tough on the ol’ trifocals. πŸ™ But I have no regrets about getting one!

  60. I just bought two Pitt Minions (ESV & NASB) in burgundy French Morocco. The NASB is fairly flawless except for some expected variation in the gilt edges when viewed at the right angle.
    However, the ESV has a few issues. The border around the edge of the cover is unevenly pressed into the leather. The gilt Cambridge imprint on the spine is not exactly centered (off by maybe 1/8″). Finally, there are deep creases in the leather where some gilt letters are applied on the spine. Would this make the gilt prone to flaking?
    Are these irregularities normal? Am I just being too critical of the construction? I did not have a chance to inspect the Bibles before the purchase. I contacted Baker Publishing and they will are willing to inspect the Bible to see if it is a manufacturing issue.
    Any feedback or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  61. are they ever going to make an esv pitt minion with wide margins? a small size but with somewhat wide margins?

  62. I just bought an ESV Pitt Minion, the one with the ‘Frankenstein seam’. Being a sort of a Mark Driscoll kinda guy, I just LOVE it!
    I used to have a black french morocco KJV but wasn’t too impressed, I prefer the TBS Ruby KJV indexed with zipper.
    Smyth sewn, opens flat, casual chique… I just love my Frankenstein Pitt Minion. Finally a quality ESV I can carry with me without getting annoyed at the shoddy quality of Crossway bibles.
    I am going to use this bible lots and lots in my youth street ministry over here in Holland… lots of young ppl here from abroad who speak english and even dutch ones who prefer english for english is cool over here.
    Thanks Mr Bertrand for this excellent blog for all those who love quality bibles.

  63. i recently got the esv french morocco and brown goatskin. I noticed that the paper for the french morocco is more white and less grey than the goatskin version. Is that normal? Which is better paper quality?

  64. I’m a student at Southern Seminary. In our LifeWay all of the Pitt Minions have 2 ribbons. Everywhere else I’ve looked online shows only 1 ribbon. Anyone know why this is? Not complaining. Would love to have 2 ribbons.

  65. Freddy,
    The original printing when they came out had 1. subsequent printings have put 2 on the goatskin editions. I think if you buy a new goatskin edition from a distributor now it will have 2, unless they are selling old stock.
    someone else can correct me if i am in error here.
    my new brown esv has 2, as did my black nlt.

  66. Thanks, Ryan. I would like to get one in the near future. Don’t want to pay extra $ at LifeWay in order to get 2 ribbons. Thanks, again.

  67. if you buy from you could email them first and confirm.

  68. Freddy, I ordered my brown Pitt Minion from Amazon about a year ago, and it came with 2 ribbons.
    I may be wrong, but I was told by a friend that the brown had 2 ribbons and the black had only one. I am not sure if this is true or not.

  69. I have a dilemna I hope someone can help me with. I am trying to decide between the ESV Pitt Minion in black goatskin and the Crossway Premium Thinline ESV in cordovan calfskin.
    Can somebody who has both of these comment on how they compare in readability. I know the Pitt Minion has cross-references but I rarely use cross-references so that is not a big selling point for me.
    Thanks for any input.

  70. Janet, if readability is the key factor, my guess is that that Thinline would work better based on size alone. The page is larger and (I think) very nice for reading. The Pitt Minion would be better if you were looking for something “compact yet readable.” If the larger size doesn’t matter, go with the Thinline.

  71. Regarding the 2-ribbon question… I just received my Pitt Minion ESV in black goatskin and it does, in fact, have two red ribbons.

  72. How much bigger is the FONT SIZE from the Pitt Minion Edition ESV and the ESV Wide Margin …both black goatskin.

  73. It should be noted that while the Pitt Minion is named after the Pitt Building at Cambridge University which housed the original press, it is really printed and bound in the Netherlands. Minion is a traditional term used to describe a type size of approximately 7 points, and the current version uses a “stylish modern font” which may bear little resemblance to the original form. I say this for the benefit of bible collectors who may think they’re getting a book manufactured by Cambridge University in the UK. It may be more accurately described as a Pitt Minion “style” book, with an extraordinary pedigree. Neither issue affects the high quality exhibited by this wonderful publication.

  74. Is the ESV Pit Minion in English English or Americian English?
    I bought an ESV personal reference edition last year in the single column last year in the Tru tone. It looked good and is readable but after finding this Blog I now know why I liked the look of it when I bought it.Thanks for an interesting site and like some other comments I an getting hooked and am interested in getting another Bible in leather, my first one. However I would like the English English version as I am from Australia. Thanks again

  75. The brown goatskin is lovely. It looks like a fantastic edition of the ESV.

  76. Have you heard any word on whether or not Cambridge will be reprinting the ESV version with the “permanent text edition” (final?) revision? I’d love to get a Pitt Minion myself, but would prefer to have the latest revisions.

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