Thin is in, which is a good thing. And a bad thing. First, let's get the negatives out of the way. Because we like thinline Bibles so much, I think publishers may be a bit reluctant to come out with an edition that's too thick, for fear that we'll reject it. As a result, certain design virtues -- like prioritizing the page spread over the book -- can be squeezed out. Since the ideal single column setting I'm always stumping for requires larger print, it'll be thicker than its two-columned cousin. So the last thing I want to do is set an artificial width limit.
Above: The Tyndale Select NLT in Mahogany Calfskin. When it comes to slouching, it's no slouch.
Not to mention, with so many people growing concerned about inordinately translucent paper and its impact on reading, I want to be circumspect is cheering for slimlines, since one way to cut the fat is with gossamer-fine pages.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I have to admit ... I like slimlines. A lot. And not for the reasons you might think. Personally, I appreciate the way a thick book fills the hand. My ideal size for a single column Bible would be something akin to Oxford's combined NRSV and Book of Common Prayer, a small, fat volume I can't help but love. But I can't think of a form factor that shows off the beauty of a limp cover better than a large, skinny thinline.
The Allan's Long Primer is a great example, and so is their new NIVC in chocolate brown goatskin. The natural leather comes alive in the form factor. You see the same thing with the Nelson Signature Slimline, the Holman Legacy KJV, and the Classic Thinline ESV. Thinlines and limp bindings seem to go hand in hand.
And you can add another one to the list: the Tyndale Select NLT, available in both mahogany calfskin and ebony calfskin. It's a generously proportioned, slender, two-column text-only setting of the New Living Translation, printed on fine paper and bound in limp, beautiful calfskin.
Above: The mahogany calfskin is midway between tan and dark brown, attractive and versatile.
I snagged a review copy of the mahogany calfskin edition, and the first thing I want to share is an obvious flaw. Not because I think it spoils the Tyndale Select, but just to get it out of the way. Also, because I've been asked before whether publishers cherry pick their best to send me, I think this will demonstrate how far from true that is.
The title page of my copy was somehow pushed back during the printing process, folded accordion-style on itself, so that when the text block was trimmed, the bottom corner went uncut. When I fold it flat, there's an overhang around the corner, as you can see:
Compared to many of the anomalies I hear about, this is fairly major. But the solution is as simple as keeping the page folded, or snipping it with a pair of scissors. Or you could send it back for a replacement, which the publisher would no doubt be happy to supply, along with profuse apologies. In my case, though, it didn't seem like that big a deal. As a matter of fact, I kind of like it, which is why I never performed the necessary surgery.
Trust me, though, unless there's a hiccup like this, you're never going to notice the title page, because you'll be too busy looking at the cover:
When the Tyndale Select NLT was released in late 2007, it was the only game in town. If you wanted an NLT with a sewn binding and quality calfskin, this was the only option. This year, Cambridge is apparently planning to release an NLT of its own, adding to the mix. While the thought of a Pitt Minion NLT will no doubt thrill the translation's fans, I think the Tyndale Select is going to hold its own. For sheer reading pleasure, it's a winner, and in spite of the proliferation of soft calfskin covers out there, this one still manages to look unique. There are some flaws, as I've pointed out, but if the New Living Translation is your favorite, then the Tyndale Select is a great way to enjoy it.