Another Glimpse of the Reader’s Edition ESV

Don't think of this as merciless taunting. I'm just checking in with another preliminary note about the new R. L. Allan Reader's Edition ESV. Right now, my tentative plan is to post something more definitive early next week. I have a lot more photos to take. In the meantime, here's a snap illustrating the color range: black on bottom, brown in the middle, and tan on top, with the corresponding Allan's Pocket Journals.



If you pre-ordered one of these, I think it's safe to say you will not be disappointed. A Reader's Edition is a bit like an Allan's ESV1 translated into glory. The same only better. Better proportions, larger type size, better paper, you name it. They are big, but in the way that a wallet stuffed with hundreds is big — i.e., not so large you aren't thrilled to be carrying it. 



And the semi-yapp edges are executed nicely, as you can see above, with an elegant curl over the page edges. Hopefully that will tide you over until next week!

Update: If you haven't joined the Bible Design Blog Fan Page on Facebook, now would be a good time to do so. I'm not saying there are exclusive photos posted only on the Fan Page … but there are. Click on the link in the right hand column to join.

17 Comments on “Another Glimpse of the Reader’s Edition ESV

  1. Mark – please don’t make me regret passing these up! My wallet and principles prefer PSR onlyism 😉

  2. A question: Has Allan’s has the good sense to make this an anglised-spelling edition or is it American? Presumably, this is their own text block too.

  3. Mark I’m wondering how you compare the paper to other editions, margin for writting, over all size for a every day bible and any other differences between this and the esv1. Thanks for your review

  4. @David Dewey–I’d think this is Allen’s own text block since there’s nothing quite like it in the Crossway lineup.

  5. The ESV readers has landed! Cover immaculate, binding wonderful as you would expect… Text block is anglicized Harper Collins produced for RL Allan. Text is perfectly legible (but then I think that ghosting is a non-issue, the paper is thin in bibles… get used to it!) The bible fills the hand beautifully without being cumbersome in the slightest. Great bible!

  6. David & Bill,
    It seems the Reader’s Edition’s text block and spelling is going to be essentially the same as the ESV1 which is identical to the Crossway Classic Reference. Only the font appears to have changed — 9.5 to 10.3. If you look at some of the pictures of the text at this seems to be the case. You might want to also review the specifics here:
    For me this will be just fine, since my main interest is the larger font, wider margins and almost full yapp binding.

  7. James T,
    That was a very informative chart. Confirms what Gary Brown said about Harper Collins producing these text blocks. I suspect Crossways provided them the computer files of the text layout and like you mentioned, modern offset printing presses makes scaling up that file by 8.5% easy.
    My last Harper Collins product was a Standard Text NRSV which had simply intolerable ghosting. “India paper” used to mean something but I’m afraid all it means today is “thin” which I generally interpret as “Beware!”. But the feedback about both these Allens products has all been good so they apparently are using good paper, which I think means paper with expensive titanium dioxide as a binding/opacity agent instead of cheap calcium carbonate.
    I think this forum would do well to pressure Bible publishers to tell us exactly what paper product is used in their volumes. I’m sort of a cheapskate compared to most of you when it comes to bindings but I’ll sure pay extra for the best paper.
    Either that or we need a quantitative measure of how white is the paper, how black is the type, and how grey is the ghosting.

  8. Bill,
    Interesting you should mention that. I bought an NRSV reference edition (from Collins I think) that looked to be the same text block as the Allan’s NRSV Reference Bible. The layout was indeed the same, but the paper was terrible. I gave up and bought the Allan’s NRSV, and the paper quality is excellent.

  9. I hear you, David. So many modern Bibles out there can only be described as “for occasional reading” because of the paper.
    If you look into bulk prices of paper, there’s a huge variation in price. I’m only guessing but I can believe that half the raw material price of a Bible is in its paper. With more and more Bibles being produced in cheap labor markets, I’m sure there’s considerable pressure from the bean counters at Bible publishers to use cheaper paper.
    An awful large share of the Bible market are folks who just buy a Bible to carry to church and follow along with the lessons/sermon, ie “for occasional reading”. These folks aren’t discriminating buyers and the bean counters know it. Really, after all, in the good ol’ free market why should they pay more for great paper?
    Those of us who actually read the Book have to be the ones to put pressure on publishers to make a run of Bibles, call it “The Bibliophile Version” or whatever the Marketing Folks come up with, that use a higher grade of paper. It’s probably not going to add more than $20 to the cost of the volume, which may be suicide in the “young girl pony-lovers bible” market but is entirely justifiable in a serious text edition.
    In the $200 Allen market, the paper cost becomes a small fraction of the price, even for premium paper. So one expects, and generally gets, fine paper at that price.
    But I think there are plenty of folks like me that have trouble coming up with $200, and can really live without the supple animal hide bindings, but still want readable paper.

  10. The Allan RE arrived today. It is, to me, stunning. It is also, to me, for what it is, perfectly executed. Thanks to Mark and all the work he does at this site I have some great editions of The Word. Each with the features and strengths that it was designed for. My Cambridge Pitt Minion goes to church and just about everywhere with me. The Crossway ESV SB is outstanding for home study with all the helps. The Allan ESV1BR and RE are used constantly at home. They are a joy to hold and read.
    Until Mark and his site came along I never really thought much about why one book would be more enjoyable to read than another and as he has ably pointed out it is all about well designed books and bindings.
    Thanks again, Mark for helping to get this edition (The Allan RE) produced. Thanks also to for their contributions to making the Allan RE a reality.

  11. Thanks for the review, Mark. Allen must be gratified at the reception for this new product. Question: Did any of you who have already received your Allen RE pre-order from I placed an order on 11/30, and the last time “order status” was updated was when they processed payment against my credit card. This in spite of the fact that I’ve already received the other item from the same order. There is plenty of anxiety at this point as to whether this Bible is going to arrive in time to go under the Christmas tree – going to be a big disappointment to one family member if it’s not, as it makes up the entirety of their Christmas gift. I’m starting to wonder if ordering from instead of direct from Allen (in an effort to support my countrymen) was a tactical error.

  12. Well . . . here’s a story . . . My 30th Birthday is in January. My Mother-in-law started a tradition when her son turned 30 that all her kids and kid-in-laws would get new Bibles for their 30th. I’m thankful I ran across this website before my 30th birthday because my mother-in-law has ordered my ESV1, AND my own mother has ordered or will be ordering the Allan’s ESV PSR. So, knowing I have both of them coming, I’ve been looking over this review and the photos all day long.
    I couldn’t resist and ordered the Readers edition on my own… Thanks Mark! If I had never seen this review I wouldn’t have known I was missing anything. sheesh.

  13. oops . . . I meant to post my comment on the full review, but you get the idea.

  14. Worth returning to this review – the problem with this edition is not the binding, but the text layout. The center column destroyed the whole concept of the thing being an edition for “readers.” Now that the ESV Legacy is coming out, the “Reader’s Edition” – bulky, without space for notes, ridiculous two-column, center reference – will give way to the REAL reader’s edition, the Legacy. The Reader’s Edition was an embarrassment for everyone who gave this glorified “Classic ESV” a thumbs up, myself included. (I actually returned mine.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *