Cambridge NIV Pocket Cross Reference (Limited Availability)

Not long ago, I passed along a suggestion to Paul at The one Cambridge edition I would love to see available in the US, which unaccountably isn't, is the Pocket Cross Reference NIV, which I wrote about back in 2007. I have two of them, one in red Cabra Bonded Leather and another in Russet Calfskin. The former is no longer available, but I'm happy to announce that the latter can now be ordered by clicking here: Pocket Cross Reference NIV at

They'll be available mid-February and there's only a limited stock.

A couple of my earlier photos comparing the Russet Calfskin edition to a Pitt Minion are up over there, but in honor of the occasion I figured I'd snap a few more for your enjoyment.


The Russet Calfskin cover is basically a tan-colored, grained calf. Cambridge doesn't seem to be doing a lot of calfskin bindings these days, but if you remember back a few years, you'll know what I'm talking about. Similar in feel to vintage Cameo covers — flexible but not limp, and they improve with a little use. I love the color, and think the gold ribbon complements it perfectly. Page edges are gold gilt.


Remember that "Oh, Wow" feeling you got from the now-discontinued Bold Type Reference NIV that Allan's discounted awhile back? The layout was so clean and readable. People still e-mail me wanting to know where to find those things … sadly, the answer is, "You can't." Well, you'll get the same feeling opening the Pocket Cross Reference because it's the same layout. Only smaller. As you can see below, the page numbers match and everything. So if you're one of the lucky ones who has a Bold Type Reference NIV, here's a chance to pick up a little companion.


If I were the type of guy to pick favorites — and of course I'm not, but if I were — I'd say this is the best two-column setting of the NIV. It's just so easy on the eyes. 


The photo above gives you an idea what to expect inside the cover. It's stamped Calfskin Leather, with a brown marbled leather-like lining sheet. And as the picture below suggests, the cover is plenty flexible. Just the one ribbon, but it's a lovely color.


Now this is where things get very interesting. The cover size of this edition is about 6.5 x 4.5 edge to edge, and just over an inch thick. "Pocket" might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. Despite the size, the 6/7 pt. Olympian type is very readable, which makes this an ideal compact NIV. The question is, how does it compare to other editions we're familiar with? Let's take a look.


Above, I've placed a stack of comparable items. On bottom is a TruTone Personal Size Reference ESV, which is taller and wider than the Pocket Cross Reference (just like the Pitt Minion). Next up is the Pocket Cross Reference, and on top of that is the Deluxe Compact ESV that Leonard's rebound for me. As you can see, the Deluxe Compact and the Pocket Cross Reference are very similar in size — the same height, but the Deluxe Compact is just a little less wide. On top of the stack is the Allan's Pocket Journal.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if small size and usability are key for you, the Pocket Cross Reference is impossible to beat. Great layout. Great footprint. Nicely made. When I snapped the photo above, I realized what a nice match the Russet Calfskin would be with the tan goatskin Pocket Journal. So here they are in a stack:


And here they are side-by-side:


I love this combination, which I'd never thought of before snapping these shots. If you treat yourself to a Pocket Cross Reference, pairing it with an Allan's Pocket Journal would make some sense.


The operative words on the page seem to be "limited stock." I don't know if that means the first order is small, or if there will only ever be one small order. The point is, if you find this little Bible appealing, you might want to act quickly. They're listed for $75.

30 Comments on “Cambridge NIV Pocket Cross Reference (Limited Availability)

  1. I have the Allans NIV Bold Type, and it is my favorite. I am ordering this smaller version right now! Thanks Mark.

  2. I know it’s a matter of opinion, but if that were KJV, NKJV, ESV, or NASB I’d be on that like mud on a pig.

  3. Too bad this won’t include the NIV update (might that explain the limited run?). If it did, I’d probably pounce on it. As it is, I have a hard time buying anything NIV or TNIV until 2011.

  4. It’s not a limited run as much as there are limited numbers left. This is an older edition (as evidence by the fact that it comes in a slipcase with a calfskin binding).

  5. Mark,
    The only thing that would make your review pictures better would be a ruler to give us some sense of scale! Luckily the vendor’s site gives some dimensions, which comparing with the dimensions you gave in your review of the Allen pocket journal, must be the bound volume dimensions, as opposed to text block “trim” size or packaged (box) size, something that isn’t always clear.
    It also appears from the vendor’s page number count, and making some assumptions about spine thickness, that the paper is in excess of .0015″ per sheet, which should be fairly opaque, all other things being equal. Both your open-page pictures seem to indicate this as well, although I’d love to hear some explicit, qualitative personal judgments from you in this regard, particularly in light of recent comments that ghosting in modern Bibles is something bothering more and more of us.

  6. Hey, Bill — no need to extrapolate from the Pocket Journal dimensions. It’s in the review above: “The cover size of this edition is about 6.5 x 4.5 edge to edge, and just over an inch thick.” There’s ghosting comparable to other Cambridge editions past and present.

  7. Thanks, Mark, particularly for the paper/printing comments.
    About the missed dimensions, see, your reviews are so complete I can’t even digest them all!

  8. I picked up one of these last year, and it’s indeed a nice little volume, roughly the size of the average paperback. The font is perhaps a bit too small for aging eyes, but the most peculiar thing about it is the smell. I always think “BandAid” when I open it up.
    The cover really is lovely. I’d always thought of russet as a bit darker and ruddier than this, so I was a bit surprised by the color. But it’s nice nonetheless.

  9. This is a great little edition – I bought a red calfskin version (jealous Mark?)a few years ago and they wear quite well. The type is quite clear for a pocket Bible – the only thing lacking is a concordance, but maybe I’m getting hard to please!

  10. You can already find a copy of this russet calfskin edition on Amazon through a third party vendor for just under $75. I hesitate to announce this, b/c I’m planning to save up and buy this copy from Amazon. But, there’s just something really wrong about being greedy about Bibles!
    According to Evangelical Bible, there are 11 maps and an index (a map index/gazeteer, I’m assuming)! Thank you Cambridge! Why doesn’t anyone else include these helps?!? In fact, before I got my (er, um, my *wife’s*) Pitt Minion, I thought that only study Bibles included a map index. Cambridge has spoiled me!

  11. I purchased this size a couple of years ago and had sent it back twice because the covers fell off. I finally had Ed Stansell put on a leather lined goatskin and also had him sew and tape the binding. Its like a limp tank. Wonderful.

  12. Just got the email this morning that my Cambridge Poicket NIV is on the way!

  13. Mine arrived in MA today. It’s just as nice as Mark’s preview suggested. I’m in the +50 range but I’m finding the font quite easy to read, in spite of its small size. It helps that this is a black-letter bible. What a pleasure, and it makes a nice companion to the ESV personal reference-size bible.
    I’m always interested in comments about the various NIV revisions. I just stumbled across an unused 1978 first edition/first printing leather NIV that I purchased as a pre-need replacement for a similar one I bought new in 1978. I love the Zondervan Palatino typeface used in its NIVs – but this Cambridge version is very readable.
    Mark, thank you for the heads-up on this one!

  14. I received mine yesterday. Very nice Bible, but I must say that Goatskin has spoiled me. I anticipate that it will loosen up with use.

  15. Thanks Mark. My copy is exactly as you described and is already improving with use! I really like the bold print and portability. It’s been a little over year since I stumbled upon your blog. It’s been an education. I had always been fascinated with bibles that were great to handle and opened flat. I was in pursuit of the “perfect” binding! A fun pursuit I might add. Then I read your blog and ordered a Pitt minion niv in black goatskin and right out of the box it was perfect. Since then, I’ve puchased an Allan’s NIV in chocolate brown (a birthday gift) and a Cambridge single column in black goatskin. All as you described. I’ve also given some gifts based on your suggestions. Now, I’m waiting on an Allans journal I’ve just ordered. It’s great to read the comments of others who appreciate similar things. By the way, my wife just ordered a replica of the Lincoln bible used at the Obama inauguration for my birthday. All politics aside, it’s worth taking a look:) It’s an Oxford bible first printed in 1853 in red velvet. It’s was originally $100 but is now being offered on Amazon for $35.

  16. My wife has fallen in love with my Cambridge Pocket NIV and I would love to get her one, but alas they seem to be gone. Does anybody know where I can still get one?

  17. Dave, you can pick one up on for about £40. I think they are out of stock, but some of their marketplace traders still have them & offer international shipping to the US

  18. I just received this little bible today from Evangelical store. In my opinion it’s every bit of wonderful as you described it and your pictures are true to reality. The small text is definately easy on the eyes which is so amazing for a bible of this size. The cover is firm but very flexible at the same time. Plus, it’s bigger than it sounds on paper and if there is a “pocket” that it will fit into I’ll be amazed. It’s just a wee bit smaller than the 1970’s Cambridge calfskin bibles if you remember those, my favorite which they stopped making years ago. I hope they bring more of these to the US so more people can have one. I’m so happy with mine.

  19. Just to let you know that the above bible is still available in England from Church House Bookshop ( I bought mine about a month ago (russet calfskin leather) at £45.99. I paid $89.00, incl. shipping. Dollar price obviously depends on the currency exchange rate. They are also available in Black Morocco leather, White Morocco leather and grey imitation leather. The russet color is like light brown. Leather is very flexible. Bible lies flat wherever opened. It has anglicised text Great quality.

  20. I am very interested in buy a 2011 NIV quality Bible. Can you tell me what and when this will be available. Thanks Jeff

  21. Jeff,
    If you’re looking for Allan sort of quality, you might be waiting a while. There’s a couple bonded leather ones available now, e.g.
    but most are coming in late March. Zondervan will be publishing all the first ones.
    There are dozens of low-cost editions planned, although maybe only 3-4 different textblocks. Looks like they’re only planning one true leather-bound one for now:
    Who knows when or if other publishers will produce a true quality edition? I’m not seeing too many major endorsements yet. Sure would be curious to know what the first-run print production totals are. (Not that I’d recommend buying long or short on NewsCorp stock as a result!)
    Anyone know what the page layouts or binding details will be? I’m not seeing any excerpts. The Zondervan (and Biblica) sites appear pretty much silent about the bound editions.

  22. This was withdrawn from print in July 2010 in the UK. However, I’ve just managed to get my hands on a brand new copy! I have an old bible with the exact same setting and typeface published in 1992 but in a black hardcover without gilt edges, and it’s now fairly tatty. So I’m very pleased to be able to get hold of a new calfskin version with a sewn binding and gilt edges. I also have the Pitt Minion NLT and NIV in black and burgundy goatskin respectively, and the quality of all three is fantastic. I’m sure the russet will grow on me, and it’s got to be more interesting than the black French Morocco version that is the only widely available alternative now. The yellow marker is a nice touch as well.

  23. Robb, this is an excellent bible. The russet calfskin is unique. I think in smells like Band-Aids but that is ok with me.
    I really like the text. I wish it was available in more versions. I actually like it better than the pitt minion.

  24. Thank you for your help. I found one today on i cant wait to get it

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