Taking Notes on ESV Reader’s Edition Paper

Q. I'm wondering if the ESV Reader's Edition paper shows the writing through the other side much?

A. Depends on what you mean by much. As you can see from the photos below, if you write in the margin with a standard ballpoint, the ink itself doesn't bleed through but the words are clearly visible (and legible) from the reverse side of the page.

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Above: The front of the page.

Below: The back of the page.

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Feel free to discuss… 

23 Comments on “Taking Notes on ESV Reader’s Edition Paper

  1. Thanks for clearing that up Mark. Just what I wanted to see. And considering you used a standard ball point pen it really doesn’t show through other than the imprint due to the type of pen. Might be a good reason to use a Pigma Microns that I’ve been hearing about.

  2. I thought your wife’s Bible was the Brown Reader’s and you had the tan? Are you in trouble? :-)

  3. @ J. Kru,
    I use Pigma Microns and Accent Dry Highlighters in my ESV Reader and am satisfied with the paper’s performance. The paper really is good quality and readily handles my marking style.

  4. I recently bought a set of the Pigma Microns. I usually mark in my bibles with pencil to limit the see through on the other side. I was dissappointed with the bleed through to the other side from the Pigma Microns. They are excellent markers, but the bleed through is more from them than it is from a ball point pen. I tried them in several of my bibles, and the only one that did not bleed through was the Foundation Publications, NASB large print ultrathin bible. This bible has very opaque paper, probably the best I’ve seen for paper that is not thick, i.e., like the Cambridge wide margin and Oxford KJV wide margin. I do not own the latter two bibles, but I suspect the pigma micron pens would work fine in them too. I guess my point is…don’t be fooled into thinking these pens do not bleed through on thin, non-opaque bible paper. Also, I do not own the ESV Reader’s edition, so maybe the pens would work okay in that one too.

  5. I was wondering how the Pigma Microns fare on the Readers. Also what tip size would you all recommend for the Allan Readers or ESV1? Still saving up for my “high end” Bible but I keep using the fund to pay bills :(
    One day…….

  6. Personally I use DR Pilot drawing pens to write in them with, and find them very good. I don’t know what the comparison between the ones I use and the Pigma Microns are though.

  7. I use the Pigma Micron 005 (Black) in my Readers. There is some bleed through, but the tip is so fine that it really is not a problem. It is better than a ballpoint because it does not leave impressions on the paper. I would rather have some bleed through rather than impressions on the back side of the page.
    Also, I use the 005 because it allows for very small print. The smaller you write the less noticeable the bleed through.
    My two cents…

  8. Please don’t do that again with a bible; I was taught to never write in books to include the Bible. It distracts from the printed page in addition to weakening the fabric of the paper. Bless your heart, I know you mean well.

  9. Re Kathy’s comment. The first time my daughter saw me making notes in my bible, when she was a teenager, she was horrified. She thought I was changing the text to whatever I wanted it to say, lol! Even though I explained to her that these are historical documents whose original text is not English, and therefore sometimes need extra footnotes to help us understand what the writers were trying to convey to the reader, she still gives me that ‘not-impressed grandmother’ look if she see me writing in my bibles, lol.

  10. I’ve seen worse, and I don’t really know if I’ve seen much better!

  11. To all the people freaked out about writing in the Reader’s Bible, that’s what the wider margins are for!! Remember, a Bible is meant primarily to be used, not for display. For some of us, writing in the margins, underlining, etc. is part of using it and living with it. I strongly agree with Mark when he says that the purpose of a quality Bible is so that you don’t have to worry about it falling apart from normal use.
    I haven’t gotten around to writing in the margins yet, but I have started writing stuff on the notepaper in the back. I use Pigma Microns, and they’ve worked out very well. Not a lot of bleed through, and no imprinting on the back.
    @Jerry: Don’t feel bad about using money from the Bible fund to pay bills, God will be pleased that you honor your financial obligations! :) He will provide the money for a Bible at the right time.

  12. Re writing in your Bible. I agree with the concept that it’s a working text book – not a display item. Mine is full of notes of when I gained insight into passages, when they were particularly relevant/powerful in my life. It’s a record of my journey with God through it’s pages – my notes are priceless to me. Plus as I get older, its far too easy to forget an insight I gain unless I write a note LOL! I know I could write a note in a separate notebook, but when the notes are in my Bible they are always ‘at hand.’
    Aside – I wonder where the idea of ‘never write in your Bible’ originated? Possibly from the past when there was only a ‘community’ copy and therefore it would have been wrong to write personal notes in it? Or is it the idea that the Bible is somehow too ‘holy’ to write in?

  13. I am a little surprised so many of you like to write in your margins with ink. I don’t have any issues with writing in the Bible, I actually think it’s a good idea to help remember points, terms, etc. However, don’t any of you ever make any mistakes? I always use a mechanical pencil so if necessary I can erase and rearrange my notes. I’m just curious.

  14. Danny, I make mistakes all the time! In fact, I already made two mistakes in the notepaper on the back of the Bible. One of them was a missing letter, and I was able to insert it somehow. Not very neat, but I don’t have neat handwriting so I don’t think it stands out too much. The other mistake is a word I’m going to try to white-out (I’ll only do that on the notepaper, not the margins of the text!). If all else fails, I’ll just scratch out mistakes.
    I’ve thought about using pencil, but I’m worried about it rubbing off with time. Besides, even if you erase something, the imprint is still on the back. In the end, I just don’t worry about mistakes. I know I’ll make them, I know I’ll try to correct them the best I can, and I know it will look messy. But that’s how the rest of my life is anyways. There’s something symbolic for me about reading God’s perfect Word into the my messy life, and praying that out of chaos God will create new heavens and earth!

  15. For those interested in pens… I use a specially modified pigma, let me tell you what I did.
    Fist I wanted a blue for underlining and writting (black blends in to much) however the only blue that was in a small tip was the bright blue, didnt like that much. Also I didnt care for the tan pen color itself.
    But i got creative.
    I found a dark grey pigma pen in a fabric store and got that. replaced the cartridge inside with a dark blue and the tip with a 005-02 light blue. after writting for a minute the dark blue comes through and worked like a champ so far. Thats my special dark grey colored 01 dark blue pigma.
    I have no problems with the bleed through, but i think the paper is good so.

  16. Danny, I make mistakes all the time in my note taking in my bible. Sometimes I misspell a word, write too tightly in the margins making the note difficult to read, etc. But that’s par for the course, I guess. After all, we’re reading a book about imperfect people, with the exception of one, trying to become perfect. It seems appropriate that we make mistakes in the process of making notes.
    For me, when I go back over a passage that I’ve read and annotated, the passage has a fuller application and meaning. I often put little notes and explanations to myself in addition to other scriptural references. All this enriches my study of the Word.

  17. I’m with Danny. I tried the Micron but went back to a mechanical pencil. Less bleed, finer point and I can erase. I’ve never had any problems with smudging.

  18. For those saying that the Bible used was “ruined,” if you look at the picture you will see that the words were written in the concordance section. Therefore no Bibles were harmed in the making of this blog post.

  19. So it’s now two months after the initial ballpoint pen test note. Can you go back to this note and check in particular the back side? What I’ve noticed, though it may have taken years, not months, is that sometimes the ballpoint pen ink works its way in/through the paper. The result is sever bleed-through in the long run. It might be that ballpoint inks can be oil-based, and so the long-term effect is quite different from the immediate appearance. But it might be an effect of the printed text, as I see more bleed-through closer to the text, less moving out to the margin. My comment/observation is based on my Oxford Wide Margin from the mid 70′s (1970′s). Problem occurred within the 1st 5 years.

  20. Cris, I noticed the same thing on my NASB SCR that I used about ten years ago. The spine started falling apart, I replaced it with a new one, and then somehow lost my first copy along the way. So I can’t check to see how it is now, but I do remember after a couple of years noticing my handwritten notes starting to bleed through the paper. I used regular ‘ol Bic ballpoint pens. I’ve been using Pigma Micron pens over the last year and a half, or so, and I don’t anticipate having that same problem. At least, I haven’t started to notice it yet.

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