I might be shallow enough to author a blog about the design and manufacture of Bibles (as opposed to the content within), but even I don’t waste much time on the packaging they come in. While I like to find vintage Bibles still in the box, that has more to do with the information printed on the box than any quality in the packaging itself. Sometimes publishers stick their high-end editions in fussy packaging — clamshell boxes with magnetized flaps, sometimes with synthetic leather upholstery to boot. To be honest, it seems like a waste to me. Something simple and sturdy to protect the contents is all I require, like the simple blue box that R. L. Allan uses.
There is, however, an exception, one example of nice packaging I dearly miss: the Cambridge slipcase.
Older Cambridge editions come in a simple box, but somewhere along the line — I’m guessing during the 1980s or 90s — the two-part slipcase was introduced. The tan interior slip held the Bible, then fitted into the slightly wider exterior slip, which was printed with a spired university scene. The attraction wasn’t the Brideshead-style nostalgia the image evoked. It was the practical nature of the slipcase itself. As the photo illustrates, a softcover Bible enclosed in its slipcase can stand upright on a shelf like any other book. That, my friends, is a real plus.
Nowadays Cambridge Bibles (like all the rest) are either in the box or out. If they’re in, they might be better protected, but you can’t actually see them. With the slipcased editions, you can pluck them right off the shelf for use, then tuck them right back. Some editions, such as the red NIV pictured at the top of the stack, only came with an outer slipcase, which worked just as well.
Of course, just because your Bible didn’t come with a slipcase doesn’t mean you can’t have one. If you’re handy, here’s a tutorial on how to make your own: