Of the Making of Books

The revisions on my next Roland March novel are due by the end of the month, which means there's a nice stack of review copies piling up in my office. I'm excited about some of the goodies I'll be sharing with you shortly — particularly an unbound Oxford KJV wide margin being published by R. L. Allan, printed and bound by Jongbloed. That's it on the top of the stack:

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If you've ever wondered what the pieces of a fine Bible look like before they're put together, get ready for an examination of the inner workings of the Good Book. Speaking of inner workings, if you're not following my book arts journey already, now would be a good time to start. While revising, I went a little crazy and decided to print and sew a text block version of the novel. Don't worry … I will not be putting that gorgeous calf split Bible cover on it! Here's the link for photos: Normal Author, Crazy Author.

15 Comments on “Of the Making of Books

  1. Thank-you so much for your work in this Mark. I know you’re busy but this is very helpful to us in the Bible-buying (and reading!) sphere. I’m sure it’s also an encouragement and help to those who care enough to ensure good craftsmanship (a dying art in the Wal-Mart world) in making a product that brings glory to God. Thanks again Mark.

  2. I purchased the first two March books primarily as a show of support to the guy who does such a tremendous job on this blog. Admittedly, I still would not know who Roland March if not for this website. That is to say: my books are in pristine condition. But if you are going to write, select your own paper, typeset, print, sew, and bind your own novels — well, I guess I’ll just have to take some time and read them. Why? Because the normal reader reads selections of interest. Crazy readers read because some unrelated confluence of events is just random enough to spark a crazed reading frenzy — and because I intend to purchase the first autographed set bound in the pink ratskin!

  3. I bought the first Roland March novel after sampling it on Amazon. I’m reading it now, and it’s quite good. Not only is it a good story, but the composition/writing is good as well. That’s something I can’t say for a lot of authors nowadays. As a former English teacher, I have high standards when it comes to grammar, diction, and the like, and I am enjoying this novel.

  4. I am very angry with the people at Crossway Books Publishing. I have just found out that they have released a 2011 revision of the ESV bible. While it is not a huge revision, there are several changes made in the text.(e.g. ‘slave’ being mostly replaced by ‘bond-servant’)
    You may be wondering why I am angry about this. Well, I have spent the last two years of my life memorizing books of the New Testament. It has been a difficult task, but with the Lord’s help, I have managed to memorize fifteen books. I was however using the ESV 2007 revision, which used to be found on the Crossway Books, ESV Bible website. I had put off buying a new ESV bible, because I could find the text online, and enjoyed being able to adjust the font size and layout of the text.
    But now I am looking to buy a Bible, for when I am travelling. The ESV Legacy Bible and the Clarion Bible looked perfect for my needs. There is just one problem. Crossway decided to revise the ESV text this year. So now, if I wish to purchase a new bible in these formats, I must get it in the 2011 revision, and have to either overlook the variations in the new text, or I have to re-memorize those passages that have changed.
    Mark, can you please let Crossway know that it is inconsiderate of them not to warn people that they are revising their ESV text? And can you please have to post on their website the changes that have been made, and the reasons for these changes?
    Thanks.

  5. John, that is a good idea. I will write out a complaint and send it to them.

  6. There are still plenty of ESV Bibles available with the 2007 text; the Personal Size Reference is probably a good choice, particularly if you want it for travelling. The Single Column Legacy, while it looks like it will be an outstanding Bible, is probably too big to travel with, anyway. (If the dimensions on the Crossway website are to be believed, it will be the same size as the Zondervan wide margin Bibles). No one has seen an ESV Clarion yet to confirm, but it will almost certainly have the 2011 text (Do we have any word from Cambridge to confirm this, Mark?)
    As for the internet, Bible Gateway (for now, at least) still has the 2007 text of the ESV, so you might want to check that out. (and download a copy for when it does change!) The ESV app on the iPhone also still has the 2007 text.
    I agree that such changes are a problem for memorisers, but given they are on the whole minor (The slaves-bondservants issue aside, which has raised quite a few heckles anyway) they are mostly irrelevant for other uses, which I guess Crossway have chosen to downplay the changes
    The cynic in me thinks there may be another reason, which comes down to marketing. As we are all no doubt well aware, a new edition of the NIV has also come out this year, this time well publicised, and a number of churches who have been using the 1984 version for years have been driven to consider a switch as a result, with the ESV often a contender. I wonder whether if the ESV text was perceived to be more volatile this would be the case?
    Rant aside, there are a couple of helpful blogposts which detail changes for some of the books here:
    http://centanium.com/2011/08/esv-2011-text-edition-partial-list-of.html (Ecclesiastes, Mark, John, Hebrews)
    http://centanium.com/2011/10/esv-2011-text-edition-another-partial.html (Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 John)
    I haven’t come across lists for any other books yet (I may just have to do some myself)

  7. @Failedluddite – Thank you for your words. I agree with you. It seems to me that some of the changes that were made to the text, were made with the hope of being more politically correct- since the word ‘slave’, though understood by all, might upset certain people in the population. I have noticed other changes though, which seem to be unnecessary, and do not improve the meaning or understanding of the text. And like you said, when a publisher announces that a certain bible is being revised, it makes one think that their version of the text is outdated, and makes them think about buying a new bible. I hope that was not the only reason why Crossway decided to make those changes.
    I just hope that this will not be a trend in the years to come. I would hate to think that every few years, Crossway will revise the text of the ESV. I really like the 2007 text as it is, and I fear that if they revise it anymore, that it will lose what made it attractive to me in the first place.

  8. After sending a letter to Crossway about my concerns of the 2011 ESV text, this is the (rather generic)reply that I received from them:
    “Dear Christian,
    Thank you for your message and for voicing your concern.
    The original text came in 2001. The ESV had a minor revision in 2007 and recently had another one in April 2011. In both cases there were a small number of changes to the ESV Bible text and text notes, similar to what most translations have done in the years following their initial publication. The ESV 2011 changes represent a very small fraction of a percentage (as compared to the number of changes made in recent years to other leading translations). Most changes are minor, primarily involving grammar, punctuation, and the textual footnotes.
    Because it is such a small fraction of the text, we do not have a detailed list of the changes made available, but the latest translation is on our website: http://www.esvbible.org/Genesis+1/
    You can check what text edition that your Bible has by looking on the copyright page for “ESV Text Edition: __year__.” I’m sorry if this change has frustrated you, but I assure you that it doesn’t change the theological meaning of any of the texts.
    I hope that this helps and please let me know if you need further assistance.
    Sincerely,
    Karen Hall
    Front Desk Attendant / Customer Service Representative”

  9. Glad to know about the inner working of the book and having it in my collection.
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  10. @Christian Cerna: New versions is all about money making. Watch on YouTube “The NIV Money Making Scam” (3 parts) and “2011 NIV Made In Communist China”. One of the reasons I would never use new version is exactly that, what you have experienced. You cannot use new versions for Bible memorizing, because they always change the text (to make even more money). I stick to the King James.

  11. @Sladko- That is true. I wonder what the ESV Bible will look like 20 years from now. I’m sure they will keep finding things to change, just so that they can keep sellig more bibles. It is getting ridiculous. It’s almost like computer software that needs to be updated every few years, when they come out with a newer, improved version.
    They should just call it the ESV 3.0

  12. I looked through most of the changes to the 2011 ESV. Most are, to put it bluntly, inconsequential. Not significant enough to be noticed by the vast majority of people. Others are noticable but not a major change.
    I like some of these changes. For example in 2 Tim 3:17 the 2011 uses the word “complete” rather than “competent” from the 2007. I have never liked the readin gof competent as it does not convey the fullness of the meaning. So this was a good change.
    I also noticed that they changed the phrase “Here am I” to “Here I am.” this may make sense to do in some verses but it looks like they did it in all of them including Isaiah 6. In that passage the “Here am I” reading makes more sense as Isaiah is not trying to reference physical location as implied by the phrase “Here I am.” He is identifying himself for service. The change does not destroy the meaning but it does make it a little more obscure.
    All in all I am not dissatisfied with the changes. However, I would appreciate it if the ESV translator committee would settle this for a little while longer. A 4-6 year revision cycle is a little too frequent for a “Bible for life.”

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