Two KJVs from the Folio Society

If you're one of those people looking to commemmorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Version in a big way … I mean, a really big way, then the Folio Society has something for you:


According to the website description: "This two-volume edition is bound in full goatskin leather, blocked with calligraphy by Stephen Raw. With gilded page edges, double ribbon markers and presented in a wooden slipcase lined with moiré silk, this is an edition to be read and handed down for generations." The list price is a mere $975.


I haven't handled one up close, but judging from the photos, this looks like a splendid edition. It follows David Norton's restored 1611 text and in the glimpse provided above appears to be typographically opulent. If your reverence for the KJV isn't enough to justify laying out a thousand dollars — or if your budget doesn't seem to think reverence has anything to do with it, the Folio Society offers a more economical edition, too:


This one is bound in two shades of book cloth and is listed at $150. The description sounds good: "Single column formatting makes the most of the typography, and the text is carefully set into paragraphs to make it easy to read. For this exclusive Folio edition a larger than usual format and thicker paper have been used. The result is a superbly clear presentation of the Bible that remains unchallenged for its beauty and power." No interior shots are provided, so it's hard to judge how thick the thicker paper really is. Still, it's nice to hear. 

While I don't have either of these editions, I do have shelves full of Folio Society volumes. They're well made books with an old school, decorative ethos. If you're looking for a show-stopping gift to give this Christmas to the Jacobophile in your life, either of these would fit the bill. 

15 Comments on “Two KJVs from the Folio Society

  1. WOW! Those are some of the most beautifully bound Bibles that I have ever seen. The emerald green and the font that is used on the covers, is lovely. I imagine that these are just as beautiful on the inside.

  2. OK, Mark, I’ll bite. What’s a jacobophile?
    Beautiful Bible, in the first 2 photos. Do you know if the dimensions (and possibly total page count) are closer to the original Cambridge NCP or the re-released “personal” (compact) versions?

  3. Jacobus is the Latin for James, which is why the era following the Elizabethan is dubbed the Jacobean. So I used a bit of license and coined a term for those who love the King James, a Jacobophile. If enough of us start using it, maybe they’ll update the OED.

  4. Thanks Mark, that was a couple of stretches too far for me to reach.
    And David, nice identification of Judith 16. I agree the pagination appears the same as the the original NCPB (with a few extra pages tossed in a few places) but modern typesetting and printing allows publishers to “scale” a page to an arbitrary font size. I was hoping Mark would give the dimensions, but not to worry, they’re given at as 11″ x 7¼”, so this edition is certainly close, if not identical, to the NCPB original.
    Although the red highlights (chapter “initials”, page numbers, etc) are quite nice, I think the double-volume penalty makes this Folio edition less desirable than the original Cambridge, which I believe, in Fr Morocco, is as close to a perfect Bible as I own. I hope you like yours as much as I do mine.

  5. I do have ðe leß expensive edition, and it is a pleasure to hold & read.

  6. Leandro, can you say if the pagination in your Folio Society edition is the same of the original New Cambridge Paragraph Bible? For example, does the left hand page of Judith 16 begin with “is pleased therewith” and ends “through his neck”?

  7. Hi Mark! I just happened to find this post as I was searching for more information on the quality of Folio Society products. I’m looking at getting their editions of Tolkien’s books! Could you tell us more about the general quality? I’m a bibliophile (duh) and I have been on the hunt for high quality editions of my favorite books, and hence I am about to pull the trigger on these. I considered having Leonard’s rebind Lord of the Rings for me, but because there aren’t a lot of quality sewn editions of LOTR to work with and, having found the Folio Society now, I’m thinking maybe I couldn’t do better than that. Thoughts?

    • Folio Society editions are a great choice. They’re basically quality hardcovers, thoughtfully designed, often with original artwork. They don’t open flat out of the slipcase, which is a gripe, but otherwise I like them. I’m especially fond of the boxed sets by authors like Graham Greene and John Buchan, since it’s nice to have a uniform edition of authors you admire.

      I have a hardcover set of Lord of the Rings that’s slipcased and (as far as I can remember) sewn, dating from maybe 10 years ago. They exist, so I wouldn’t say your rebind project is out of the realm of possibility. The “problem” with Folio Society prices is that you get book cloth editions for the price you might pay for leather-bound … unless you find a deal on the secondhand market.

      • Thanks for the reply Mark. You mention that they don’t open flat. The only books I’ve had that do so are sewn Bibles…sewn hardcovers I have open with much less force than glued ones, but still not “flat” because the paper is thicker, etc. In light of that, would you describe the folio society books as having much looser bindings than normal books, or are they about as stiff as a normal book? I really like that the LOTR are in three volumes through Folio, which isn’t the case with most Houghton Mifflin sewn editions…and I found then for half price on ebay and amazon marketplace! Thanks again.

        • I’d say they are “stiff as normal.” More a matter of not possessing a desired advantage than suffering from a defect, if you see what I mean. I would go for it.

  8. I have 2 copies of the red one and I must say it is a delight to read from, I’m guessing the more expensive edition must have much thicker paper, though the one I have has basically no text show through.

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