A New Testament, A Psalter, A Reader’s Bible, and Netherlands Printing: Crossway’s Line-Up for 2014

This morning Crossway waved its magic wand and made 2014 very interesting. The game-changing Bible publisher previewed this year’s coming releases, and there are some awe-inspiring editions in the mix. For the full scoop, check out the Crossway blog: “2014 ESV Bible Preview.” I want to highlight a couple that I find significant:

A Single Column, Compact NT

Whatever happened to pocket New Testaments? They used to be all over the place, but now they’re relatively rare. And if you can find one, it will have an old-fashioned double-column layout to cram all the words in. I have dreamed — dreamed! — of a single-column New Testament that will give the text room to breathe. The single column setting that inspired my passion was a New Testament, after all: the Cambridge REB New Testament, now sadly long out of print. This month Crossway comes to the rescue:

 The ESV Pocket New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs is a highly portable edition ideal for a number of uses. This new edition will be available in a variety of covers, including gift editions to commemorate special occasions like baptisms, weddings, and births.

  • Size: 3.625” x 5.25”

  • 7-point type

  • 688 pages

  • Single-column format

  • Words of Christ in red

  • Sewn binding

Admittedly, I could live without the red letters, but a super compact NT with a single column setting and a sewn binding? I’m all over that. You can expect to see this one on Bible Design Blog in the near future.

A Reader’s Bible Without Chapter and Verse

Ever since the Books of the Bible, there’s been a cutting edge niche pushing for a “pure,” uncluttered reading experience, minus not just cross references and superscript notes, but also chapter and verse indicators. Frankly, I’ve never been too optimistic. Fortunately Crossway has proved me wrong. In May, they are releasing a Reader’s Bible that lives up to the name. I have seen the layout, and will be sharing some thoughts on this Bible soon. If they get the paper right, it’s going to be a winner.

The ESV Reader’s Bible was created for those who want to read the books of Scripture precisely as they were originally written. Verse numbers, chapter and section headings, and translation footnotes are helpful navigational and interpretive tools, but they are also relatively recent conventions. In the ESV Reader’s Bible they have been removed from the Bible text. The result is a new kind of Bible-reading experience in a volume that presents Scripture as one extended story line.

  • Size: 5.25” x 7.75”

  • 9-point type

  • 1,840 pages

  • Single-column format

  • Black letter text, no verse numbers or footnotes

  • Two ribbon markers

Expect to see a lot of coverage of this one on Bible Design Blog. It ticks a lot of the boxes for me. The layout looks great and the form factor is excellent. The only question will be whether the quality of production lives up to the design.

Did Somebody Ask for a Psalter?

If the prospect of a single column, sewn compact New Testament has be excited, then you can imagine how I feel about a single column edition of the Psalms with a sewn binding, “high quality paper,” and 11 pt. type. Ecstatic. I have raved about the psalter before, and look forward to doing so again when this edition releases in June.

The Psalms is a beautiful presentation of this beloved section of Scripture. Featuring the ESV text, each psalm is presented in large, readable type on high quality paper. The layout gives ample space for the text and adds to the aesthetic value of the biblical poetry. This is a wonderful edition for devotions, for liturgical use, and as a gift.

  • Black letter text

  • Single-column format

It’s great to see Crossway coming on strong this year with “specialist” editions. Again, we’re going to take a close look at this one on Bible Design Blog.

Did Somebody Say Jongbloed?

Crossway’s release of the Heirloom Bible is a big deal, too, since it appears these will be printed and bound in the Netherlands by Jongbloed, which does high end work for Schuyler, R. L. Allan and Cambridge. A thinline Heirloom will release in February, and when September comes we’ll see the beautiful Legacy text setting receive the Heirloom treatment:

The ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is a special edition of the original ESV Single Column Legacy Bible. Based on the Renaissance ideal of a perfect page, the Single Column Legacy Bible features a simple, clear layout with generous margins. As with Crossway’s other Heirloom Bibles, the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is printed in the Netherlands on high-quality European Bible paper and features art gilding, two ribbon markers, and an extra-smooth sewn binding. It is available in black and brown goatskin covers. The Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is a fine edition that combines elegant design with the best production materials available.

  • Black letter text

  • Single-column, paragraph format

  • Concordance

  • Art gilding

  • Two ribbon markers

  • Sewn binding

So this is big. Huge, actually. Crossway has released some higher shelf editions in the past, with bindings by Abba. But the Heirloom promises to set a new standard. It’s nice to see a publishing house the size of Crossway teaming up with Jongbloed, and on a single column text setting. The paper was “right” for me on the original Legacy (printed in Italy by LEGO), so if Jongbloed does better, well, this will be an edition to watch. And it will be available in black and brown. I’m pleased.

There’s more on the list, so check out the complete line-up at Crossway. And let me know in the comments what you’re excited about for 2014.

22 Comments on “A New Testament, A Psalter, A Reader’s Bible, and Netherlands Printing: Crossway’s Line-Up for 2014

  1. Interesting list of Bible’s to come this year. I like the fact that Crossway is taking some risks and being creative.

    I’m all about readability and for me that means larger type. The Bible that gets me interested is the The ESV Large Print Personal Size Bible in 12 pt, with line matching.

  2. The only reason I hesitated buying the Legacy was that I didn’t want a Trutone and I didn’t want to go through the rebinding process, so the Heirloom Legacy is great.

    Is there any indication that the Reader will be in something other than Trutone or board-over-cloth? Also, does Cambridge or Allan give us any indication of what they will come out with this year?

    • Griffith,

      http://www.bibles-direct.com/ usually lists upcoming releases on their homepage. They currently have:

      Upcoming new arrivals:

      ESV (2011) New Classic Readers Edition: ESVNC1, ESVNC1BR, ESVNC1T, ESVNC1BL – we have now sent out all back orders of the Black, Brown and Tan editions, although given the Christmas mail we cannot guarantee when they will be received. Please note that any orders requiring embossing will not be shipped until next week, because of Christmas closures.

      KJV 53 range: we are now out of stock of all but the 53R (Red) but the bindery are hoping to bind new copies by the end of January across the Black, Navy Blue and Brown editions
      NLT Classic Reference Edition:

      NLT1, NLT1BR, NLT1G – stock is expected in early February

  3. Funny, I was just thinking about a single column New Testament the other day. So that got my attention. The one that really caught my eye was the reader’s bible. Then when I went to the site, my eyes popped. Cloth over board, spine hubs, single column, no chapters, verses, etc. for $22.99 pre-order! Wow!

  4. Looks like Crossway has really been stepping up their game in the last few years. I really like what they’ve got in the works, especially the Psalter. That’s something I’ve actually begun looking for recently. I’ve got the Omega, and it really is their best binding so far. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it continues Crossway’s bizzare insistence on cluttering up the spine by putting on it the name of the translation, AND the initials of the translation, AND the logo of the translation! Talk about overkill! If they just put in Holy Bible, English Standard Version, and Crossway–a la Cambridge or Allan, for example–and left the logo for the cover page, it would look so much more classy, in my opinion.

    Mark, I don’t know how much influence you have with Crossway, but is this something that you could perhaps bring up to them if you are ever in conversation with them?

    • I agree on the cluttered spines. I guess Crossway just doesn’t want any confusion about what translation you’re reading.

  5. I have the calfskin Legacy right now. I’ve had it for about 6 months and, since it’s paste-off, it’s coming apart at the seam. It started after about 2-3 months and now it’s split all the way down. It’s not a huge deal because it’s just the presentation pages, but still. So, hopefully this Heirloom edition has edge-lining. That’s been my only complaint. I asked Leonard’s if they could leather edg-line mine with the cover it has on it now, but no dice. They only do new covers that are already edge lined. Guess we’ll see what happens with the Heirloom.

    • The descriptions of the Heirloom Legacy do not specify that it’s edge-lined, so I’m guessing it’s not going to be. I hope I’m wrong. It would be very disappointing if a large Bible at that price, with all the other high end features was not edge-lined.
      I’m also going to guess that the cover will be line with leatherette (paper) and not leather or some other higher quality material. I hate to be pessimistic, but I’m expecting the Heirloom Legacy to be an almost very nice edition.

  6. I’m trying to figure out the purpose in the Thinline Heirloom since they already have the Omega. I am probably missing something pretty elementary — but it seems there is little difference. Both are printed in the Netherlands. Both come with black goat. Any ideas what the differences will be. Hard to imagine an upgrade to the quality of the Omega. I absolutely love mine.

    • Kyle, the heirloom will be smaller and thinner than the Omega with smaller 8pt font and won’t have cross-references. I’m excited for it- will be a great teaching or preaching bible I think.

  7. Unfortunately, I cannot get excited about anything published by Crossway. The original calfskin ESV Heirloom I had had paper that was good for writing on combined with the ability to discolor and poor quality gilt edging. Ditto for the calfskin ESV thinline. The latest and last try with them was a beautiful ESV goatskin Omega with the same fatal flaw as the Cambridge Clarions, namely, paper so thin it curls, and blows around when the HVAC system kicks in during public worship. Them won’t fool me again (to quote the Who, from my misguided youth).

  8. I am excited about the new legacy coming out in goatskin with art gilt pages. The price for it on amazon is close to $200 dollars though. Does anyone know if the liner will be goatskin as well or will it be the same as the original legacy?

  9. Lizzie at the Crossway blog informed me that although the final decision has not been made, it is highly likely that the new legacy will be leather lined with either cowhide or calf. That’s really good news! In my opinion the legacy has the best layout out there… single column paragraphed text with room to breath on the page, and subject headings removed from the text into its very generous outer margin that still leaves ample room for making notes. I write very small and find that because the text is in a single column, the outer margin affords an amount of room for notes that rivals most wide-margin editions. I have the original cowhide edition marked up all the way through with highlighting, underlining, and notes in the generous margin. I am happy that Crossway is coming out with this bible in such a premium binding and will be getting one for my brother as a gift on thanksgiving. I hope that he will enjoy using it as much as I do.

  10. I just found out at the Crossway blog that the Heirloom Legacy will be edge lined.

  11. I checked the pdf preview for the ESV Pocket New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs, and, at least on my computer, the red letter text is showing up as a really unattractive shade of bright pink. Possibly my monitor is displaying the colors wrong. Has anyone else noticed this?

    • Z,
      Yes… That is definately a very bright, technicolour shade of pink! I can’t see that being the colour they use for the Words of Jesus when it is actually printed. Hopefully they use a nice deep shade of red. I am surprised that this bible is a red letter edition.

  12. I pre-ordered the Heritage in Calfskin last Spring. I was optimistic at first thinking some of its problems would correct themselves. I thought the binding just needed to be broken in but after a few months of use it was still stiff (almost impossible to preach from Genesis without constantly closing on the stand). I contacted Crossway and they are issuing me a credit…which I will be using toward the Heirloom Legacy. I still love the size/layout of the Heritage, but I’m pretty excited about the quality of the new Heirloom.

    Question…do any of you preach using the Legacy? If so, will you share your thoughts on the pros and cons of that version from the pulpit?

  13. I found the Crossway Psalms in an Amish country bookstore last weekend, and love the size, paper, layout, and font. Great price, too. I got the less expensive cover. Would have preferred the leather, but couldn’t justify the expense.

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