Have Doublet, Will Blog: Every Renaissance Needs An MVP

Three things I’ve learned as a novelist that are good advice for anyone in our social media age:

  1. Be grateful for any press you get.
  2. Don’t believe your press, though, or at least don’t let it go to your head.
  3. Pass the word along, because people can’t appreciate what they don’t know about.

When it comes to Bibles, I’m usually on the giving end of good press, not the receiving end, but this week that changed: Sky Cline of EvangelicalBible.com and Schuyler fame wrote some kind words about how he sees the impact of my work at Bible Design Blog on trends in Bible publishing. That prompted some people on the BDB Facebook page and elsewhere to share their own stories, all of which I found inspiring. And now Sky has expanded his remarks and dedicated a page on the EvangelicalBible.com website to yours truly. Check it out: J. Mark Bertrand at EvangelicalBible.com.

Move over Erasmus! There’s a new Renaissance man in town.

For all of this, I am truly grateful. Whether you agree with Sky that I’ve been “the single most important player in the Quality Bible Renaissance” or not, I want to say thanks for reading the blog. I know I don’t update the blog as frequently as you might wish, and not everyone agrees with the kind of design I’m passionate about. But the fact that you’ve stuck with me since 2007 — and in some cases long before — means a lot. So, thanks.

There are a couple of non-BDB related links I would like to share, too. Some readers of the blog end up following other interests of mine, getting sucked in deeper and deeper in the world of Bertrandia. If you’d like to follow them, here are a couple of options:

  1. My sermons. Writing is one reason I can’t do BDB full-time, but there’s another: I am a ruling elder and licentiate in the Presbyterian Church in America, and since last August I have been doing something we call “pulpit supply” at my church. (In non-presbyterianese, that means preaching every Sunday.) Here at Bible Design Blog, I keep the focus on design, printing, and binding — the physical form of the Good Book — but if you’ve ever wondered what it sounds like when I talk about what’s inside the Bible, you can find out by listening to some of my recent sermons. They’re available, along with our weekly liturgy, via the Sermons of Grace podcast on iTunes.
  2. My Instagram feed. I spend my summers teaching at Worldview Academy, where I work with some amazing college students who serve on staff. That explains how a middle aged misanthrope who has what we might diplomatically describe as mixed feelings about social media (don’t we all?) happens to have an Instagram feed. It’s dominated by photos of books and things, with occasional places thrown in. If you’re on Instagram, let’s be friends there, too. Check out my feed here: Mark’s Instagram Feed.

Okay, that’s more than enough about me. Next time we’ll be back on topic!

16 Comments on “Have Doublet, Will Blog: Every Renaissance Needs An MVP

  1. I have to say that you have been instrumental in my appreciation of quality Bibles. Some men like watches, some like cars, I like books (with a focus on Bibles). I only own one (a Schuyler Quental ESV, black) but I think that they are truly beautiful and useful things. I love your blog and ask you to keep up the great work. It’s always a pleasure to read.

  2. Hi Mark
    I’ve been following your activities on BDB for many years but have only just now visited your feed on Instagram. Wow! You truly live in a world of excellence and refinement. With 5 kids (and the 6th on the way) I find it hard to keep anything precious out of their hands (did you know the little blighters can climb like monkeys!). I enjoy living vicariously through people such as yourself. Keep up the great work.

  3. Hi, Mark. I’d like to let you know that because of your reviews (and photographs, especially), I decided to buy my first R.L. Allan bible several years ago, because I got tired of inferior quality Bibles falling apart after only a couple years of use. I’ve bought four of them so far. They are truly the best constructed Bibles I know of.

    I’m sending an old Thomas-Nelson 1901 ASV to Leonard’s Books for a rebind, in part, based on your recommendation. My question for you is, do you know of a reputable individual who can do high quality art-gilt edging (gold foil) on this book?

    • I too have bought many Allan Bibles at Mark’s recommendation. I have also had a Bible rebound by Leonard’s (in fact, it was almost an exact copy of the one Mark had done, which appears in the Header on BDB homepage). They did an acceptable job, however the French Moire liner was quite disappointing in that the glue which secures it can be seen clearly underneath it (it resembles a permanent wet spot on/under the lining, almost like drops of moisture even though it is dry). Also, the red leather section on the spine with “Holy Bible” stamped on it in gold filigree is also a bit annoying as it is not stitched on but rather glued; Mark did highlight this in his review if I remember correctly. However, Leonard’s were very easy to contact and responded to my queries promptly.
      As far as other rebinds go, check out Mark’s review of Caloca Rebinds (http://www.bibledesignblog.com/2016/03/caloca-bible-rebinds-matthew-everhards-asv.html)

      • James,

        I checked Calcoa’s out, and it seems you must supply your own hide in order for him to do a rebind. I could be mistaken about that. If I am, then I may consider sending my book there. Or perhaps you have a good source that you’d recommend to secure said hide. It seems that he does excellent rebinding work, based of the photographs on his Facebook page.

        Thanks for the info about Leonard’s; I still haven’t shipped the book to them as of yet. How would you rate the quality of your rebind, overall? On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being outstanding), would you say around a 6 or 7? If I do send my book there, I’ve decided to use the “20th Century Sunday School Teachers Style”.

        • If it weren’t for the issues I mentioned I’d give them an 8.

        • If I may butt in, Siegel Leather (http://www.siegelleather.com/) is where we usually get our quality hides from. Just have it shipped straight to Diego to save yourself the hassle of having it shipped to you, and then from you to him. If I’m not wrong, Diego can provide the leather liner so you’ll just have to purchase the hide for the cover.

          I’ve had a couple rebinds done by both Diego and Leonard’s. My Leonard’s rebinds turned out decently and communication with them was swift and friendly. They only have one style for a leather-lined rebind, though. Also, well…they’ve recently revised their prices and it now costs quite a bit for a rebind, especially if you factor in the extra charges for gold imprinting and multiple ribbons.
          Now, my Diego rebinds turned out BEAUTIFUL. He’s very good about paying careful attention to the little details about your rebind and he’s flexible and very willing to try new things. If you decide to go with Diego, it helps tremendously if you choose a good quality hide meant specially for bookbinding because some hides you find on ebay are not suitable for fashioning into book covers.

          • Sarah, I appreciate your commentary. I will take your advice into consideration.

    • Larry, Diego Caloca can add red under existing gold gilt, but unless things have changed fairly recently, only Peter Geraty at Praxis Bindery https://www.praxisbindery.com/index.php does art gilt from scratch and with real gold. The wait is long (up to a year for a rebind, not sure about just the art gilt), and not inexpensive, but his work is phenomenal. You would need to have the art gilt done before the rebinding.

      • Beth, I checked the link out. This is exactly what I’m looking for. I especially appreciate that Praxis includes a 15 page PDF delineating the materials and order of process to properly gild the pages. I’ll send my book there for gilding. Thank you.

  4. Well deserved Mark! I have been following your Bible design posts since the old jmarkbertrand.com days. Still waiting on the Bertrand x Allan design!

    All the best!

  5. Hi Mark,

    This is my first comment in years, but as you have influenced me to buy, not one but now six of those wonderful bibles, I need to say thanks. As a pastor I found that I do truly need more than one or even two, so the Cambridge NKJV version wide margine and pit minion were a start. Then my Daughter asked for the Shuyler single column NKJV. I loved that so much I just ordered a Shuylers Quentel for preaching…. And it goes on. Thanks Mark for pointing us to these wonderfully bound bibles. We all know that the inside is what is most important, but it helps to be packaged in a life time cover. My daughters comment is true, “Dad, this cover kisses my fingers.” 🙂 Thanks again.

  6. Sir, your blog post about the Quentel NKJV was instrumental in my decision to get one for myself (my wife calls it my anniversary present). I was skeptical about spending that kind of money for something I have in numerous quantities in my office. Today, it will be delivered to my front door. Then I will go over to your appropriate blog post and leave my own little review about the last bible I will ever buy. Thank you, for your passion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *