Let me begin with an apology. The success of Bible Design Blog has made it impossible for me to respond to every e-mail I receive. If you don't hear back from me personally, it's not because I don't appreciate your support. I do. And I'd like more than anything to help with your inquiry. It's just that most of the time I can devote to the site goes into the site itself, and many of the questions I receive are answered on the site already. Use the search feature and do some digging in the comments. You'll be surprised how much you find.
Why I don't answer some e-mail...
The number one reason is: I'm swamped. Let me put it this way. I don't write Bible Design Blog for a living. With the exception of some consulting work for publishers, it doesn't bring in a dime. So what do I do? I write books. In 2007, Crossway published my book Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World. In 2010, two of my novels came out -- Beguiled, which I co-authored, and Back on Murder, the first in a series of detective books. The second book in the series, Pattern of Wounds, was released in 2011, and the next book, Nothing to Hide, will come out Summer 2012. Even then, I don't write full-time. Like everybody else, I work. What that means is, the time I have to devote to Bible Design Blog is precious, and to keep going I have to stay very focused. I justify it by telling myself that if you like what I'm doing here, you might go out and buy some of my books. (Please do. There are links in the sidebar to help you.)
The downside is that I have as much time as I used to for correspondence. Believe me, I still devote an insane amount of time, relatively speaking, to the task. I just can't maintain my original goal, which was to reply promptly to everyone in person.
The kind of questions I can't answer anymore...
Let me share some of the types of inquiries I'm likely not to answer:
#1. Questions that are already answered on the site
You'd be surprised how many questions I receive which are already answered either in the site's FAQ or in one of my posts. I realize there's a lot of material and it's not always organized for ready reference, but if you immerse yourself and take the time to do a little reading, you'll be amazed how much is here. There's a Facebook community devoted to Bible Design Blog, too, which is a great place for information.
Hint: Do some digging on the site. Check out the Facebook fan page.
#2. Questions that can't be answered
The bulk of my knowledge on the subject is posted on the site. If it's not here already, the odds are I don't know the answer. Sometimes there is no answer. Or I'm not the right person to ask. It might help if I provide some examples:
2a. Requests for personal recommendations.
"Which Bible should I get, Option A or Option B?" If your question is along these lines, the odds are I won't be able to answer. The relevant information is already on the site, and I'm not in a position to weigh the merits of various volumes and tell you which is best for you. My advice is to read what I've written, look at the comments, and make an informed decision that way. If you have questions, post them in the comments. You'll be amazed at the expertise in our little community.
2b. Requests with "specs."
"Where can I buy a Bible that meets the following nine criteria?" I get a lot of these inquiries, and all I can tell you is that the more specific your specs are, the less likely it is that any edition past or present meets them.
2c. Requests for specific reviews.
"Why don't you post a review of Bible X?" Nine times out of ten, the reason is that I don't have one. I also don't have a lot of time to solicit publishers, which means the editions I tend to have on hand come from the proactive publishers. If you want to see something specific reviewed, and it seems to fit within the scope of what I'm doing here, the best thing to do is get in touch with the publisher and say something to the effect of, "Why, oh why aren't you guys sending review copies to Bertrand?"
2d. Customer service issues.
"I know you don't work for Company Y, but I can you help with this problem I'm having with them?" The best thing to do when you have customer service issues is deal directly with the vendor. I'm not an appropriate middle man. If you can't get redress, I would encourage you to post a comment in the relevant space. Maybe they'll see it and decide to work out the issue with you.
2e. Ordering inquiries.
"Can you send me Bible Z? Where do I submit payment?" I can't. You don't. This isn't a shop. Bible Design Blog is like a magazine about the design and binding of Bibles. I don't sell them -- I write about them. When the things I write about are available for purchase, there is typically a link to the source. (Check for blue highlighted text with an underline.)
"How much is my vintage Bible worth?" I'm not a bookseller and I'm not an expert on antiquarian books. The best advice I can give you is to check eBay for comparable items and see what they go for.
#3. Questions I don't answer
In addition to the questions I've already answered and the ones I can't answer, there are certain ones I could answer but choose not to. Frustrating, huh? The thing is, Bible Design Blog is a narrowly focused enterprise. I have opinions about a lot of things, but I reserve this space for just a few of them. Here are some specific topics I tend to avoid, along with my reasons:
"What are the Top 5 best Bibles?" I understand why you might want to know what my rankings are, but if I thought there was any point in Top 5s and Top 10s, believe me, I'd have already posted them. There are too many variables, and they keep changing. I'd have to revise the list constantly! I'm pretty clear on the site about what my general likes and dislikes are. At the same time, I try not to dismiss something out of hand for not living up to my ideal. If you read the site long enough, you can probably create your own rankings, and that will be more useful to you than anything I can provide.
3b. Book Hunting
"Where can I buy vintage and out-of-print editions?" I've written all I have to say about the subject here.
3c. Translation debates
Some people think I write about too many different translations. Others think I write about too few. I'm in the latter camp, always hoping to expand my scope, since nobody has a monopoly on innovation. I do have my biases, however, and rather than boring you with the whys and wherefores, I've decided to keep relatively silent on this hot topic.
3d. KJV Onlyism
Since I'm a fan of the KJV, people often wonder what I think about KJV Onlyism. I think it's a shame, and could be rectified if publishers started to include "The Translators to the Reader" in new editions of the KJV (assuming people read it, that is). Having said this, I try to avoid the acrimony, and sometimes that means overlooking some of the options offered by people who advocate strongly for this error. I'm sorry, but it's a matter of conscience. That's all I can say.
3e. Theological debates
The same goes for theological debates in general. As much as I love them, that's not what Bible Design Blog is about. If you're curious, I'm a "confessional" Presbyterian, meaning I believe the doctrine of Scripture is accurately summarized in the ecumenical creeds and the Reformed confessions/catechisms. I'm catholic in scope, seeing continuity in church thought from the beginning to the present day, and not above being influenced by (and borrowing from) other traditions where they make useful contributions. One of the things I'm grateful for is that Bible Design Blog has introduced me to a wide spectrum of people from all over the church, giving me new respect for many traditions I'd previously been unaware of or dismissed out of hand. Having said that, I'm right and you're wrong. (Just kidding.)
So, if you've read this far...
You must be serious about your question. The reason I share these things isn't to discourage you from asking -- far from it. I just want to explain in advance why it might take me awhile to respond, or why you might never hear back from me. That way, when I'm feeling guilty about the unanswered e-mails in my inbox, I can tell myself, "Hey, I did warn them!"
By the way, if you're getting in touch to thank me for the site, or to share some good news that's resulted from reading it, please, please do. Even if I don't reply, I read everything I get, and I appreciate hearing how Bible Design Blog has made a difference.
Now, if you've persevered through all this, you've earned it. By all means send me an e-mail.