A couple of years ago, I posted a mock-up of what a single-column, paragraphed, referenced edition of the ESV Bible might look like. Today, there's no need for mock-ups because we have a preview of the real thing. At long last, Crossway has announced the Personal Size Reference Bible, which will be available in early 2008. I'm excited about this because for years now, I've been stumping for a hand-sized, paragraphed, single-column setting, and the Personal Size Reference is all those things. It measures 5" x 7.25", which makes it a little handier than the 5.5" x 8.5" of the Classic Reference and the Classic Thinline, but is a bit larger than the 3.75" x 5.75" of the Compact Thinline, which many people find a bit too small. The Compact Thinline has 6.2-pt. type, which makes it hard to read in lower light -- I sometimes have to bring mine up to my face to make out the words -- whereas the new Personal Size Reference has 7.4-pt. type. It appears to be set in Veritas, the new font introduced along with the Outreach Edition early last year, which is designed to be "readable at smaller sizes than some other fonts." (Update: My eyes deceived me on this one, as I'm reliably informed that the typeface is Stone Serif.)
A PDF of the first few chapters of Matthew is online so you can try out the Personal Size Reference for yourself.
In the past, Crossway has used successful layouts to create several different editions -- the Deluxe Reference is a "blown up" version of the Classic Reference, the Journaling Bible an enlarged Classic Thinline, etc. -- which means that the Personal Size Reference, if it catches on, may enjoy a similar influence. I'm thinking this setting would be splendid for a new Journaling Bible, for example, as it would add single-column layout and references on the one hand, and pick up a margin for notetaking on the other. Whatever the future holds, this is truly an exciting development and I am thrilled.