Hodder Faith publishes the NIV in the United Kingdom, and they were kind enough to send some copies for my review. The interesting thing about the Hodder line is that, while they focus on the popular market rather than on fine bindings, the thoughtfulness and attention to detail in their line demonstrates something I’ve always argued: that quality shouldn’t be a luxury. Every edition in the Hodder line is sewn, from the paperbacks and hardbacks up to the soft-tone and bonded leathers. (For more photos of the line, check out their Facebook album here.) European printing is done at LEGO in Italy via hot offset printing rather than the cold offset they used to do in the UK. As director of publishing Ian Metcalfe explains: “Cold offset means the ink will dry without needing to be heated, which can leave the text looking grey and even rubbing off on the hand if not don’t just right. It means the paper has to be more absorbent, too, which can make ghosting worse.” The hot offset process gives a darker imprint and allows the use of less absorbent papers. The designers also seek to minimize ghosting through line-matching.
The two hardcover editions I received are excellent. They both open flat and feature attractive layouts. In fact, the layout may look familiar. It’s the same text setting found in R. L. Allan bindings of the NIV. The interior typesetting is by Blue Heron Bookcraft here in the States, and as I’ve noted before, I’m a fan. If you have to use a two-column layout, this is a great one to choose. The four Bibles pictured here, the two hardcovers and the two compacts, all use the Blue Heron layout, though only the gold hardcover (the Deluxe Edition) uses the version with cross references. They all include reading plans and beautifully designed concordance.
My favorite here is the Deluxe Edition, which includes two ribbons and is set in highly readable 10 pt. type. I’m also impressed with the understated elegance of the navy blue bonded leather Thinline.
One thing I really must point out: both the Thinline and the hot pink Pocket Bible are packaged in slipcases, a feature I wish would catch on with Bible publishers in general. Unlike other packaging, which serves little purpose and is quickly discarded, a slipcase continues to be useful throughout the life of the Bible as a handy means of storing the book on a shelf when not in use. It makes so much more sense than a box, no matter how nice that box is!
Flipping through the Hodder Faith catalog, I spotted several more editions that caught my interest, including the NIV Clear Print Bible (in flipback format) and the NIV Grey Pocket Notebook Bible with a Moleskine-style strap and interior pocket.
If you’re using the 2011 NIV, Hodder Faith offers a variety of quality popular editions worth your attention. Even if you’re planning to pick up one of the beautiful Allan bindings of these text settings, a hardcover backup isn’t a bad thing to have!