It’s been a while since I have done a bible review. The good folks over at Crossway sent me one of their new Heirloom Thinline editions in blue goatskin.
One of the things you need to know about this bible is that the previous run of these editions were done by Jongbloed (pronounced young-blood) in the Netherlands. Their bibles have consistently been the best in quality. However, they were very expensive in comparison to those produced in China and elsewhere.
Crossway now does all (to the best of my knowledge) of their premium bibles in China. That’s what made this bible so interesting for me to review.
The cover is a nice blue goatskin. If I had never held a premium bible before, I’d say this is the best thing since sliced bread (trust me, I love me some bread!). The cover is soft and it feels like it moves well under my hands as I hold the bible open.
Additionally, this bible is edge-lined with a blue calfskin as well. It comes with the elegant touch of a gold guilt outlining the perimeter. The endsheets are blue and match everything else. It’s a very subtle look and I really like that.
I was worried that the blue was going to be too “out-there.” Some of that is my own personality. I don’t like a ton of flash personally. But this blue is a very dark blue as you can tell with the cover compared with a black bonded leather thinline.
For me, paper quality is the most important thing in a bible. The tissue thin paper often makes bibles harder to read and full of distractions.
That being said, the paper is great…
… if you are comparing it to your normal bibles you can get at the local bookstore.
But compared to the Jongbloed editions, the paper falls flat. I miss the soft texture and smoothness of the Netherlands’ paper.
Something else to be noted, the paper is a heavier weight than what Crossway printed on for their heirloom editions. This results in a thicker thinline, however, not by much. And the heavier weight paper eliminates some of the ghosting (show-through) that one would experience.
Finally, the paper is a nice white. There aren’t many cream tones in it and it’s not blue either. Zondervan’s premium editions have tended more towards the blue side of the white spectrum while Jongbloed’s tended more towards cream. I find this shade of white to be really nice on the eyes.
One issue that I have had with a number of China printed bible is that the pages can be miss cut and sewn in so that the printed page appears crooked. I have one picture shown here just as an example. This is such a first world issue, but it’s a distracting one and if you’re going to pay $100+ for a nice bible you’d like to have long-term, you really want something that you know you can purchase with confidence. Crossway needs to figure out a solution to product inspection.
This really is a great bible. I think that if it wasn’t for the one issue I found in my copy. It’s not the previous quality of the Netherlands’ printer and bindery. So as long as you tailor your personal expectations to that, then you’ll be very happy with this edition!
Crossway provided this bible for free provided that I supplied an honest review.