The 1611 KJV edition is not a true facsimile edition. It is a modern printing of a 19th century typeset that changed the font from Gothic to Roman. It is still in early Modern English. Here is what Hendrickson has to say about it on their product information page,
“For 400 years, the Authorized Version of the Bible—popularly known as the King James Version—has been beloved for its majestic phrasing and stately cadences. No other book has so profoundly influenced our language and our theology. Over time, however, the text has suffered subtle and occasionally troublesome alterations. This edition preserves the original 1611 printing. Word for word and page for page, the text with its original marginal notes, preface, and other introductory material appears as it first did. The sole concession to modernity is a far more readable roman typeface set by nineteenth-century master printers.
“A valuable and essential addition to every Bible library.”
—John R. Kohlenberger III”
Here is a list of features from their page as well,
• Original preface and translators’ notes
• Alfred Pollard’s classic essay on pre-1611 English translations and the history of the Authorized Version
• New essays on the enduring impact of the KJV and the Apocrypha
• Handsome page design with decorative initials
• Page-edge gilding and ribbon marker (genuine leather only)
• Clear type is convenient to read and reference
• Special logo on book spine and packaging commemorates the 400th Anniversary
• Includes the Apocrypha”
I was curious about the quality of the leather when I requested this Bible for review. I wondered what they were going to use. I was also curious about how and where they would have it printed and bound. I thought, “Perhaps because this is an anniversary edition they will give it special treatment? Surely for the steep price it has to be better built than some of the lesser Bibles I’ve seen recently.” Well, I was let down. When I opened the cardboard shipping box I was presented with a nice looking retail box.
I was hopeful it contained something well done. I opened the retail box hoping to smell leather. Nope! No pleasing leather aroma. That is not to say that the cover is not genuine leather. It most likely is. Hendrickson says that it is. That being the case, the only way they can consider it genuine leather is if it is pigskin leather. Pigskin leather is the cheapest, stiffest, thinnest, leather you can get. Any cheaper and they would be using bonded leather or synthetic covers. The leather covers hardback book boards. There is a nice looking cross decoration on the front cover. It is not tooled leather.
The next thing that struck me was the excessively wavy page edges. It looks as if when the text block was trimmed they used a dull blade or when they were finishing the text block they had a machine problem. I don’t know for sure. I have also noticed a reviewer on a large retail site had the same problem.
After noticing these two very big disappointments, I concluded that this must have been made in China. I opened it up. I looked for the publisher information page and confirmed my suspicions.
I really hope the publishers of Bibles realize they are dealing with God’s word, not just a retail product.
Those were the two biggest gripes I had about this Bible as far as obvious design and construction goes. I can’t criticize the typeset or layout as it is dictated by the 19th century typeset they chose to utilize. I know some have complained the font to be small. It is a bit on the small side, but overall, not bad.
If you aren’t familiar with it, don’t feel bad. Most people have no idea what it is. It is a collection of non-canonical books the early Church used might have used (kind of like how we use other books in our studies) We don’t use them, because they aren’t inspired. If you are looking for a modern paragraph format Bible with side column references, then buy a modern Bible… That should go without saying. Alas, people are very indiscriminate when shopping sometimes. They can also be woefully ignorant about what they are buying. That is one of the main reasons I write these reviews. I hope to help shoppers find the perfect Bible for them. Then they can go out and purchase confidently without apprehension.
The binding is sewn, giving it the ability to open flat and stay that way while reading it. The page edges were gilt, even if they were warped like a Ruffle’s potato chip. The ribbon markers were decent.
There are decorative head and tail bands. The print seemed consistent, even if it smudged a little. I love some of the Books and Bibles Hendrickson publishes, but this one doesn’t make the cut. If this Bible were only available at the suggested retail price I wouldn’t buy it, but you can pick it up online around the fifty dollar range. In my opinion, even fifty dollars is thirty dollars too much.
To see all the pics make sure to check out my flickr album of this Bible.
KJV Bible–1611 Edition: Genuine Leather, Black
Size: 5.25 x 8.25 inches; 8-pt type