Alright folks, with the recent release of the ESV 6 volume Reader’s set, I thought you might like to read a review about this Reader’s edition of the Gospels. It would be a less expensive way for you to see if you want to shell out the bucks for the entire 6 volume set. Maybe you don’t want the entire set, just the gospels? Whatever the case may be, I offer this review up for your information and pleasure.
The Reader’s edition is an interesting concept. There are no chapter or verse numbers. There are no cross references or footnotes. The paragraph format is done according to where new paragraphs would start in English. The books are typically arranged other than that. The only way to tell where you are in a book, is by using the index in the back in conjunction with the page numbers. All of this is to accomplish the mission of a reader’s edition, to remove obstacles or impediments for the reader.
I find that as I read, I lose track of my progress. I tend to read more in this volume. Some of it is due to the lack of chapter and verse numbers, as well as the lack of cross references and footnotes. While some of the other design and layout features contribute to it as well. For instance, Crossway utilized a high quality, cream colored, uncoated, heavyweight paper more commonly seen in hardback novels. It is 80 g.s.m. and you can hardly see through it at all. The font is 12 pt. in size. It is sharp and clear. It is laid out in a single column. This edition is truly meant to be read through like a book. There is nothing in between you and the text. I could go on and list all of the cool features of this edition, and I will, but I want to make sure you understand what the point is. Reading and experiencing the gospels in a more fluid and retainable way was the goal, and Crossway achieved it. Bonus is that there is no eyestrain, or headache after a long reading session.
So now that you know how accessible this makes the gospel, let’s look at some pictures and hear about some features of the construction.
The Bible was shipped from Crossway, and well packaged. It arrived undamaged.
This volume comes in a nice heavy slipcase. It is intended to be kept, and used for storing this volume in when not being used.
Once it is out of the box, the first thing you’ll notice is how soft the topgrain leather is. If you don’t like leather over board, or if you want a Reader’s edition with a smaller price tag while retaining the same text block, you could get it with cloth over board.
Legatoria Editoriale Giovanni Olivotto or L.E.G.O. for short did a wonderful job printing and binding this book. They are gaining some serious notoriety amongst quality book and Bible collectors here in the states. Jongbloed in the Netherlands might have some competition in text block production if they don’t watch out 🙂
Here is a good close up of the cover.
You’ll notice the page edges are not gilt. There are decorative head and tail bands in gold and black. The spine has, “The Gospels” at the head, the ESV logo below that, “English Standard Version” after that, and the Crossway logo at the foot in gold. There are also four ornamental spine hubs.
Here is a picture of the inside of this casebound hardcover.
The book names, headings, and drop caps are printed in an appealing red text.
I took a picture of one page, separate from the others, and with light behind it so you could see how thick and opaque it is. I’d never heard of Munken Premium Cream woodfree paper before, but after seeing it I’m sold.
Here is another picture of the wonderful paper, 12 pt. font, and the crimson colored ribbon marker.
From this picture you can also see the fat signatures with the ribbon laying on top of the page.
Of course, like you’d expect on a high quality book, the spine is sewn. This ensures a durable, and useable binding.
Of course my favorite picture is the one where I am reading it.
After reading from this edition, I am eager to purchase the 6 volume set. I will probably get the cloth over board due to the price. I am looking at getting the new Schuyler Personal NASB Quentel when it comes out this year, so I have to save my money 🙂 That way I can get both. I would highly recommend getting this for anyone wanting to try a reader’s edition out. It is one thing to know the concept, but another to live with it for a while. Make sure to look at the rest of the pictures I took of this edition on my flikr page. You can also read about more of the details on Crossway’s product page. You can purchase your copy at Christianbook or Amazon.