Review of the Zondervan NASB Classic Reference Bible in Black Genuine Top Grain Leather ISBN-13:9780310931294

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I had to buy this one folks because Zondervan doesn’t send me free ones.  I hope you appreciate it. 🙂   I was looking for an Ultrathin to replace my black Lockman NASB in genuine leather.  I came across this one from Zondervan.  Now, it is not marketed as an Ultrathin, but it is almost exactly the same dimensions as my Lockman.  The Lockman I reviewed here is burgundy, but it is the same as my black one that I kept in my lunchbox for a few years until I wore it out.  I really loved the size, layout, cover material, binding, and of course the NASB translation, but it had thin paper.  I was hoping that I would love this Zondervan as well, but there are a couple of areas where it falls down.  First, the cover material is advertised as, “top grain leather.”  It may be top grain leather, but not from a cow.  I don’t know, but it looks and feels like the cheap pigskin leather marketed as, “genuine leather” on less expensive Bibles.  Pigskin leather is shiny, and usually has a grain stamped into it.  The binding tape they used for this Bible also fights against you.  It should loosen up a bit as it gets broken in.  Combine that with the cover material, and it is kind of a let down considering the price.  It is also not as supple, or flexible as top grain cowhide leather.  I really like Vachetta calfskin leather.  It is so soft to the touch, it makes you want to pick up and hold your Bible.  Here is a review I did of a Cambridge Cameo in Vachetta.  The Zondervan borders on false advertising, and relies on the consumer’s ignorance, as well as a lack of industry standards.

The Zondervan does have a sewn spine.
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This is a necessity as far as I’m concerned.  I won’t purchase Bibles with glued bindings.  I think we should respect that we aren’t purchasing just some book.  We are purchasing a copy of God’s word, to be studied and daily utilized.  The amount of wear and tear daily use, along with travel, will cause is incomparable to a novel.  So why in the world would publishers think it acceptable to print Bibles as if they are some story book?  Well, we all know the answer to that, money $$$.

While this Bible isn’t extremely expensive.  The cover is made from a genuine hide of some kind.

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I have had this Bible for a little while now.  The cover is softening up a bit.  The binding is also getting broken in.   It lays flat now when I put it on the table to read from it.
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There is a presentation page in the front.
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The standard notes from Lockman about the NASB translation are present as well.    This Bible is printed in China according to the publisher’s information in the front.
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The page edges are gold gilt, with rounded corners and a rounded spine.  The pages are printed well.  It would be a bit better if they had utilized a bolder font.  As it is, the text is clearly printed and uniform.
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It is laid out in a double column, verse format, with center column references, and footnotes.  There are pilcrows, or paragraph markers noting the start of new paragraphs.  This is a helpful feature when you are using a verse format Bible like this one.
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The paper is acceptably opaque.  Ghosting is not bad considering this is a less expensive Bible.  The ghosting on this Zondervan is not near as bad as it is on the Lockman.  So in that category it is a win for the Zondervan.
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The Zondervan is on the right, with the Lockman on the left.

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The words of Christ are in red, making this a red letter edition.  The red is not too bright.
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The Lockman is lacking something this Zondervan has, brief book introductions.  They might not seem that important, but they are a welcomed addition to any reference Bible. You get an introduction and concise outline. The introduction consists of, title and background, author and date of writing, and the theme and message.
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This Bible also includes decorative head and tail bands, decorative gilt line around the perimeter of the inside cover, a perimeter groove on the outside cover, and one black ribbon marker.
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In the back of the Bible we have a useful double column concordance, Promises from the Bible, Perspectives from the Bible, and 8 color maps.

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Overall, this is a great little Bible. If you are after a verse format, ultrathin reference Bible in NASB with a leather cover, this has got you covered. There are more expensive Bibles. There are better built Bibles, but this one is in the sweet spot. It is better than your regular cheap bargain bin Bibles, and better than the value line Bibles. This would make a great gift for the Christian on the go, who wants a full reference Bible in a thin package. You can pick one up on Amazon.com, or Christianbook.com  You can read more about it on Zondervan’s product page.  If you would like, go to my flickr page and look at all the pictures of this Bible.  As always, thanks for reading and have a great Christmas.

Review of the Crossway ESV UltraThin in Black Top Grain Cowhide Leather.

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I purchased this Bible on sale from Christianbook.com  I was curious because it was listed as having a top grain leather cover.  I was glad I ordered it.  It turns out that it is now out of print.  So if you can find one, I suggest you purchase it.  I was pleasantly surprised by this less than a half inch thick little gem.  This UltraThin came in a clamshell retail box with a clear plastic window.  I retained the box for storage purposes.  Once you open the box up you smell the leather and not glue or dye.  The leather was very supple and soft to the touch.  The grain appears to be natural.  There is a nice perimeter groove and spine hubs.

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The hubs add to the ornamentation along with the gold letters stamped into it.  From the top of the spine down it reads, “Holy Bible, ESV, the ESV logo, English Standard Version, Then the Crossway logo.”

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The spine is sewn affording this very thin Bible with great flexibility for a paste down, case bound Bible.  In my opinion the cover offers a perfect compromise of flexibility, and structure.

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The head and tail bands are gold and black, complementing the color of the cover, and the gold page edge gilt.  There are two ribbon markers, even though the retail site only lists one.  The ribbon markers are narrow, but thicker than most employed in Bibles under $100.

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In the front of the Bible there is a presentation, marriages, births/adoptions, and deaths pages.  They are printed on a thicker matte finish paper that takes ink well.  Unlike higher gloss papers, these won’t crack or tear as easily.

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Then there is the copyright/publishers page.  Before Genesis begins the Old Testament we have the table of contents, preface, and explanation of features. DSCN5539

 

The text of this Bible is double column, paragraph format.  This is a red letter edition.  The red lettering is not too red or too light.  It contrasts well against the white paper and surrounding black text.  The main text is a 7.5 pt. lexicon font.  Line matching is employed to aid in reduction of, “ghosting” or the appearance of the text from the opposite side of the page showing through the paper due to the opacity allowing it.

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The paper’s opacity is pretty good considering how thin this Bible is.  At just under a half inch, it is one of the thinnest UltraThins I’ve seen.  I had assumed that they used a thinner paper.  That was not the case.  The paper is 31 g.s.m. 20# Thincoat Max.  This is not a thin or lightweight paper.  It looks like they made up for the thickness of the paper by not having any cross references.  There are some footnotes at the bottom of the pages.  This way they could fit the entire text into this UltraThin.

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So we have a nice, legible, well printed, and bound Bible in this truly UltraThin format.  It is also so soft and flexible due to the quality binding and cover, that I can fold it over itself.  It is almost as flexible as an edge-lined Bible. DSCN5688

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At the end there is a weights and measures page, and an abbreviations page.  A three column concise concordance follows.  Finished off with eight maps in color.  DSCN5550

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Make sure to check out the pictures I took of this Bible on my Flickr page here.  You can still purchase these on Amazon until they run out.  Then you’ll have to get them used. ISBN-13: 9781433538834 DSCN5524