THE CASHMERE OF BIBLE COVERS
Due to the baleful influence of Mark Bertrand's Bible Design & Binding blog I was introduced to the existence of R.L. Allan Bibles from Scotland. Now, I had lived my life in bliss without knowing about Allan's, but can happiness be complete without a Bible bound in tan highland goatskin? No reasonable person could argue 'no'.
Allan takes sewn text blocks and then gives them luxurious bindings in leathers of the highest quality. Since my recent conversion to using the English Standard Version (ESV) I, of course, needed (yes, I did) to acquire some actual copies for pulpit, office and home (yes, I did). So I placed my order for the then upcoming R.L. Allan ESV from EvangelicalBible.com (a recommended source) and waited. Then waited. And waited some more. Hey, it's tough to catch those goats in the Highlands!
Yesterday, the awaited tome appeared on my doorstep. It was, as they say, worth the wait. The leather is incredibly soft. Incredibly soft. It doesn't feel delicate, though. The Bible flows in your hands, with almost no stiffness at all right out of the box. There is no problem with it opening flat, a testament (ha!) to both the sewn text, but also to the quality of the binding job. Without question, this is the nicest Bible I've ever owned.
Now for a couple of quibbles, which is all these are. Some raised bands on the spine would have pushed the cover into even further heights. The visual appeal of the text would have been increased with just the slightest bit of wider margins (not wide margins--I'm talking 1/8" here), particularly at the bottom of the page and in the gutter. Clearly, compactness is a premium here, so I understand that the margins are first to go. However, when you're putting highland goatskin around in, bumping up the margins can add just a little more luxury.
The print (or would that be binding?) runs on these are limited, so if you want one best to order quickly. There's also black (but who wants black when you can have tan?!). And worth considering as a 'budget' option is the new Cambridge ESV Pitt Minion, which also looks fantastic in the preview pictures.
Here are a few quick pictures of my Allan's that arrived yesterday.
R.L. Allan ESV in Tan Highland Goatskin
You can see the leather texture well here.