Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Having switched over to the ESV from the NASB as my default translation earlier in the year I figured, hey, I need new Bibles--right? Right. Work with me here. It happened along about that time that I became a regular reader of Mark Bertrand's fine (yet very, very dangerous) weblog Bible Design and Binding. It turned out to be a costly confluence of events. As a result I am now three ESV Bibles richer, yet much cash poorer.

Earlier, I reviewed my ESV from Allan in tan highland goatskin. Yesterday my Cambridge Pitt Minion in brown goatskin arrived. I've not had much time to spend with it, but here are some early impressions and pictures.

The first thing that jumps out is how small the Pitt Minion is. It's a palm sized Bible, and will be great for stuffing in a coat pocket or briefcase. I can see that this one will be used a lot when I need to grab a Bible and run. The text pages are a bit more refined in their design than the Allan's, a better balance of margins. The text also seems to pop out on the page better on the Pitt Minion, which is good since the type is relatively small.

Of course, Allan uses a pre-done text block so the real comparison between the two comes at the binding. The cover on the Pitt Minion has a nice feel, and the brown color is elegantly understated. But the feel of the leather is like night and day compared to the Allan's. While the Allan's is supple and buttery, the Pitt Minion has a slight roughness to it, the spine is tighter and the cover is stiffer out of the box. The Allan's has a leather backing to the cover while the Pitt Minion uses what appears to be vinyl. I think it comes down to the fact that as nice as the Pitt Minion is (and it is nice--don't get me wrong!), it still seems like a factory Bible while the Allan seems more handcrafted. Of course, you'll pay twice as much (or close to it) for the Allan.

But they are different Bibles for different purposes. And one shouldn't hold against the Pitt Minion what it is not. What it is is a very well executed Bible that is quite handsome, and likely will be more versatile for me than the Allan's is. I think with use and time much of the stiffness will work itself out as well. Perhaps I can check back in with it in a year. One last quibble: I'd love it if the Pitt Minion had two ribbon markers rather than one. Ribbon markers are so useful, and they have to be cheap to add.

Before the pictures, a dream Bible: Pitt Minion size in single-column format and bound by R.L. Allan in their tan goatskin with raised bands thrown in for good measure (and three ribbon markers, of course).

Back to reality, here is the Bible that is:

ESV Pitt Minion

ESV Pitt Minion

ESV Pitt Minion

ESV Pitt Minion text

Pitt Minion-R.L. Allan mini-stack:
Pitt Minion with Allan's

Pitt Minion with Allan's


Tony Miller said...

While my Pitt Minion ESV has not arrived yet I find I use my other editions the same way as you describe. My larger, nice Allans KJV and NIV are for use at home while the Pitt Minion edition of each is my grab and go model. The Pitt Minions are not nearly as nice but if bought selectively via Amazon or eBay cost a bit more than half of a new Allans so I still feel they are a great value.
I have the Allans ESV in tan now and the Cambridge in brown on the way.


Reed said...

Thanks for the post and the pictures. Those truly are beautiful Bibles.

I couldn't agree more with your "dream Bible." That really would be a dream. But until that dream is realized, I hope to settle (albeit with many compromises) with Crossway's Personal Size Reference (http://www.crossway.org/product/9781433502361). I love the price, text layout, size, and it's got a sewn binding so it should last for a while. It seems like a great compromise.

Rod Summers said...

Thanks for the great pictures. Mine is to be delivered this week. I, too, have moved from the NASB as a primary. I plan to use the Pitt Minion as my "on the go" and then use the Wide Margin coming out next year as a primary study Bible. The text pages are supposed to match between the two so that will be quite helpful. Since I gave Tom Kinzel that Allan's ESV it sounds like I don't need to give you any. You're in better shape than me. :)

Robert Lombardi said...

I also have the Pitt Minion Brown Goatskin and the Tan ESV1T. I would have to say that I think everything is better with the ESV1T. The cover more supple, leather lining, paper is thicker, the text print is cleaner and more pleasing to the eye. The layout I think is the same, except the Allan has the book introductions too.

The Pitt Minion might have a little extra margin, but I think the beauty of the Allan red under gold edges frames the text block much better than the Cambridge red under gold. The Cambridge red under gold looks sloppier and like a faded red rather than the solid red found on the Allan.

But at half the price of an Allan and with a very handy tuck and go format, I think I'll be tucking this Pitt Minion into my office bag and bringing it daily to the workplace.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the cross-reference column in the Pitt Minion ESV is wider than those of the other Pitt Minion versions. It makes the scripture text too cramped and narrow for my taste.

Lawrence Underwood said...

Good review, Alan. The Cambridge, if it is like any of mine will become seductively loose in the future.

BTW, small world. We 'met' on the Fedora Lounge.

Tony Weaver said...

Thanks for the photos. I have been looking at both Bibles and have wondered about the size differential. I have the dimensions but there is no substitute for a picture. I'm going with the Pitt Minion ESV due to the size and the price. Maybe one day I can spring for the Allans ESV1