Brian Vos, Baker Publishing Group, graciously provided me with various editions of the Large Print God’s Word translation: 1) Leather-like, 2) Hardbound, 3) Paperback, and 4) Children’s Edition. The size of each is good (5 ⅞” x 8 ½” x 1 ¾” ), but the thickness raises questions about long term wear and tear. I will comment on each edition below; this is not an evaluation of the translation itself.
First a couple of general points common to all editions. One minor error in the text occurred in all editions. In Galatians 1:5, the word “Amen” at the end of the sentence has no space between it and the preceding exclamation point (see image)
. The font size (12.5 point) is an appropriate size for large print, and I found even without my glasses that it was not a major strain to read. Despite the thin pages, I found the ink bleed-through not excessive, so it didn’t distract when reading. I found it interesting that on the cover (or box cover for leather-like) the words “Giant Print” are at least twice the size of the words “Holy Bible” (see image)
My expectation would have been for the reverse. But I realize this might relate to the overall design, and Gold on Black stands out more, so Holy Bible is still emphasized. The larger print on the spine of the editions seemed appropriate (see image).
1) Leather-like Edition:
The one I received had bad binding; even without opening the Bible at all, just from shipping, the text had come loose from the binding see image).
I notified Brian, who sent another copy. Unfortunately, this also has a problem with the binding. As I opened the Bible just a few inches in the middle, the binding began to separate (see image).
Wayne Leman also had the same problem with his copy. Wayne opined that the size of the bible itself probably would mean that the leather-like binding is not suited for such a project.
2) Hardback Edition:
This is by far the best of all the editions. The binding is solid, it feels right when picking it up. It lies open easily, which is surprising with such a large Bible. I have been using it for almost two weeks for every day reading; it works well for that purpose. I would readily give this as a gift for someone who needs large print.
My expectation had been that given its thickness, this would be the first to fail. So far with minimal use, it looks to be a good edition with solid binding. Although not as easily laid open (at the front of the Bible and near the back) as the hardback edition, it does work well with a little persuasion. Based on this preliminary look, I would also consider giving this as a gift Bible for someone needing a large print Bible.
4) Children’s Edition:
I was disappointed in this edition. The quality of the book itself is excellent, and the binding matches the hardback edition. The quality of the illustrations especially with colors and light was excellent. It may be me, but cartoon-like figures don’t work as well as life-like drawings for Biblical illustrations. I think it was a good idea that the Scripture text was on the back of the picture; and that becomes really important in light of the placement of the pictures, which can be termed haphazard (as a reader). Aside from the parting of the Red Sea placed in Exodus 14-15, the others have no bearing to the surrounding text.
- Destruction of Jericho – placed in Joshua 20 (expected in Joshua 6)
- David and Goliath – placed in 1 Samuel 3 (expected in 1 Samuel 17)
- Lord comes to temple – placed in 2 Chronicles 2 (expected in 2 Chronicles 5)
- Nehemiah – placed in Esther (expected in Nehemiah)
- Esther brings her request to the King – placed in Job 8 (expected in Esther)
- Jonah – placed in Amos 9 (expected in Jonah)
- Angels announce birth to shepherds – placed in Luke 8 (expected in Luke 2)
- Jesus blesses children – placed in John 8/9 (expected in Mark 10)
- Timothy Teaching – placed between 1 Thes. 5 and 2 Thes. 1 (expected in 1 Timothy 4)
Now, I realize that incorporating color pictures into books has some limitations (balance, binding, etc.). But with only ten pictures total, it seems not worth the effort to include them at all.
My suggestion for the Children’s Bible is to take selected readings from the Bible, then incorporate a picture/drawing for each story (with color pics back-to-back). That way the reader could have the text and the corresponding picture on the facing page, for every story. Having used children’s Bibles for the past 35 years with two generations of my own, this approach works well because the child sees the picture and wants the reader to read the story. And as the child learns to read, she can follow the same pattern. This would also make the size much handier for children. The current size might discourage a child from reading or even pulling it off the shelf.
I think this set of editions of GW is a step in the right direction. My recommendation would be to seriously re-consider the leather-like edition. Unless the binding can be perfected, it seems like a losing proposition. Also, I think the current approach to a children’s Bible does not really fit that niche. The one thing that might improve the Hardback and paperback editions is to include maps at the back. These would not have to be color, but black and white, to cover the major eras of the Biblical story.
I am excited that Baker is taking on the publishing of GW. The hardback and paperback editions of the Large Print Bible are well done and should be successful. As Baker explores these avenues I think the market for GW will increase. If that process causes more people to read the Bible, then we all rejoice.