The TNIV Reference Bible has landed

tnivref.jpgRick reported yesterday that his “sneak preview” copy of the final TNIV Reference Bible had arrived and that he would review it shortly. Evidently he meant that he was going to hit the “Publish” button shortly, as his TNIV Reference Bible: Hands-on Review has now been posted on This Lamp. It’s well worth reading all of Rick’s review, but here, to sum it up, is his conclusion:

In the final analysis, the TNIVRB is the edition of the TNIV I wish I had been using from the very beginning. Nevertheless, late is better than never. Everything about it says this is a quality product, and while it isn’t everything I finally want in an edition of the TNIV (I’m still holding out for wide margins), it will replace my TNIV Study Bible as my public TNIV of choice. I know a lot of people have been waiting for this Bible, and I’m glad to say that there are no final “gotchas.” The TNIVRB is everything it was promised to be. I can readily recommend it to anyone wanting a regular reference edition of the TNIV, and it will be the edition that will receive the majority of my use.

The TNIV Reference Bible is an important step for IBS/Zondervan and hopefully represents the first of many new “serious” TNIV titles. I didn’t care for the layout aesthetics of the TNIV Study Bible and have previously expressed some reservations about this new title, but am glad to see the publishing folks producing a more restrained product with welcome touches like single-column text and black letter ink throughout.

To make what appears to be a very good Bible even better, I would recommend the following:

  • Change the primary font face. The TNIV has been printed using a font face called “New Age“, which is a semi-serif font. Never mind the horrible name for a font used in a Bible. I don’t particularly care for the font style, but it hasn’t been a huge issue in the text editions I’ve used. However, now set in close contrast to the sans-serif cross reference notes, the page needs greater visual differentiation between text and notes. A full serif font would help accomplish that (for related comments, see this post).
  • Move the cross references to the inside margin, while still providing enough space that they don’t get lost in the binding. Let the text be the focus of the open page and not framed in by the dense notes.
  • Move the notes to the inside margin and I could be persuaded to keep that vertical ruled line between the text and notes. As is, it’s distracting and makes the page look even smaller. It didn’t work for the ESV Single-Column Reference Bible and it doesn’t work here. I understand that vertical lines are useful when used with center-column reference notes between text columns, but it’s superfluous when there are only two content columns on the page.
  • Fully vertical justify the notes so that that they span the height of the page. Ideally the notes are lined up to the verse they go with. Having them bunched up in the vertical center of the page makes the page look denser, with less white space.
  • Of course… provide a wider outside margin for handwritten notes. This only works if you move the cross-reference notes to the inside; otherwise, the references act as a wall between the text and my notes.

According to Christianbook.com, the TNIV Reference Bible will be available to the general public in early January, so save up your Christmas pennies!

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5 Comments

  1. Posted December 11, 2007 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    Your bullets 2, 3, and 5 were the exact same ones I made to Zondervan in 2006. I even used Adobe Illustrator to move elements of the PDF page around and “create” the Bible the way I thought it should be. However, my hunch is that the layout was already set. They were really just asking about preferences between single and double columns anyway. None of my initial suggestions were taken, although there are some minor differences in the final product from the initial proofs such as placement of page numbers (originally in the top center).

  2. Posted December 11, 2007 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    Interesting that your first suggestion for change is to change the primary font. I just showed the Bible to a friend of mine and the first thing he said was “I don’t like the font.” But he did like the Bible overall. The font itself doesn’t bother me, but I wouldn’t mind if it was a point size larger.

    Most modern typefaces used in Bibles are designed to take up less space so that fewer pages are required. Almost always this is at the expense of readability. This consumer wishes we could go back to the more readable fonts, even if they take up another 100 pages or so. I wish we could have both rather than simply one choice.

  3. Jesus Saenz
    Posted December 11, 2007 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

    Although not my translation of choice, I have been looking for a TNIV to drop into my Bible quiver. I may just wait for this edition to be made available.

  4. Posted December 11, 2007 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

    Rick wrote:

    However, my hunch is that the layout was already set. They were really just asking about preferences between single and double columns anyway. None of my initial suggestions were taken […]

    Hopefully if they ever decide to do a wide-margin edition, they’ll revisit some of these preferences and suggestions. It’ll be interesting to do a hands-on comparison of the TNIVRB with the Single-Column Reference NASB from Foundation; I have a suspicion that Zondervan could tighten the text column by a half-inch or maybe even an inch without significantly impacting the page count, but I’ll have to wait to see.

    The font itself doesn’t bother me, but I wouldn’t mind if it was a point size larger. […] This consumer wishes we could go back to the more readable fonts, even if they take up another 100 pages or so. I wish we could have both rather than simply one choice.

    I didn’t mind the font in the text-only editions, but it looks indistinct set against the notes. Going a point larger might also make a slight improvement to the density of the reference notes, as presumably there would be fewer verses on each page.

  5. Posted December 11, 2007 at 11:38 PM | Permalink

    Jesus wrote:

    I have been looking for a TNIV to drop into my Bible quiver. I may just wait for this edition to be made available.

    Probably a good choice; from what I can tell, a lot of people have been waiting for this “traditional” TNIV edition rather than pick up one of the flashy slimlines.