Rick 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!