Tim, thanks for asking me to do a write up on my recent Ignatius RSV-2CE compact, bonded leather, NT & Psalms. After becoming a big fan of your blog, and Matt’s “Absolutely No Spin “ blog, I became familiar with what you and Matt have done with having Bibles, Breviaries, etc. rebound in high-end leather. Your site put me on to Leonard’s Bible Restoration. They are wonderful people. It is truly a “mom and pop” shop that does top notch work.
Review of the Ignatius RSV-2CE compact
My “trial run” was going to be an extra copy I have of the Ignatius RSV-2CE compact, bonded leather, NT & Psalms. Why? I had an extra, “new” copy and my other “well-loved” copy is my working/apologetics-pocket-Bible (well - NT/Psalms) copy. That copy well-loved copy was just too marked up to justify an expensive leather rebind (IMO – some would disagree I’m sure). Another reason I chose this Bible is the cost/quality ratio. I think this Bible is one of the best deals. You can pick it up, usually, for under $20. For being a “compact” Bible, the type is a typical size bible type size (10 pt?). It is very easy on the eyes. The paper is very good as well. No “ghosting” at all. Most ball-point ink note taking doesn’t show through too much. And I think the gilt edges are well done considering the price.
The drawback is that the cover is bonded leather. With that said, I do think the Ignatius bonded leather is very nice bonded leather. But it can only be so good and will always be a far cry from genuine. And it will simply not hold up long term to high usage. So that made the decision easy for choosing this particular Bible version to have rebound.
But mostly, I wanted a Bible with nothing extra on each page to distract me from Christ’s WORD. I LOVE Bibles. I love study Bibles, but they are definitely too distracting for me for devotional reading. Even traditional (non-study) Bibles have minor notes and cross references that send me into “research mode” while I am trying to just do devotional reading. THIS NT/Psalms has all the RSV notes as end-notes at the end of the Bible (which I dislike when I’m studying). So they are not there for distraction. Only the very very rare, critical, note has made it onto the page. There aren’t even any introductory notes to each Gospel/Epistle. Thank you, Ignatius Press. This Bible is refreshing for those of us that need to GET AWAY from a scholarly approach to the WORD.
My experience rebinding with Leonard’s
I can’t say enough for how nice and responsive Margie and the gang are at Leonard’s. They do it all by email. Margie helped me choose the Chocolate "Soft-tanned Goatskin" with spine ribbing added. I had seen a photo on the Leonard’s site I thought was perfect. And, for my first experience with Leonard’s, I wanted to go with something I could see.
I really like the “blind stamping” of HOLY BIBLE on the spine and my name on the front cover. Leaving the gold out give it a more natural look to me. And there is no gold to flake off over time. I also went with the same 3 color ribbons. One for the Gospel I’m in, one for Epistles, and one for the Psalms. Seemed like a lot of ribbons for only NT/Psalms, but aren’t we in three sections every day in Mass? One of the best spiritual direction advices I’ve received is “Stay close to the Gospel.” To me, that means (1) read the Gospel every day and (2) if you can, actually keep the Gospel close to your body…hence, the RSV compact which can easily fit in my back pocket!
I have sent Tim some pictures I took with my other copy of the RSV Compact for comparison (hope they help).
Cost: Getting anything rebound in really nice leather is expensive. As I commented on a post earlier, the cost for this rebind was $89.50 before the extras. Blind stamping ($10), 3 ribbons ($20 and shipping ($10), came to $111.50. Not inexpensive, but if these Bibles are the most precious “items” in our lives (as they are, whether we realize it or not), we should not flinch at spending the price of a somewhat-expensive sporting event ticket on them. If we compare the rebinding price to the price of a nice pair of work shoes, or sports-jacket, or a really nice dinner, or our overly addicting “smartphones”, we should have no problem spending the money. It’s God’s WORD, the one thing that binds us all. Not the shoes, the iphone, nor the sports ticket. (Sorry, I wasn’t asked to sermonize)
Some friends and I are having a full size Bible rebound by Leonard’s in black soft-tanned goatskin for our Pastor. And my family just sent off our grandmother’s Bible to Leonard’s. So I’m THAT impressed. I will share pictures.
Thank you to Corey for this wonderful review!