In 2014, Adam Lewis Greene launched a Kickstarter to raise money for a new publishing project. He wanted to create a Bible free of distracting verse numbers, footnotes, and study sidebars–a Bible designed to be read for pure literary enjoyment.
The initial goal was to raise $37,000 but, as it turns out, people really wanted a beautiful reader’s Bible because it ended up raising more than thirty-seven times that amount–a staggering $1.4 million. Of the 14,884 backers, I was number 8,394.
When I first discovered Bibliotheca, I was excited but a little skeptical of the whole Kickstarter thing. I hemmed and hawed over whether to spend $75 on yet another Bible (I already have three–an ESV Thinline, ESV Study Bible, and the NIV Ragamuffin Bible, which I received for review a few years ago). Eventually, my
love obsession with book design won out and I signed up as a backer.
A reader’s Bible is very different from other types of Bibles. It usually divides the text into multiple volumes to reduce weight and bulkiness. As I mentioned before, it also removes all chapter and verse divisions, study references, and other distractions.
The attention to detail and quality of Bibliotheca is unique among reader’s Bibles. Greene designed a new typeface for Bibliotheca and optimized the type size, line length, leading, and margins for easy reading. The page proportion and text block are based on the dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant as specified in Exodus. Later on, when it was apparent the budget would be much bigger than expected, Greene commissioned a team of editors and translators to produce an entirely new translation based on the ASV (American Standard Version).Bibliotheca Is the Most Beautiful Reader's Bible EverClick To Tweet
The bookbinding is what really captured my attention. The book was crafted using natural materials, something that is very important to me. The binding is sewn and the paper is stone-based and wood-free. The book is designed to lay flat when opened, so you can read hands-free.
The minimalistic design was one of the primary draws for me. Take the much touted ESV Reader’s Bible, which was recently released and has many of the same features as Bibliotheca. By comparison, the spine of the cloth edition is quite ornate. I much prefer Bibliotheca’s clean and unobtrusive lines. (Also, the cloth edition of the ESV reader’s Bible–which does not include the Apocrypha–is a whopping $199.99. Bibliotheca was an absolute steal by comparison.)
Also, consider the gorgeous ombre design of this set. This was one of the main selling points for me. Other reader’s Bibles are too monotone. I also like the symbolism of moving from dark to light.
The original delivery estimate for Bibliotheca was fall or winter 2014. Yes, I had to wait two-and-a-half years to hold this thing in my hands, but it was totally worth it.
If you’re insanely jealous of me for owning this piece of literary art, don’t worry. You can still purchase Bibliotheca. You can even opt to receive a ridiculously expensive walnut slipcase to go with it if you are so inclined. Unfortunately, you can no longer get the Kickstarter price. The complete five-volume set is currently $179. Still, that’s cheaper than the ESV and, in my opinion, a lot nicer.
What do you think of Bibliotheca? How do you think it stacks up against other reader’s Bibles?