Imagine my delight when the parsonage doorbell rang. My mind told me a certain package from Baker Publishing Group was due to arrive at the beginning of the week, and, sure enough, it did. My Cambridge RCD 287 was being replaced by an upgrade – the RCD 283 Presentation Bible. The UPS driver dropped off some Sunday School literature, too. Two packages with one ring is always a good bargain, it seems.
In a previous episode, I presented a short, and obviously unprofessional review of a Cambridge RCD 287 Presentation Bible in burgundy calfskin. On the whole, I really liked that Bible, but there were just too many shortcomings for me to hang on to it. Apparently, quality was not top priority at Cambridge University Press at the time my Bible was published. A company that has been around as long as that fine establishment should be more meticulous about quality and company image, IMHO.
Upon opening the package, I was greeted with the new box Cambridge now uses. If you have read my post regarding my Cambridge text-only Bible, you understand my dislike of the new boxes; it’s a minor point, though. My preference is for the older King’s College slipcase boxes.
One thing that was immediately apparent has to do with the gold imprint on the spine and front cover. On the RCD 287, the imprint was significantly marred and blurry; on my replacement it is sharp and crisp. That’s certainly a nice improvement. I’m thinking quality control has begun waking up, and more pleasant surprises are on the way.
Here’s what’s on the box: KJV – Presentation Reference Bible with Concordance and Dictionary Black French Morocco KJ673:XRI
- red-letter text
- India paper
- presentation page
- family record
- pronunciation marks
- Translator’s preface
- 16 pages of maps
- two ribbon markers
- gold edges
This Bible seems to be put together better than the one it replaced. The lining looks good, and, just like before, seems to be attached to the leather binding quite well. There is some left over glue just above the head and tail bands, but that is easily remedied with some rubbing. Not a big deal there at all. I do see some thread sticking out; again, it’s only minor.
The text in this Bible seems to be much sharper than the RCD 287, and looks bolder, too. Keep in mind, I’ve only had the Bible in my hands a few times for a in order to get a general feel for quality. Looks good so for. From the “published by” page: Typeset in Antique Old Style No 3, 10/11pt. Produced by Cambridge University Press. Printed in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Bound in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge” I really like this type style and size as it makes reading enjoyable for someone who needs the larger text. Great job, Cambridge.
There were issues with text block quality in the RCD 287, but they seem to have been addressed in this new Bible. Just glancing through both testaments shows a consistent dark, clear and sharp print. Now, this is a wonderful upgrade. To me, nothing distracts more than having to strain to read the Word of God. So far, I have not encountered one place needing some extra ink. For as much as this Bible costs, this quality should be standard equipment. I have seen no stray marks or incomplete letters. Impressive!
The two ribbon bookmarks are a welcome addition, but three would have been far better. The material is just the right width and length and matches the black leather quite well. This time, the ribbons are aligned perfectly and look quite good. Why there aren’t three markers remains a mystery, but one day publishers may see the need to help the consumer with this minor upgrade.
My overall impression with this Bible is quite good. I wish I had a camera to show you what I’m talking about, but there just isn’t one at the moment. My advice for those who would like to see this Bible up close and personal, would be to go to a book store to see if the owner would be willing to order a copy for the store. If so, you could certainly take a peek. This is a very nice Bible, but I would have preferred a couple more enhancements. Goatskin or ultra-soft calfskin (like the Nelson Signature Series) and three ribbon markers should be standard, and at the same price as this one, BTW.
What does Baker Publishing do with Bibles that have been returned for replacement. I was told they are sent to University Press in order to evaluate what went wrong. I think that’s a pretty good way to get feedback. Personally, I would rather have been given the opportunity to keep the old Bible at a seriously discounted price (free) along with the replacement, but that didn’t happen.
Again, Baker Publishing’s customer service is wonderful. Jessica Bolks came through for me in a big way. Thank you, Baker Publishing.