Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Single-column Bibles

I have always loved single-column Bibles, and have hardly ever used anything else.  A single-column Bible just looks like it was meant to be read!  However, single-column Bibles have two special requirements beyond the needs of traditional double-column editions: the text needs to be larger and the paper needs to be better.

The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible has about 70 characters per line, which is just about right.  If there are more than this, it’s hard for your eye to find the start of the next line.  So, if a publisher is going to keep each line to about 70 characters, this rule must be followed: the wider the line, the larger the font.

There is a greater need for relatively opaque paper in single-column Bibles than in double-column ones.  This is because they more often have text which is not backed by text on the reverse side of the page (this happens especially in sections that are printed in verse, such as the Psalms).  Your appreciation of all that white space is marred by seeing the words printed on the other side.  One simply notices show-through more when reading a single column Bible!

In an earlier post I complained about the translucency of the paper that is used in the Revised Cambridge edition of the NCPB.  However, their Cameo edition uses even thinner paper (the same stock used in the Clarion Reference Bible) but, because the Cameo is printed in double-columns, the show-through is not as obvious as it is in the Clarion or the NCPB.

A single-column setting makes almost any Bible a pleasure to read - as long as the font is big enough and the paper is thick enough!

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