Two years ago, in my review of Schuyler’s original, full-size ESV Quentel, I wrote:
Cambridge has published Bibles since 1583, and R. L. Allan & Son since 1863. These are really the only other companies that compare to Schuyler in the scope and variety of Bible and translation offerings. And guess how long Schuyler has been in the neighborhood? Only seven years! Yet in seven years time, they have managed to publish Bibles that at least compare–or arguably rival–the best Cambridge and Allan have to offer.
That was all before the Quentel. But now, with the Quentel line, I believe they have led Bible publishing into a new season, and in so doing, they have taken the helm from the hands of their older brothers…Bravo, Schuyler. We will look forward to your future with great interest.
Now, with the publication of the Personal Size Quentel (henceforth PSQ), that future has arrived, and it is a bright future indeed! In this review, I will take a birds-eye view at the highlights of the PSQ in rapid-fire fashion, and then spend the bulk of the review on a few comparisons. I think this is the best way to capture what makes the PSQ so darn special.
The specs from Schuyler are as follows:
- Available in Natural Grain Goatskin (leather lined) and Calfskin (paste off liner).
- Same Pagination as the Quentel Series – (page numbers and format identical)
- Approximate font size: 8.5
- 4.7″ x 7.0″ x 1.2″ (120 mm x 180 mm x 25 mm)
- Line Matching
- 28 GSM Indopaque paper
- 2 Ribbon Markers
- Art-Gilt edging (red under gold, blue under gold for Imperial Blue)
- 9mm yapp
- Smyth Sewn (as are all Schuyler Bibles)
- Black letter text (chapter numbers, headers and page number in red)
- More than 95,000 entry cross references
- Presentation page
- Lined note paper
- Extensive Schuyler Bible Maps
O V E R V I E W : E X T E R N A L S
The PSQ’s casing is hard to beat. Jongbloed bound this lovely text block in sumptuous goatskin with calfskin linings. This edge-lined goatskin edition is available in black (with red linings), brown (brown linings), blue (blue linings), tan (brown linings), and green (brown linings). There is also a paste-down calfskin edition, available now only in purple (the red has sold out). For the differences between the two binding styles, click here. Simply put, edge-lined bindings are held to be more durable and are thus the more expensive option. You will be happy to know that the binding is quite flexible. Because it is a small book, and it is bound by Jongbloed, it does not lay flat in Genesis 1 right out of the box. But I have no doubt it will in due time– mine has already improved significantly.
The PSQ’s cover features perimeter stitching, as do all Schuylers, and the inside of the cover features a lovely gold gilt-line to frame the open text block. The pages are edged with art-gilt (red under gold, except the blue edition has blue under gold). The two ribbons are the thick, Brerisfords style that we Bible nerds love! And perhaps most exciting is the inclusion of raised ribs on the spine– magnificent! While some may view these things as unnecessary bells and whistles, all of these features enhance the overall aesthetic and quality of the Bible.
All that, and compact. Look how well it fits next to my iPad mini in the bag:
O V E R V I E W : I N T E R N A L S
Schuyler has once again teamed up with 2K/Denmark to design something truly special. The PSQ features a beautiful and incredibly readable 8.5 point Milo Serif font, which reflects the original Quentel. Some questioned the choice of the 28gsm Indopaque paper for fear of ghosting (or show through). But I’m happy to report that the ghosting is not problematic on this edition for two reasons. First, the text is typeset with line-matching, which helps mitigate the show through. And second, the font is printed with just the right boldness and crispness so that it stands out well. It is rated at 79% opacity (whatever that means).
As for other elements of the typesetting, what I wrote about the full-size Quentel remains true for the PSQ:
The ESVQ‘s typesetting has some subtle-and-smart touches that increase its beauty and readability without you even really noticing (and that is probably the best compliment one can pay a Bible’s design). For one, the cross references are placed on the bottom of the page so that they don’t crowd the text. This is a judicious move, and one that many have appreciated. And, as mentioned, the references are in red, making it supremely easy to navigate the 80,000+ cross-references. The translation notes are placed on the outside column at the bottom. Also, chapter numbers and references in the footnotes are printed in a bold red font, as are the contents of the header. One could overdo red, but the ESVQ‘s use of red is subtle, helpful, and beautiful.
C O M P A R I S O N S
I’ve had the PSQ for just over a month now, so I’ve had enough time to evaluate it without the initial bias that comes from new buyer’s bliss. Here is my conclusion: I have not found a better premium leather Bible that is both (a) hand-size, and (b) available as a single edition across a spectrum of different translations. You might wonder what I mean, so here’s how the PSQ stacks up against a few competitors that also meet these qualifications.
C L A R I O N
First, the Cambridge Clarion is another great hand-size edition that is available in a variety of translations (ESV, NASB, KJV, NKJV, NIV). Similarities: In the goatskin, both the Clarion and the PSQ are edge-lined, and in the calf, both are paste-off. Both feature line-matching, and to my knowledge, the paper in each is identical. Both are printed and bound at Jongbloed. Differences: The Clarion is single-column, whereas the PSQ is double. The Clarion is slightly shorter, but quite a bit thicker. The Clarion sports a slightly larger font.
P I T T M I N I O N
Second, the Cambridge Pitt Minion is a classic hand-size / compact edition also available in a variety of translations (ESV, NASB, KJV, NKJV, NIV, NLT). Similarities: Both are double-column reference Bibles. And as with the Clarion, I believe the paper is the same. Both are printed and bound at Jongbloed. Differences: The Pitt Minion has a much smaller font than the PSQ (6.75 point). Its references are center-column as opposed to the footer-references on the PSQ. Most notably, the Pitt is substantially thinner than the PSQ, but only slightly “shorter”. Also, there is no edge-lined option for the Pitt.
Now I would like to compare the PSQ to two Bibles that don’t meet both qualifications (a) and (b) above, but nonetheless are ripe for comparison for obvious reasons.
F U L L – S I Z E Q U E N T E L
The full-size Schuyler ESV Quentel is the big brother of the PSQ. It is now on its second iteration, this time with raised ribs on the spine and a thinner paper than the original (36gsm as opposed to 38gsm). Similarities: The pagination on these two Bibles is identical, and so is the typesetting (except for size). This makes these two Bibles perfect companions for those of us who appreciate being able to locate content on the page from recall. Both have raised ribs, art-gilt edges, leather linings, and the all same materials. Differences: The PSQ is just a shrunk-down version of its big brother Quentel. While the full-size Quentel sports an 11 point Milo serif font, the PSQ is 8.5 point. While the full-size features 36gsm paper, the PSQ features 28gsm. While the full-size Q touts three ribbons, the PSQ has only two. Finally, and least significantly, the full-size Q lacks the lined pages of the PSQ.
H E I R L O O M T H I N L I N E
Crossway’s Heirloom Thinline ESV is the Bible that perhaps most closely compares with the PSQ. Moreover, most other translations are also available in some sort of “thinline” or “slimline” that is approximately equivalent to the Crossway thinline (except for the premium binding); so these two will draw definite competition. Similarities: Both are hand-size, double-column reference Bibles with a font in the 8-9 point range. Both were bound in edge-lined goatskin (with lovely raised ribs) at Jongbloed–the leather even feels (and smells) the same to me. To my knowledge, the paper is the same on each. Also, they are quite similar in weight and overall balance in the hand– both make excellent choices for the mobile preacher or teacher of God’s word. Differences: The PSQ is shorter and fatter, while the Heirloom Thinline is taller and thinner. The PSQ features line-matching, while the Thinline does not. The Milo Serif of the PSQ reads bigger to me than the Lexicon of the Thinline. Choosing between these two is far from easy, but I definitely give the nod to the PSQ. Why? Because its typesetting is just so lovely and readable–with its line-matching, custom font and red accents– that it outshines that of the Heirloom Thinline for this reviewer.
To summarize these comparisons, certain people will find the Clarion to be a tad too thick. The Pitt’s font may be too small. The full-size Quentel may be too bulky and heavy. The Heirloom Thinline’s lack of line-matching may be a dectractor. But what such objective complaint could one lodge against the PSQ? For my part, I really can’t think of one! (Of course people will have subjective or aesthetic complaints, but nothing of the level of general objectivity I’ve described for the other four Bibles.)
C O N C L U S I O N
I don’t share J. Mark Bertrand’s sentiment that the PSQ is an unmitigated “improvement” over the full-size Quentel (if in fact that is what he meant when he said “it is better”)–I still feel that no other one-volume reference Bible can compete with the full-size Quentel for sheer large-print readability. However, taking all these comparisons and observations into account, I truly believe the PSQ is the premium Bible that will appeal to the most people. It is the most broadly useful “multi-translation Bible”* I’ve ever seen. Why? It feels perfect in the hand, yet does not sacrifice much readability to get there. And beyond that, it is cased in a lovely yet durable binding that will most certainly withstand the passing of time. For these reasons, when someone asks me for a Bible recommendation for reading, study, preaching or teaching, the PSQ is now my first recommendation. So buy with confidence– use your Christmas money toward one–you won’t regret it!
“When someone asks me for a Bible recommendation for reading, study, preaching or teaching, the PSQ is now my first recommendation.”
*Soon it will be available not only in NASB and ESV, but also NIV, NKJV, KJV (sort of–the personal size Canterbury is close enough), and perhaps others.
And lest we get lost in leather-bound English-Bible luxury, please remember to pray for translations in the remaining 1,859 Bible-less languages in our world. Click here to see my heart on the matter and to even support the work of Bible translation we’re a part of in Asia.