Looking for a Large Print Bible?

ESV Bible headerFor many of us, a major concern when choosing a Bible is the size of the text. Regardless of age, having a text size and layout that’s easy on the eyes can vastly improve our overall Bible reading experience.

To learn more about what it takes to design and produce a large print Bible, I sat down with Brian Martin (Bible Production Manager) and A.J. Penney (Bible Typesetting Manager), both members of Crossway’s Bible Production team. Here is what Brian and A.J. had to say about the main goals for producing a large print edition and also the major challenges to the process:

Goals for a Large Print Edition:

We want to make the edition as helpful as possible to those who need larger print while maintaining a reasonable size and cost. So, to put it simply, readable text and feasible cost are the main goals for a large print edition.

Challenges to Producing a Large Print Edition:

We typically face three main challenges:

1. Readability:

The challenge of Bible typesetting is to take a very long document (the full Bible text) and present it as a normal-sized book. Because of the vast amount of content, the book you end up with has encyclopedic font size and layout. This is not conducive to casual reading or in-depth study.

With many large print editions that are on the market today you’ll notice that the font looks squeezed, as if you took a picture of a normal Bible page and pushed in the sides. And often that’s exactly what happened: as a solution to the encyclopedic font size and layout, a normal Bible has been enlarged and squished to fit on the page. The overall result is a crowded layout.

Therefore, the number that is reported as the font size doesn't necessarily tell you whether a Bible is easier to read. Rather, a good large print Bible’s typesetting is intentionally designed to be large print, as opposed to being a "blow up" of a normal Bible.

2. Size:

It is almost always necessary to sacrifice portability. For example, there are a lot of variations on large print-wide margin-compact Bibles that are physically possible, but while some readers would be willing to carry around an extremely heavy Bible if it meant 12pt font and generous wide margins, this isn’t the ideal edition for the majority of people. (Have you ever seen someone toting their 10-pound personal ESV Pulpit Bible to church?) For us to offer such limited specialty editions, people would have to pay four to five times what they are accustomed to paying for Bibles. So it's likely that the size, weight, and price of the edition would deter people from purchasing such an edition.

3. Cost:

Another challenge is that it’s impossible to make a large print edition that doesn't cost a lot more than the average edition. A large print Bible is usually going to be larger in size and have a higher page count. The extra cost accumulates quickly not only from using more paper, but also printing smaller quantities than a normal Bible. This means that we're always trying to find the right balance. We truly want it to be easier to read but, at the same time, use space economically on the page so that it isn't excessively lengthy or large. We want the paper to have a high opacity, but more opacity means thicker paper, and a bulkier book block. Increasing trim size and page count also increase expense and will mean a higher retail price. It is a balancing act.

Thank you, Brian and A.J., for giving us a glimpse of the complexities of Bible production!

ESV Large Print Editions:


Large Print Personal Size Bible

Actual Type Size: 00.FM.indd
  • 12-point type
  • 1,952 pages

ESV Study Bible, Large Print

Actual Type Size: original_LPStudyBible_TypeSample
  • 11-point type
  • 3,008 pages

Large Print Thinline Reference Bible

Actual Type Size: original_LargePrintThinline_TypeSample
  • 10.5-point type
  • 1,248 pages

Large Print Compact Bible

Actual Type Size: original_LargePrintCompact_TypeSample
  • 8-point type
  • 1,376 pages

Large Print Bible

Actual Type Size: original_LargePrint_TypeSample
  • 12.5-point type
  • 1,408 pages

Giant Print Bible

Actual Type Size: original_GiantPrint TypeSample
  • 14-point type
  • 2,000 pages