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Back from Nineveh

April 26th, 2010 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest
Default Image Having missed my last weekly blog spot I am full of remorse and feel like sitting in sackcloth and ashes.  I'm also remorseful for calling ( in my last blog) Alexander Cruden by his father's name, William.  Shame on me. Last week I was stranded in Mallorca, that vacation (vulcation?) paradise in the Mediterranean Sea, when the Icelandic volcano erupted.  The resultant ash grounded all flights over Europe and with North America and so we trekked three days by slow boat and bus across Spain, France and England home to Scotland. You will remember that intrepid prophet Jonah also travelled three days -  across Nineveh

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Mad Alexander

April 8th, 2010 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest
Default Image Allan's Cruden's Concordance is the finest edition of the monumental work of Alexander Cruden.  But who was he? Alexander Cruden was a Scotsman from Aberdeen, born in 1699, who was thought to be mad. It wasn't so much as a result of his labours to produce the invaluable Concordance,  but that he fell in love with the wrong lady and was incarcerated in an asylum by her influential father to get him out of the way. This stigma followed him all his life. Alexander managed to escape that scandal and re-establish himself in London as Queen Caroline's Royal Bookseller. But he has soon back in a madhouse on a similar charge, but over

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All that glitters is gold!

April 1st, 2010 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest
Default Image  I served my apprenticeship in Bible production at Collins' state of the art printing facility in Glasgow in the 1970s. Whenever the Queen or UK Prime Minister visited the plant, which they did occasionally, the VIPs were taken to meet the oldest worker, who was a true craftsman. Bill seemed very old to me and his unique skills were even more  ancient. He was in charge of marbling, that wonderful wavy effect some ledger books have in the linings, and the traditional gilding of Bibles. In those days he worked with real gold foil and before applying the delicate membrane by hand to the page edges he

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Thumb Nail Sketch

March 26th, 2010 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest
Default Image Have you noticed how difficult it is to track down a thumb indexed Bible nowadays? I think I know why. There may be as many as 33 tabs to be located at the right page by the craftsman before each notch is cut  and the tabs affixed by hand. Calculate the cost in time and skill to do that operation and  you can understand why publishers may becoming reluctant to offer thumb indexed Bibles. They simply cost too much to make. Having said that, we'll be introducing an indexed style of the Allan Longprimer KJV (#52i )at the end of June.  Some of you tell me you really like an indexed

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Lost in Translation

March 19th, 2010 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest
Default Image When I was seven years old I wrote to Vivian Ridler, the very distinguished printer to the University Press at Oxford, to tell him that I had found a printing mistake in one of his Bibles. I had an ulterior motive; in those days if you were the first person to find an error in a Bible text you could win £5, a princely sum for a small boy then. The Great Man replied kindly that he was well aware of the printing error and it had been corrected in reprints ever since. I missed out on my reward but I had

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Be Bold!

March 12th, 2010 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest
Default Image The recently reprinted Allan Longprimer KJV Bible was originally designed by Oxford's finest typesetters in New York  in 1953. In those days computer typesetting was still decades in the future, and Bibles were designed and largely hand-set by highly skilled craftsmen. Theses traditional settings have a charm and readability which modern settings struggle to match. But they also had an extra ingredient I really like. They were set in bold typeface. So I'm delighted that Cambridge are reprinting the popular Cameo setting, due this summer. As well as the regular 66-book make-up, some Cameo editions will include the Apocrypha. Not many folks realize

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Seeing Red

March 5th, 2010 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest
Default Image I'm just selecting a crimson shade of Highland goatskin leather to order from the tannery. So many reds to choose from! Scarlet, ruby, rose. This one looks too yellow, too orangey, that one borders on purple. Our first red goatskin was called Alhambra red which sounds a bit Moorish and not very Christian, so this time we're going for our best Highland goatskin and the finest shade of crimson. We're planning on offering it in the ESV Readers Edition and the ESV Personal Reference Edition to start with, so watch the website for these new styles coming later in the summer. Which brings me to

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India paper is no more!

February 25th, 2010 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest
Default Image India paper is no more! A few years ago I bought from Cambridge the last few hundred sheets of their very fine KJV Pitt Minion text setting. One of the selling points for me was that it had been printed on real India paper, something you don't find nowadays. 'Real' india paper had rag content and was marvellously thin and strong. Modern lightweight, acid-free 'India' papers are designed for web offset printing and are more environmentally friendly.  The Allan Pitt Minion text Bible also had the elusive 'Pure Cambridge text', that will-o-the-wisp setting which seems to carry added cachet for KJV aficionados. Now out of print, it was bound in

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I remember my saintly mother telling a “fib” once…

February 19th, 2010 | By Nicholas Gray | Category: Bibles Direct Latest
Default Image I remember my saintly mother telling a ‘fib’ only once. (This is a British expression for ‘misspeaking’, as  some politicians are wont to say.) A missionary was visiting our family home for Sunday lunch after church. My mother had  bought  a delicious-looking apple pie from the local bakery for dessert.  It looked home made, but it wasn’t. “Would you be baking this delicious pie, Lois?” said the missionary. “Sure”, she said, “Momma’s apple pie!” and glared at me in case the boy gave the game away. Now it’s my turn to confess. As you may know, our best bibles are bound in

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When Robert Allan first opened the doors…..

February 12th, 2010 | By Nicholas Gray | Category: Bibles Direct Latest, RL Allans Limited Editions
Default Image When Robert Allan first opened the doors of his Bible publishing office on Glasgow's famous Sauchiehall Street back in 1863, he could hardly have dreamed that almost 150 years later, those same storefront premises would house a French patisserie selling continental delicacies. In 1903 a couple of blocks away, my grandfather started work as a Christian publisher, and then in 1970 my father merged our family business with the Allan Bible firm . Robert Allan was a 'King James' man - in Victorian times there wasn't much choice.  The KJV was The Bible, so R. L .Allan became known for our fine-bound Authorized Version Bibles, and still are

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