Local Church Bible Publishers “Hand Size Text Center Column Reference – 110 Series”. Also known as the CCC.
A Review by Blake Ratliff
I have a fairly large and diverse collection of King James Bibles. As I have used these Bibles over the years two of them have stood out as favorites. They are the Cambridge Large Print Standard Text (LPST) and the Cambridge Cameo. I often use the Cambridge LPST when I want to interact with the text alone with no distractions from commentary or referencing. On the go I mostly use the Cambridge Cameo. The great thing about the Cameo is the small size with text that is easy on the eyes. The Cameo text block has a type setting and layout that is beautiful to look at and highly legible. One of the few drawbacks of the Cambridge Cameo is the limited space for notes. I am glad to report that there is now a Bible with the Cameo layout and space for notes that is still good on the go. Enter the Local Church Bible Publishers “Hand Size Text Center Column Reference – 110 Series”. As soon as I found it I had to have it.
When discovering Local Church Bible Publishers (LCBP) and reading of their excellent reputation for high quality leather lined Bibles for around 50 bucks, it just seemed too good to be true. Now that I own four of them I am thrilled to say that it is true!
From the LCBP website:
Open: 12.75″ x 8.75″
Closed: 8.75″ x 6″ x 1.5″
Margins (in/out/top/bottom): 0.5″ x 0.5″ x 1.0″ x 1.25″
1,448 pages (The 957 pages on the LCBP website is not correct)
1,448 pages (The 957 pages on the LCBP website is not correct)
Top margin: Just over 7/10” of an inch.
Gutter margin: Almost 4/10” of an inch.
Left and right outside margin: 1” inch.
Bottom margin: Almost 1.5” inches starting from the text not the page number.
I have both available styles for review which are the Designer Series Top Grain Cowhide (TGC) and the Executive Series Ironed Calfskin. The text block of both of these are identical. They are also both leather lined with stitching and have two ribbon markers. The font is 8pt Petit Medieval Clarendon.
- No presentation page but 6 blank pages in the front. I prefer this. Just write a note for the presentation.
- Letter from the translators to the reader
- Dedicatory epistle to King James
- Bible contents and pronunciation guide. There is a good balance of self pronouncing text.
- 152 page concordance
- 4 blank pages between concordance and maps
- 8 maps
- 6 blank pages after the maps in the back
Look and Feel of Binding
Fully leather lined with leather connected to the text block being glued between two thick pages. This is the same method as seen with Allan Goatskin Bibles and the Cambridge Concord Goatskin. However the Cambridge Concord is lined with imitation leather. The LCBP Bibles are lined with real leather and it looks and feels great on both the TGC and Calfskin. They both smell great.
Many people will automatically choose the Executive Calfskin model over the Designer TGC because it is one piece verses 3 piece leather and is only $7 more in cost. However there are some who like the TGC better than the Calfskin. I can easily see why some people feel that way. The TGC is very soft, very sturdy, looks good, and feels great. Definitely on the level of the Calfskin in terms of quality. The TGC is a little thicker than the Calfskin so I would give a slight advantage to it in durability. I think the cowhide may be the most durable LCBP cover but the CCC does not come in that. I believe they are all durable. As far as looks I would give a slight edge to the calfskin. While the grain on the Calfskin is ironed and smooth you can still clearly see the natural grain and it feels natural. The Calfskin feels incredibly smooth like silk. However the Calfskin is almost smooth to a fault because it can slide around in your hands pretty easy. But that is improving with use. The TGC is just as soft or softer but not quite as smooth which can be nice because you can get a better grip on the Bible. So the TGC is softer in a spongy sense and the calfskin is softer in a smooth sense. Not a great analogy but is it like comparing flannel or new denim to silk. The first one I purchased was the Calfskin and I was concerned that I would like the TGC so much that I would just have to use it instead of my Calfskin. It is a relief that I like the Calfskin just as much because I have already written in it extensively. So if I were starting from scratch it would be hard to decide between the Calfskin and the TGC. I think it boils down to personal preference with the TGC definitely giving up nothing in quality and being a better value.
Readability and Layout
Same layout and text size as the Cambridge Cameo. I have two Cambridge Cameo Bibles from the 90’s and the LCBP CCC text is close to the same quality which is very good. The 8pt Petit Medieval Clarendon font is both attractive and easy to read for my 40+ year old eyes. I find it at least as easy to read as the larger type of the Cambridge Concord. Since it is a smaller text block it gives wide margins in the LCBP hand size category. While bigger than the Cambridge Cameo it is still a nice portable size. There are no wide margins in the gutter allowing for usable note taking area on the outside at the left and the right. The gutter is just the right size. Just enough so that after the Bible starts to break in a little there are absolutely no gutter issues impacting readability. I have found that there is just enough gutter room to add a reference or two. The widest margin is at the bottom of the page. And it has an interesting benefit of lifting the text higher making it more comfortable to read when on your lap or resting against your stomach (See pic).
The paper is very smooth, plenty thick, and has minimal ghosting. It is different than India paper. It is a little reflective when held at certain angles with your light. India paper tends to be less reflective. But this Bible’s paper is just as opaque or more so. The paper holds up to writing well and has little ghosting with HB pencil lead. Definitely more ghosting with the Pigma Micron but not too bad. The ink does not bleed through. The paper is sturdy enough for using this Bible comfortably as a workhorse. While the paper is not up to the level of a Cambridge wide margin it is certainly up to the task. The gold page edge gilding is decent being almost on par with Cambridge but not to the level of my Allen Ruby.
If I could have only one Bible it would be tough to choose. However I would probably pick the LCBP Hand Size CCC Executive Calfskin. Some will certainly prefer the TGC. So look at the descriptions and the pictures and just choose the one you like the most and ignore the small difference in price.
I consider this Bible ideal for having on hand to give away to someone who needs one. At least someone you know will appreciate and really use it. At a price of $45 for TGC and $52 for Calfskin having a stock of these is certainly more feasible. It does not have much commentary but emphasizes cross referencing. And I believe that comparing scripture with scripture is the best way to learn scripture. The new or older believer will also have a nice amount of space for notes and additional cross references. This is simply one of the best Bibles you can buy regardless of price. Highly recommended.