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Interview with Melinda Bouma from Zondervan

I recently got the opportunity to interview Melinda Bouma of Zondervan through email. Of course, the recent news about Zondervan acquiring and producing the Thompson Chain Reference is what’s on my mind. I’m sure most of BBG’s readers have the same questions that I do about the upcoming TCR’s, so let’s hear from Melinda Bouma…

Introduce yourself to our audience.

Hi Everyone! My name is Melinda Bouma, vice president and publisher for Zondervan Bibles. I’ve worked at Zondervan for 18 years, spending all that time in the Bible group. I love the life-changing work we get to do and seeing how each of our publishing, design, and production decisions are received by Bible readers around the world. We always hope our work is well-received and improves your reading experience, but when we hear otherwise, we also enjoy learning more about what our readers are looking for. It is an honor to do this work, and we take our stewardship responsibility seriously.


Zondervan has just acquired the rights to publish the Thompson Chain Reference Bible. How did you come to this decision?

Many of our team members have a long personal history and relationship with the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible. As we, along with our partners at Thomas Nelson Bibles, continued to develop our robust multi-translation Bible publishing platforms we realized that being able to publish and steward this beloved line of Bibles would fit naturally into our strategy for the future. Thankfully, the transition timing was right for all involved, and we are eager to make many editions of the Thompson Chain-Reference (TCR) Bible available for readers in their translation(s) of choice.



Will you be producing all Thompson products? For example, the student edition and Bibles in other languages?

We are still developing our publishing plans, so we cannot yet comment on how many editions we will publish. We have committed to producing 16 SKUs as soon as possible, releasing in May 2021, so that readers will have access to this incredible study system in multiple translations and bindings. There will be 3 bindings published in the King James Version regular size, 2 in the King James Version Handy Size, and 2 KJV Large Print editions. Additionally, we will offer 3 regular-size bindings in three translations: NKJV, the ESV, and the NASB (1977 text).



You’re planning a version in the Comfort Print® for 2022, but for 2021 you’ll print an edition without it. Will the first run be a reprint of the Kirkbride editions?

These first editions being launched in May 2021 utilize the most current interior/typesetting files that Kirkbride had developed. The study content is not changing, but we are using a different red-letter color for the ink in which the words of Jesus are printed. Zondervan has long heard positive feedback as to the red-letter color we feature, so by making this one change we will bring the TCR more in line with our publishing standards.



What changes do you have planned for the Thompson?

At this time, we are still reviewing and making publishing plans for future editions. We are considering translation offerings not available before in the Thompson, while also reviewing the chain-reference system and the other study tools and helps. It is likely that updates to the chain links and possibly to other study helps will serve readers well, but we do not have any final decisions to share at this time. We will develop editions of the TCR in our proprietary Comfort Print typefaces, and the first edition to be published in Comfort Print will be the NIV. We are excited to bring back the NIV Thompson, updating it into the © 2011 NIV Bible text as the first fully re-typeset edition of the TCR. And we are planning to offer a beautiful Premier Collection edition as well.



What other Bible projects are you working on for 2021?

We are constantly developing new Bible projects based on insights from readers as well as from Bible teachers and scholars. We recently announced the fall release of the NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible, a study Bible developed by General Editor Dr. R. Albert Mohler. We believe that project will impact many lives through the accessible insights provided by the study Bible committee and writers of those study notes.

We have also been at work on a layout developed in partnership with 2K/DENMARK. At this time, I will simply tease this…do you find yourself switching between a single-column preference for some texts, and double-column for others? What if you no longer had to choose?…


Where can our readers learn more about the Zondervan Thompson and other new releases from Zondervan?

Readers can learn more in the coming months by visiting

Ending Thoughts

First, I want to thank Zondervan for the opportunity to interview them about the TCR. Second, I want to congratulate both Kirkbride and Zondervan on transitioning the TCR to Zondervan. I’m a big fan of the Kirkbride TCR and I’m looking forward to seeing the Zondervan editions. Especially Zondervan’s red letter and the Premier Collection.

And, this 2K/Denmark tease – you no longer have to choose between a single-column preference for some texts and a double-column for others… I can’t wait to see this! Sign me up.

Which TCR’s are you looking forward to seeing from Zondervan? Let us know in the comments.

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