NIV Reader’s Bible Review

In my opinion the reader’s Bible trend is one of the most important trends in the Bible publishing industry because it gives readers access to the Word of God without man’s additions distracting the reader. Zondervan has entered the Reader’s Bible trend with the NIV Reader’s Bible. This edition has the high-quality design that we’ve come to expect in reader’s editions and a few additional features that sets it apart from the rest. This is the only real reader’s edition that retains the translator’s footnotes, but it still keeps them away from the text to create a nice readable layout. In this review I’m taking a look at the hard cover edition, ISBN: 9780310446613, printed in China.

Zondervan provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.


This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)


Barnes & Noble

Books a Million

Church Source

and many local Bible bookstores



This is the hard cover edition in gold and gray cloth over board. The spine is yellow and wraps around to the front and back. The spine has NIV and Reader’s Bible printed horizontally, and NIV and the Zondervan logo printed vertically. The design of the spine allows the pages to lay flatter than the standard hard cover book. It isn’t my favorite colors or cloth, but it is my favorite physical design of any reader’s edition I’ve seen so far.

The liner is a thick paper with a geometric design. It’s different and looks interesting. The text-block is section sewn and has no trouble staying open in Genesis 1.

The overall size is 8 3/4 x 5 5/8 x 2″. It’s a thick Bible and feels a little chunky when compared to the other reader’s editions. This just makes it a little more difficult to hold in one hand for reading. It weighs 2 lbs 9.8 oz. It includes a gray ribbon.


The paper is somewhere around 30gsm and is smooth to the touch. I had no issues turning pages. It has an off-white color that’s easy on the eyes and a joy to read for long periods of time. It does have some show-through, but it isn’t bad and it doesn’t bother me when reading. It’s mostly noticeable in the poetic settings. It has no glare under direct light. It has 1976 pages.


The typography is unique in the NIV Reader’s Bible.  The text is presented in single column paragraph with no verse numbers, but it actually prints the chapter numbers in the margins in a normal sized blue font. They’re there if you want them but they don’t stand out and can be ignored. The header shows the book name and range of chapters and verses printed in the same blue in the center. Page numbers are centered in the footer and are also in blue.

It uses the standard NIV layout with poetry in stanzas, letters indented, dialog in quotes, etc., but modifies the layout slightly to accommodate line-matching. Psalms are numbered (as they should be, even in reader’s editions) in blue. Selah is removed but it is signaled by a footnote.

The font is 10.3 Karmina black letter with a comfortable leading. I like this font. It’s dark and consistent throughout. It’s printed with line-on-line printing to improve readability. It does have some page-breaks, but they’re not by chapter. Instead, they follow major sections or breaks in the narrative. The first few words of a new section are in all-caps.

It has around 74 characters per line with around 12-14 words per line and 42 lines per page. The text never feels cramped. It has enough inner margin to keep the text from bending out of view, and it help in keeping the lines straight.

The text also includes footnote keys. They’re so small that I found them easy to ignore most of the time. However, I do still see them and I am tempted to look at the footnotes. Fortunately the footnotes are not on the same page as the text so my eyes don’t automatically look at them. I’d have to purposely turn to them. If I think about them I find that I’m not paying as much attention to the text. I have to put it out of my mind and continue reading, which can be difficult since the footnote key is calling to me. I was able to ignore them after a while though.


The translators footnotes are placed at the end of each book. They in a smaller font and are printed in single column. The chapter number is printed in blue followed by the footnotes for that chapter. They provide the footnote key so you’ll know which note is which.

Footnotes cover alternate renderings, information about diseases, flora, fauna, minerals, clothing, jewelry, architecture, musical instruments, measurements, verse number variations, passages not found in the oldest manuscripts, etc.

I do think they could have done without them for a reader’s edition, but if they’re going to include them I’m glad they’re not on the page with the text. I like this approach and the footnotes are helpful in shedding light on the text. This method lets you have access to them but keeps them out of the way at the same time.


This is a single table that includes the biblical unit, approximate American equivalent, and approximate metric equivalent. It includes weights, length, and both dry and liquid capacities. It’s a short table but covers the basics and is handy for when you come across something in your reading that you want to look up.


I like reading from the NIV Reader’s Bible. It can feel a little large for holding in one hand for longs periods of time, but for placing it on a table or in your lap it’s fine and I had no problems holding it with two hands. I like that they found a way to include the footnotes without making them intrusive upon the text. The footnote keys are there but they are easy to ignore.

The chapter numbers in the margin do help you keep track of where you are without creating unnatural breaks. The breaks that are added are great for separating thoughts. The range of chapters and verses in the header also help without getting in the way of reading. I especially like the spine design that allows the gutter to come up further and creating a flatter page. NIV fans are sure to enjoy reading from the NIV Reader’s Bible.


This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)


Barnes & Noble

Books a Million

Church Source

and many local Bible bookstores


Photography by hannah C brown

Zondervan provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.


  1. Chase

    Awesome review as always!

    How does this one compare in size to the CSB and ESV readers bibles?

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks! It’s slightly thicker than the CSB, which is larger than the ESV. I’m planning a comparison post to show them together.

  2. Chase

    Can’t wait to see that. Are the NIV and CSB the same height? I know the ESV is slightly shorter.

    Appreciate everything 🙂

    • Randy A Brown

      The CSB is 1/2″ taller but they have a similar design and feel.


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