TBS Royal Ruby Text Bible Review

Even though there are have been variations in features, many publishers have had a KJV Ruby. And for good reason – it’s a small handy size with a sharp readable font. The TBS Royal Ruby Text Bible is a text-only compact KJV that’s available in a wide range of bindings. I’m reviewing the black calfskin with zipper and thumb-index. It’s produced for TBS by Cambridge and includes the familiar TBS additions. Like other TBS editions that I’ve reviewed, it comes in a nice slip case.

Left to right – TBS Windsor, TBS Ruby, and TBS Pocket Reference



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  • Text-only KJV
  • Calfskin with zipper
  • Opposing thumb index
  • 6 black letter
  • 2 ribbons
  • Red and yellow head/tail bands
  • Word list
  • Drawings
  • Reading plan
  • Text-block – Cambridge
  • Typography – Jongbloed Plantin
  • Design – 2Krogh AS, Denmark
  • Printed and bound – Printcorp, Belarus
  • Overall size is 6 1/8 x 4 ¼ x 1”
  • It weighs 11.2 ounces
  • ISBN: 9781862282650


This edition is calfskin with zipper. The calfskin is soft to the touch. The front has Holy Bible in gold. The spine has Holy Bible and the TBS logo. It also includes five non-raised spine ribs. It has a matte finish with a pebbly grain that looks great.

The liner is paste-down vinyl. it has several thick sheets in the front and back to strengthen the binding. It will lay open easily, but it will need to be broken in before it will lay open in Genesis. This is partially due to the Bible being so light that the pages can’t hold the cover in place when open. As with all TBS books and Bibles this one is sewn.

The zipper is easy to pull. I usually had no issues getting the ribbons caught in the zipper but I did have a few close calls. I ended up not zipping it most of the time. When I did zip it I placed my finger across the ribbons to push them in place to keep them out of the way.


TBS describes the paper as “Bible paper”. For Cambridge paper this means it’s over 30gsm. To my fingers that feels about right. It’s ivory in color, which greatly improves reading for long periods of time. It’s highly opaque and is easy to turn. It has no glare under direct light. I haven’t written in it, but if I intended to I wouldn’t hesitate to try it.

Thumb Index

This edition uses the standard Cambridge “opposing style” of indexing. This means that books from Genesis the Proverbs have the thumb tabs facing upward when the Bible is opened in the middle. From Ecclesiastes onward is arranged as normal. This is my favorite layout for thumb indexing.

Tabs include 2-3 books each. Most include 2. At this small size it makes sense not to have 1 book per tab. Two per tab is much better than other publishers that include 3-4 books per tab.


The text is presented in double-column, verse by verse format. The header includes the book name and chapter number in the outer margin and page summary in the inner margin. The footer includes the page number in the center.

The font is 6-point black letter with 6.5 leading. It’s sharp and has a medium darkness that’s consistent throughout. I wouldn’t mind if it were a touch darker, but in reality it probably has the best darkness and paper contrast for most people. It doesn’t have self-pronouncing text, so the text is clean and readable. It does include italics for supplied words.

It has around 36 characters per line with around 8 words. The nice inner margin keeps the text out of the gutter. The words never feel too crowded. The printing is line-matched. Verse numbers are indented so they’re easier to find at a glance. Chapters are separated by “CHAPTER X” and use the first letter of the first word as a drop-cap. Pilcrows mark paragraphs through Acts 20. It find it to be highly readable even at this small size.

Bible Word List

This is a 20 page glossary of words that have changed meaning or are no longer in use. It includes unfamiliar objects, plants, animals, weights and measures, money, etc. It provides the word, several word-meanings, and verses where the word appears. Words that have more than one meaning are indicated with an asterisk.

This isn’t meant to replace the words in the verses but instead to shed light on their original meanings in context. This is a great tool and I think this should be standard in every KJV.

Line Drawings

It has 12 pages of line drawings that include plants, animals, Egyptian drawings, pottery, millstones, a well, money, and more. The drawings include names so you know what they are. The drawings have a realistic art-style and look amazing.

I could imagine someone wanting to color them. I recommend PrismaColor pencils for this, just FYI.

Daily Bible Reading Plan

This is a two-year reading plan that takes you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice. It’s the M’Cheyne plan with two readings per day – starting with one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

This is one of my favorite reading plans. We use it as a yearly plan by reading for both years for each day.


The TBS Royal Ruby Text Bible in zippered calfskin with thumb-index is a nice compact text-only edition. I found it to be an easy Bible to carry and it’s a great reader if you can handle this small of print. The quality of materials and print is so high that I thought it was a Royal Jongbloed Bible. If you know me you now that’s the highest compliment I can give a Bible. It might be on the small side for preaching, but I think it’s a good choice for witnessing, reading on the go, and visitations.


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Have you used the TBS Royal Ruby? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Photography by hannah C brown

Trinitarian Bible Society provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review. My 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.

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