Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Beautiful: Large Print Douay-Rheims Ultrasoft from TAN

Yesterday the UPS man arrived with a package for me from TAN/St. Benedict Press. I was puzzled because my order had just been processed that morning for a new RSV Burgundy Ultrasoft. When I opened it I was pleasantly surprised to find a Large Print Burgundy Ultrasoft Douay-Rheims and the normal hand sized RSV Black Genuine Leather Bible.

I opened the Large Print Burgundy Ultrasoft Douay-Rheims first. It was love at first sight. In fact there is only one thing I would change about this edition which I will get to in a minute. But everything else about this particular Bible is perfect. If I would have seen this in a store it would have been immediately picked it up and taken it to the counter for purchase. It is that nice.

Regarding the old maxim of never judging a book by its cover...throw that one out. The cover on this is gorgeous. It is soft and supple, flexible and comfortable as any genuine calfskin you'll encounter. Granted, this is not calfskin and yes you can tell the difference. But for most consumers this Ultrasoft imitation leather is the next best thing.

When I first saw the advertisements for the large print edition I remember thinking "I'd never have any use for that." My general thoughts were that large print editions are usually not stellar and the print looks like a children's book. But that is not the case with this bible. The traditional Douay format really shines with the larger print and does indeed make the -eths, thees, thous, and thines easier to read. It is also good for low light, which my house is plagued with. In fact the large print is so well transferred in this edition that I am tempted to encourage you to skip the hand sized edition and opt for this one.

Lays flat easily after a few opens.

As for the size of the book, it is just a little taller than the Ignatius RSV-2CE Leather. But tall and thin Bibles are all the rage these days and this one is right up there with the rest of them. The print is larger but not giant. Its just right.

The bible opens flat pretty much right out of the box. I had to open and close it a few times to get it where I wanted it. But here we get to the one feature I would like changed: the binding is glued. Now, I have been assured by the publisher that it is durable, made of PVC glue, and doesn't "require the use of sewing". Well...OK. But sewn binding is typically a hallmark of quality. Nevertheless most readers are not binding snobs like me so we can look past this one.

I keep thinking this bible would be great for street preaching...if we did that sort of thing. It easily flops in your hand while reading. You can fold it back around itself for one-handed holding. The gilt edging is nice and shiny. It comes with a ribbon for place-marking.

Bible Yoga Success.

The results.

The embossing on the cover is magnificently done. I like it better than the gold stamping on the more expensive versions which doesn't quite work as well with the type font.

Cover embossing

Spine embossing: perfect.

If you have the money to spend and you really want a nice Catholic Bible, splurge for the Large Print Ultrasoft Douay-Rheims from Tan/St. Benedict. You will not be sorry.

Again, I do these reviews to help others make purchases. TAN/St. Benedict sent me this complimentary copy for review purposes. This is a service I do for my fellow Catholics. If you buy this and hate it, well, you can always return it. I suspect you won't want to do that in this case.

You can see my review of the paperback edition here.

UPDATE 12/9/09:
Added Photos for more detail.

A stack: standard Liturgy of the Hours on top, hand sized RSV Black Genuine Leather in the middle, and the Large Print Douay on the bottom.

By request, a penny next to the text to show the size and type font.


Christian said...

Thanks for the review, next time maybe a closer picture of the fonts, with something for scale, like a coin or a rosary or something. I confess that I had not heard of Tan books before and have checked out their site about four times in the last six hours. As I've been weaning myself off the NAB, I think your review may well have sold me on this edition -- I can't get the 'feel' of the Bible from their site. Thanks!

Presbytyrannosaurus Rex said...

Wow, what a Bible. Thank you, Lord!
Great review, Matt.

Timothy said...


Fine review. How is the binding?

I am still waiting for the Genuine Leather RSV that I ordered on November 13!

Matt said...

Hi Christian - I will take another picture today with a penny next to the text so you can see the font size. I also reviewed the hand sized paperback on the blog and there is a close up of the text.

Here is the link:

TAN Paperback Douay-Rheims


The binding as far as I can tell is indeed solid. Now whether or not it will last you 10 years I can't say. I have an older, glued, Bible that is just fine. But I also have 2 that aren't. (they are from the late 80s/early 90s) I assume the glues have improved over the past several decades however.

Lauren A. Rupar said...

Timothy -

Could you please email me your full name and an order number?

I will check on that order for you.

Lauren Rupar

Saint Benedict Press/TAN Books

Timothy said...


288574 was the order number. I don't have your email address so I am not sure how to email you. Also, I have called customer service on four different occasions over the past three weeks to find out what was the status of my order and was either told that it was in the process of being shipped or it already had shipped. None of the people that I talked with seemed to be willing to find out the correct information on my order. I used 2nd day air for my order but as of today I have yet to receive it. My email is mccorm45 (at) yahoo.com.

Christian said...

Are the words of Christ in the gospels printed in red in this edition like the paperback one?

Also when is the comparable RSV coming out from TAN (floppy leather like this)? If you or they already published that, I apologise, I'm on my iPhone with a poor data connection, and I'm too impatient with it to search.

Matt said...

Hi Christian,

Yes, the words of Christ are in red in the large print edition.

It looks like, from the St. Benedict Press website, that the large print RSVs are out.

I just received my hand-sized Ultrasoft RSV today so coming Monday or Tuesday I will be reviewing them both for the blog.

Christian said...

I just bought the pocket edition Ignatius RSV 2E, so if economies force me to choose, the Douay is looking real good right now. My wife just asked me how many copies of the RSV will be sufficient, LOL. Thanks for the reviews!

Matt said...

I too have the RSV 2CE pocket edition, which is a nice small cousin of the full edition. I like what they did with the layout of the text. The spacing is nice on the eyes.

Jude said...

Thank you so much for this review! (And also for your RSV-CE review.) I just ordered the Black Large Print RSV-CE version published by Saint Benedict. I was on the fence about whether or not I needed yet another Bible, but your praises spurred me to action. I currently use the excellent but unwieldy Navarre Bibles, also in RSV.

The Ignatius New Testament Study Bible is due out within days, I hope you are able to publish a review of that as well.

Dominus tecum.


Matt said...

Hi Jude,

I do indeed plan on reviewing the ICSB New Testament. I'm unsure which edition to do as of yet, but God willing it will appear on these pages!

glad the blog helped you find a new Bible! Let us know what you think of it!

Jude said...

Thanks again, Matt.

I received it this morning, startling the FedEx man at the door with my eagerness. Like you said, it was love at first sight. I've spent half the day just reading some favorite sections. And even with your glowing review, this Bible is better than I expected. The texture of the cover is unbelievable; just holding it is a pleasure. From Genesis to Revelation it lays flat, eager to be read. The font is great, and just the right size, and with no 'bleed-through'. I believe I have found my primary-use Bible.

Thanks again for your reviews, and I will look in regularly for your review of the Ignatius NT Study Bible.

Dominus tecum.

Shazamaholic said...

hi Matt. How is the ultra-soft large print D-R bible holding up? I have two copies of the 1989 padded leather D-R from Tan...I'd like to sell one of them and use the money to buy the new ultra-soft large print. Is your copy still as remarkable as when you got it? Have you discovered any more pros or cons to this edition (does it have the 3 year cycle of readings like St Benedict's RSV-CE edition)?

Matt said...

Its holding up just fine. But then, I don't use it every single day and I take good care of it since it probably my favorite Bible I own at the moment.

Just a word of caution though, and this goes for any modern book with gilt edges...

Keep them away from water. The gold on the edges "smears" right off at the slightest drop of water. I accidentally got a few drops on my leather RSV-CE and now it looks like a leopard with spots.

Shazamaholic said...

"its probably my favorite Bible I own at the moment."

Now that's a ringing endorsement!

Shazamaholic said...

Well, I got my ultrasoft large print D-R. I like everything about it: the perfect size font...a good quality cover...nice size. Just one thing I don't like. The pages are too thin. It's not tissue paper thin, but it's close. The bleed through makes it almost as distracting to read as the old photo-copy editions with the occasional xerox blotching and fading. If I could give St. B Press any advice on future printings...it'd be "use thicker paper". If the overall thickness of the book becomes greater by a fraction of an inch, it's no big deal compared to the advantage of using thicker paper.

joeantony said...

Hi Christian,
Thank you for your review. I wasn't sure if I should go for a DR large print as benedictine site didn't have much of satisfactory visual effect.

After reading your review I ordered one. Costs me a bomb but I am sure its worthwhile,especially when D-R Bibles are not available in India , I spent months looking for one and didnt find it anywhere. God knows how long it will take to reach here.

About the ultra-spft paper, Is it too thin, I like the normal think paper, that feels better. Whats your say on the Ultra-soft paper?


Matt said...

The paper is actually pretty good compared to many Bibles today. To my eyes the ghosting is pretty moderate, even light and certainly not distracting.

But I guess everyone has a preference. We all want thin Bibles but nobody wants ghosting. So we have to meet somewhere in the middle.

This Bible, out of all the ones I own, is still my favorite.

joeantony said...

Hi Matt, Thanks for that positive opinion..I am hoping i would not be disappointed at all. I am still waiting for the Postman....!!

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton