What's the Big Deal?
A few weeks ago we posted a crash course on Bible cover materials, and now we turn our attention to the interior of the Bible.
You may have seen buzzwords like "opacity," "PPI," "ghosting," or "readability" flying around the internet, especially when it comes to "high-quality Bible paper." So what's the big deal? It's just paper, right?
The production of Bible paper is so technical that only a handful of companies in the world make it. The average ESV Bible, without any extra study content, has more than 700,000 words, and the ESV Study Bible has over 2.2 million words! Arranging this much content in an organized, cohesive, and readable way is a remarkable feat in and of itself. Then there's printing everything on paper—a challenge that can only be described as a lesson in paradoxes and chemistry. Once produced and run through massive printing presses, the pages are bound (sewn or glued), then finished off with a cover.
You could make the case that Bible printing is one of the most complicated printing projects in the world.
Here are some some key terms to know related to Bible paper:
Common Types of Bible Paper
There are three main categories of Bible paper:
Identifying High-Quality Bible Paper
In light of this information, the question naturally arises, "How will I know high-quality Bible paper when I see it?"
Well, there's no magic formula, but it comes down to a variety of factors and your prefernces. The next time you're looking for high-quality paper, consider this checklist:
Think of "high-quality Bible paper" as being on a spectrum rather than in a static, black and white category. There are some widely accepted non-negotiables (opacity, PPI, and brightness), but the rest comes down to subjective preference (whiteness, creaminess, texture, etc.). In the end, "high-quality" is in the eye of the beholder.