I love this Bible. Several years ago I purchased a Classic Reference ESV, it has been my main Bible since then. That Bible was perfect when I bought it and still is, the new ones I just bought appear to be as well. They're ideal in every way for myself, i'll explain why.
Size: I own a lot of Bibles, of all different sizes, overall this is the most ideal size for a Bible in my opinion. It's not so big that it's floppy and cumbersome, but it's not too small that it compromises font or paper quality. I absolutely love the size of this Bible in my hand, Crossway hit the nail on the head here. I wish NASB and NKJV would produce a Bible in this format.
Font: Crossway also hit the nail on the head here as well. It's a size 9 font, which is also my ideal font size. I personally don't like to read very long out of a Bible with size 8 or smaller font, it gets hard on the eyes after a while and feels crammed. The New Classic Reference stuck with size 9 font, and I commend Crossway for this, because in an age where thinline Bibles are so marketed, they haven't compromised with this Bible.
Text: I love this text block, their font type is probably my favourite on the market, it doesn't read like a dictionary like a Cambridge text block does, but like a Bible (if that makes any sense). It's really easy to read font and the lines aren't crammed together. I do wish they had line matching though.
Binding: I mentioned I have a Classic Reference from several years ago, from nearly daily use and abuse for these past 6 years it's held up. The fake leather cover (the fake leather is pretty good for fake leather, but in hindsight I would have purchased a genuine leather if I could afford it) pretty well fell off last year, so I glued it back on, but I haven't lost any pages yet, and I've often held this thing rolled up and twisted. I can say that if they have continued to have these sewn and bound like they used to when I bought that one, you have a quality binding with this Bible.
Paper: Good, and I'm pleased to say that the hardcover edition I just purchased two of now several years after my first one also has good paper. No, it's not the infamous French Milled paper that Lockman used in 2007 with their NASB's, nor is it Cambridges 40gsm paper in their wide margins, but its superb paper for the cost of this Bible. The ghosting is no worse than my Allan ESV Readers, which uses 36gsm. In fact, I would almost go as far to say that these Crossway ones might have less ghosting. Don't worry about the paper quality if you're considering this Bible.
Extras: Awesome, this is where the change was from the Classic Reference to the New Classic Reference, these new ones I bought have a lot of extra illustrations at the back of the Bible with the maps, illustrations of the temple, Jerusalem during different era's, etc. Neat stuff. Every book has a brief write up of background info, just enough for some of the essential facts, I love that. I'd say they improved this Bible.
Red Letter: I love the look of a bright red font in red letter Bibles, but I much prefer to read for extended periods out of a darker red font. Crossway used a dark red ink for their Bibles, and I appreciate that, it makes reading easier.
Would I recommend this Bible? Resounding yes, I don't think you'll find a better Bible in this price range if the dimensions and translation are your thing. I really hope Crossway doesn't ever compromise with their Bibles in terms of their bindings, or their paper like Lockman has done with the NASB the last few years. If I had a complaint about this Bible it would be that they don't have vertical border lines on either side of the reference column, it's a pet peeve of mine, I prefer borderlines, I wish Crossway would do that.
I will note I ordered two of these hardcovers because I wanted to have another 2011 Revision before the 2016 revision replaces everything. Why? I don't particularly like some of the changes Crossway did with the 2016, though there are good explanations for them if you look into it, but still very debatable. Also, I got so frustrated with Crossway doing yet another ESV revision with the 2016 (thats the 5th one including their original since 2001). I can't help but wonder if it's for sales, yes I know Crossway is non profit but there are many reasons for upping sales in a non profit. Either way, I'm glad they plan on waiting longer until another revision this time.
I bought this Bible about one month ago -- with the goal of reading through the ESV -- and I've been reading it every day. This Bible is a joy to hold and read. It feels very comfortable in my hands as I'm reading it, and the font is large enough for me to be able to read the text with ease. It's also very durable. The cover and the paper are made for regular daily use. I have the premium calfskin cover edition and it's edge-lined for extra suppleness. This is a well made ESV Bible for a good price. If you want a good ESV Bible that's comfortable to hold, and with font large enough to read with ease, then don't hesitate to purchase this one.
First of all, this is an extremely high quality, well built, beautifully simplistic Bible that I could not be more pleased with. It is very clear when reading and handling it that it is of the highest quality. This is going to be my all-around Bible which I will use as long as the Lord keeps me on this earth. I'll keep this as short as possible. DESIGN: This Bible is a hand-sized, classic reference Bible. It is classic in that it does not follow the trend of many modern editions that are large, thin, and floppy and that tend to be single-column format. It has a smaller profile, is a bit thicker, and though it is very flexible, is not excessively floppy. It has some substance to it which I believe makes it easier to read, handle, and carry. It is classic double-column format with references down the middle. The only personal preference that this Bible does not meet is that it is not verse-by-verse like the Cambridge Concord. PAPER/PRINT: Excellent in every way. Printed in China yet I can find no fault with the printing. It is crisp, and consistent in tone throughout. To my untrained eye it is absolutely on par with luxury Bibles printed in the Netherlands. Some who love red-letter editions may have issues with the red-letter though I like it. It is more of a burgundy or a dark red. Paper is very opaque in my opinion. I notice very little ghosting or bleed-through. I really like the paper. It is very good quality though it is a bit different from typical Bible paper. I don't know if it is not coated or what, but it is not silky feeling. It has a very natural paper feel to it. It seems very strong and durable. COVER: I ordered the Calfskin version. The calfskin is the best calfskin I've handled. Much better than other calfskin Bibles in this price range. It is nice and thick yet extremely soft and flexible. I have several goatskin bibles and I actually like this Crossway calfskin better than any of them though it does not look quite as luxurious as goatskin. It is attached flawlessly. Again, it is clearly assembled with great care. FINAL/ADDTL. THOUGHTS: The other gripe I've read about previous editions of this Bible is that there is a lot of crinkling in the gutter and undesirable crackly noises as a result. Not so with this newer edition. I've seen no crinkling at all. Crossway has fixed this issue. This bible will also lay flat from Genesis to Revelation though it does take some breaking in and doesn't do it as effortlessly as a big floppy R.L. Allan. It opens smoothly though it does need to be flattened and worked with initially due to the thick hinges that are commonly used in Bibles for added support. In conclusion I give credit to Crossway for producing a simple, elegant, very high-quality Bible for those of us who fall into this niche, at a fair and reasonable price. What I was looking for was a hand-sized reference Bible not like the big/thin floppy ones in fashion, quality construction, elegant and simple in appearance, not luxurious and extravagant in appearance, quality paper and printing, not single-column, large enough font to preach and read from, and in the ESV translation. Basically a Cambridge Concord in the ESV translation. I have found everything I was looking for with this Bible and could not be more impressed with it! Thank you Crossway for an honest commitment to produce the Word of God in a manner fitting His name. Thank you Christianbook.com for selling it at a reasonable price.