Saturday, February 21, 2015

NKJV Single Column: Thomas Nelson vs. Schuyler

I have lately been on the hunt for good single column Bibles in my favorite translations. One of those is the New King James Version. I read some excellent reviews about the Schuyler New King James Single Column Bible.  One review is by Mark Bertrand on his Bible Design Blog (the 2nd run of Schuyler NKJV) and on Beth Rhodes' Tresses' Other Corner (the 1st run of these Bibles). Both are excellent reviews and there is no need for repetition of their fine work here

Beth mentions that Schuyler NKJV single column Bible is a reprinting of Thomas Nelson's "but better." I decided to see for myself what "better" meant. My skill in photographing Bibles is negligible, but hopefully these will help illustrate some of the differences.

These Bibles have exactly the same layout.  There is no difference in page numbering or anything else.  The layout is by Blue Heron Bookcraft in Battle Ground, Washington.  The Thomas Nelson Bible is printed in the United States of America (printer isn't given).  The Schuyler NKJV was printed by Royal Jongbloed in Heerenveen, Friesland, Netherlands.  The main reason I considered the Schuyler after getting the Thomas Nelson was in hopes that it would be more readable.
Thomas Nelson (on top) and Schuyler have the same layout.
Thomas Nelson (top) and Schuyler have exact same layout

I got the Thomas Nelson Bible first. Nowhere on the Bible does it mention the cover, although "Genuine Leather" is written on the box. Although the Bible is reasonably flexible, it feels more like bonded leather. I read that the Thomas Nelson Bible has a glued binding. I haven't been able to verify this.  I have to admit that I don't mind the feel of it in my hand. The Schuyler Bible is bound in soft goatskin and is very flexible. I LOVE the feel of it in my hand.   The Schuyler has a sewn binding (as do all Schuyler Bibles). Borrowing from Mark Bertrand's famous "Bible Yoga" style you can see that the Schuyler is more flexible.
Bible Yoga:  Thomas Nelson vs. Schuyler (Schuyler wins)
Thomas Nelson (left) is less flexible.

Both lay similarly on a table.  The Schuyler has a larger margin in the gutter so there is less text curving.  Both have some trouble when you are the beginning or the end of the Bible.  When opening to Genesis or Revelation, the lighter side raises slightly off the surface. Perhaps both would settle down with use.
Both Schuyler (left) and Thomas Nelson have trouble laying flat.

When thumbing through the Bible I noticed the page edges on the Thomas Nelson are a bit rough.  It appears that they were cut poorly so the gilding didn't stick well.  It is also duller than the Schuyler. Also, the pages tend to fan out a bit right from the start.  I haven't been reading this Bible much at all yet, but already the pages fan out.  The Schuyler is art gilt red under gold.  The edges are smooth and shiny.  You can even see a bit of reflection of the ribbons!  The pages lay flat though I haven't leafed through this one as much as the Thomas Nelson.
Thomas Nelson duller edge gilt vs Schuyler shiny gilt
Schuyler (bottom) has superior edging.
From another angle you can see bits of paper stick out from the page edges of the Thomas Nelson.  This is only on the bottom, so I don't feel those while thumbing through to find a verse.  Here you can also see the Schuyler is larger.  They took the same layout and increased the size.  On the right in this picture you can see where a small triangle of the Thomas Nelson cover corner sticking down.  It appears it wasn't glued properly.
Thomas Nelson (top) is smaller than the Schuyler
The Thomas Nelson Bible has a trim size of 8.4375 x 5.5 inches.  Schuyler's Bible measures 9.125 x 6.25 inches.  It doesn't sound like a big increase but it is noticeable when reading.  This is a key criteria for me in selecting Bibles.  I'll carry any size Bible if it is better for me to read.  In this picture you can also see the black genuine leather (Thomas Nelson) compared with the brown goatskin (Schuyler)

Thomas Nelson black leather (top) with Schuyler brown goatskin
Thomas Nelson (top) and Schuyler
The increase in size made a noticeable improvement in readability.  I find the Schuyler is easier to read that the Thomas Nelson.  The Thomas Nelson has white paper which I thought I would like better.  I changed my mind once I compared it with the Schuyler's cream paper.  This is certainly subjective and your eyes may give you different results.  Here is a comparison of the two showing the slightly larger font.  Unfortunately, the page color doesn't show in my picture (TN on the right).  A problem with both Bibles is ghosting where the words on the back of the page show through.  The Schuyler may be slightly better but I am not certain.
The Schuyler on the left has a slightly larger font.
Schuyler (left) has a slightly large font.

One problem I found with the Thomas Nelson (I wasn't able to get this to show in my photographs) was uneven print darkness.  The print on some pages was lighter.  This was noticeable when cross referencing or when flipping between two pages.  The lighter pages were still readable though it made the ghosting more troublesome.

If you like multiple ribbons, the Schuyler (right, below) wins here too.  I use differing amounts depending on the reading schedule I use.  This year my schedule works with 2 or preferably 3 ribbons.  This picture shows the similar layouts, the ribbons and perhaps you can see the difference in paper color.
The Schuyler (right) has more ribbons that Thomas Nelson
Schuyler (right) has more ribbons.
As you can see, I do favor the Schuyler over the Thomas Nelson.  However, these Bibles are in two completely different classes.  The Thomas Nelson cost about $40 (USD) on  The Schuyler cost $190 (USD) on  If the Schuyler wasn't of superior quality there wouldn't be any reason for it to exist. 

I would still recommend the Thomas Nelson as an affordable single column reading Bible.  I do think it could have been executed better for the price range.  I have other Bibles in the same price range without these defects.  If you can afford the investment, the Shuyler is an excellent and much more readable upgrade.  It was worth the extra money for me.  I did find it more readable and believe I will use this often and long.  If ghosting is a problem for you, you make wish to wait until Schuyler releases the NKJV in their Quentel series.  I heard that it will be out in 2015-16.

 Comparison Chart
Thomas Nelson (top)Schuyler (bottom)
$40 (USD)$190 (USD)
Genuine leatherGoatskin leather
glued binding?sewn binding
somewhat flexiblevery flexible
Trim size: 8.44"x5.5"Trim size: 9.13"x6.25"
white paper32 GSM cream paper
9 pt font10.5 pt font
uneven printingexcellent printing
1 ribbon4 ribbons
weak/faulty giltexcellent red under gold art gilt
rough page edgessmooth page edges

If my review hasn't scared you off from the Thomas Nelson, here is a treat for you:  One lucky reader gets to have the Thomas Nelson Single Column Bible.  Please leave a comment with your name and BRIEFLY say why you want this Bible.  I will choose a winner next Saturday (2-28-2015).  I will post the winner's name whereupon you can email me with your address to receive your new Bible.


  1. An excellent and long overdue comparitive review between the Sky NKJV SC and the Nelson NKJV SC. Very well done and very informative. A lot of time and work goes into these reviews with little appreciation, so I thank you for taking the time to put all of this together.

  2. From: David

    Thank you for your helpful reviews! The Schuyler's seem to be a good choice, similar to the Allan bibles. For a single-column bible, this Nelson bible is also quite worthwhile.

    I would be grateful to you --- to be considered for your 'bible draw'.

    Thank you very much, for your kind consideration!

  3. From: David
    Part 2 --- Reason for Bible Request:
    My daily reading bible has started to fall apart---so I would be grateful for your Nelson bible, to have a daily reading bible again!

    1. From BereanBoyScout

      Excellent review. Someday a Schuyler will be on my desk. Two of my Professors use the NKJV. It would be nice to have a readable copy for their classes and assignments.

  4. For my daughter (11) whose favorite translation is NKJV.

  5. Quite simply, I am in search of a good, workman typed bible for teaching. The NKJV translation on a single column format fits the bill nicely.

  6. And the winner is ... Neil Short. Or more accurately, Neil Short's daughter. Please send me an email with your address to receive her new Bible!

  7. Great review and thank you. There is a deal killer for me regarding both bibles. I see in the images you show, too much ghosting and a lack of line matching. While I can accept this on the Nelson at it's price level it is, in my mind, not acceptable in the expensive Schuyler.

  8. What about Schuyler vs. Clarion? Which would you prefer?

    1. That would be an interesting comparison. I may do such a review sometime.