Many thanks to the readers who have emailed me in response to my last post on the Great Adventure Bible. Among multiple readers who have purchased the Great Adventure Bible over the past few years, I have not been able to find clear evidence of a sewn binding. One reader contacted Ascension customer service and received a response that past printings were not smyth-sewn, but the newest printing (due in stock in May 2021) will be smyth-sewn.
I’m cautious about this new claim. For the past two years, Ascension has marketed the binding as “sewn and glued.” When I emailed them photos of the copy I received in December of 2018, they promised to look into the matter, but they did not get back to me. My attempts to follow up went unanswered. It’s possible that their sales and marketing team did not understand that “sewn” usually is a shorthand way of referring to a smyth-sewn binding, but I would be surprised to see a publishing house make that mistake.
Aside from the binding, the Great Adventure Bible is exceptionally well done. The paper and typesetting is beautiful, and the “alpha cowhide” imitation leather is good quality. A true smyth-sewn binding is the only major improvement it needs to be a truly high-quality Bible.
9 thoughts on “Follow-up on the Great Adventure Bible Binding”
This has been troubling. Yes it’s a fairly minor issue but their long term response is not what I expected from a major publishing house.
Yeah, I just don’t understand this. Surely they must have realized that marketing a feature like a sewn binding is only going to excite a very specific set of Catholic Bible buyers (namely the frequenters of this blog), and that this is the type of group who will know instantly if a binding is sewn or not and will get online and tell all their sewn binding loving friends. If they cared at all to market to this group, they surely would have know this much.
But I also have a hard time believing they actually were marketing to such a small group. I would suspect that 90%+ of the people who purchased this Bible couldn’t tell the difference between a sewn binding and a ham and cheese sandwich, so why bother marketing a feature that they knew they didn’t have and that the vast majority of their potential buyers wouldn’t care about either way?
Nothing about this makes any sense to me.
I submitted a query to the company (in regard to glue vs sewn binding), over two weeks ago, and no response has been forthcoming. Truly, with many companies curtailing responses due to pandemic limitations, this may be the issue.
Yet, contradictory information is a far greater concern.
I just received a response from Ascension Press:
“Thank you for contacting Ascension. The TGA bible is glued and sewn. It has a synthetic cover known as Alpha Cowhide. If you are disappointed with it you may return it for a refund. It is not due into our warehouse until May (2021).”
Unless it’s changed since I received mine, it’s glued. I see zero evidence of it being sewn. I have to assume they just don’t know what sewed binding is. And frankly, using the word cowhide is terribly misleading, given fine bibles actually do often have authentic cowhide. Those who don’t know better actually think it’s a leather cover. I wouldn’t consider purchasing one (mine was an unexpected gift) until I knew they resolved these issues, especially given the cost.
As an FYI, regarding Alpha Cowhide:
“ Alpha Cowhide® is a top-of-the-line synthetic covering material that provides the plush touch and smooth, gloss finish of leather desired in today’s branding and luxury design markets. The unique, impressionable touch of PU, in a collection of leather designs and a wide range of decoration options, makes Cowhide the designers’ choice for leather-like covering options. Both CPSIA and REACH 161 complaint, Alpha Cowhide® contains no solvents or heavy metals and passes all SGS requests.”
I have gone back and forth with Ascension Press about this topic via email to coax more specific information out of them. While I’m no expert on book binding, the most recent response is the most satisfactory to me. Here is part of the email:
“Yes, all of the Great Adventure Bibles are sewn and glued. Since the individual signatures are bound and sewn, then glued together, it may be difficult to locate the stitching.”
They then attached a picture of the stitching, and I was able to flip to the same page of my mid-2019 purchased Great Adventure Bible to confirm there is indeed stitching visible. The picture is of one of the presentation pages, specifically the “Baptized on, Confirmed on, Received First Holy Communion, Married on” page.
I don’t know if this is the “correct” type of sewing that you guys expect, but I hope this helps with the confusion.
There is a new Bible from Ascension, the Divine Mercy Bible (RSV-2CE.) It is confirmed to be sewn binding by people who have posted pictures on FaceBook. So I think there is a good chance the next printing of the GA Bible will be sewn as well. Here is the link to the Amazon listing:
Divine Mercy Catholic Bible https://www.amazon.com/dp/1950784479/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_CCA9GW2J8FVPV0D73E48
Glad for the binding.
Though I’m… slightly disturbed?… that there’s an entire Bible with notes suggesting Sacred Scripture is a vehicle to promote a specific devotion.
Seems somewhat out of keeping with what the Catechism says about the content of Divine Revelation in Scripture.
And with Dei verbum.
And with common sense.