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A typographically elegant Bible designed for reading—back for Kickstarter Gold.
A typographically elegant Bible designed for reading—back for Kickstarter Gold.
A typographically elegant Bible designed for reading—back for Kickstarter Gold.
631 backers pledged $109,452 to help bring this project to life.

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Kickstarter Gold: BIBLIOTHECA

$109,452

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Video by Joseph McMahon and Daniel Williams Cinematography by Eric Schleicher | Intro music by Michael Gungor and Tyler Chester | Outro music by Chris Zabriskie

 

Covered by The Verge, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, and Huffington Post

“Every element has been carefully considered to make reading a pleasurable experience.”

–The Verge

“Invites readers to pick up the central book of Western civilization and engage with it on its own terms.”

–First Things

“Bibliotheca is a labor of love, obsessively beautiful, lavishly minimalist, every detail pondered yet rendered with such breathtaking simplicity that something very difficult has been made to look easy.”

–Lectio

 

Bibliotheca Deluxe Edition
Bibliotheca Deluxe Edition

 

 

 

 

What is Kickstarter Gold?

From Kickstarter: “Some of the most inventive projects in Kickstarter history are back – with a twist . . . Now through July 31, a group of over 65 exceptional artists, designers, musicians, and makers will be back on Kickstarter, putting new spins on ideas from their past projects . . . Participating creators were specially selected for their creativity, ingenuity, and past success on Kickstarter. We’re spotlighting them because they do excellent work.”

We are extremely honored to be invited to participate. And it just so happens we are nigh upon the three-year anniversary of Bibliotheca’s launch, June 27, 2014. Preparing for Kickstarter Gold has a been fun way to look back and reflect.

With the same $37,000 goal as before, I'm keeping things simple and bringing back a few of my favorite rewards that are sold out or were only available during the campaign, but I'm also adding a couple limited-edition items I hope you'll find interesting.

What is Bibliotheca?

If you haven't heard of the project, Bibliotheca's 2014 Kickstarter video is a good place to start.

But in summary, Bibliotheca is a five-volume, typographically minimalist edition of the Bible that was originally funded on Kickstarter in 2014 and published in 2016.

It stems from the idea that the ubiquitous form of “The Bible” – ultra-thin paper, two-column pages packed edge-to-edge with densely spaced type, numbers and navigational elements strewn about, bonded leather, etc. – is not the only, or even the best way to encounter these foundational ancient texts.

By removing all the added material, separating the text into several volumes, and applying age-old principles of book design, Bibliotheca is meant to provide a fresh alternative to the reader who wants to enjoy the biblical library anew, as great literary art.

Using simple, quality materials curated from across Europe, the books were printed and bound by the skilled craftspeople at Kösel, a book manufacturer in Germany founded in 1593.

The translation featured in Bibliotheca is a fresh, scholar-reviewed update of the 1901 American Standard Version. (Read more about the translation below.)

Bibliotheca features an original typeface, optimized for readability and prepared exclusively for this project.

Finally, this recent review from Lectio provides a nice overview of the finished product. You may also like to check out the original Kickstarter project and Bibliotheca's website.

 

Original typeface designed specially for Bibliotheca
Original typeface designed specially for Bibliotheca

 

 

Kickstarter Gold Rewards

Note: All copies of Bibliotheca that are included with rewards are from the first printing of the first edition. For information about the difference between the 4- and the 5-volume sets, scroll to the very bottom of this page.

New Rewards:

  • Bibliotheca Companion Notebook
  • Bibliotheca Super Limited Edition Hand-bound 5-Volume Set (Not posted – coming soon. If you're interested, I recommend pledging $1 to get project updates.)

Throwback Rewards:

  • Bibliotheca Paperback Set
  • The Deluxe Edition: Bibliotheca Clothbound 5-Volume Set housed in the Solid Walnut Slipcase
  • The Solid Walnut Slipcase a la carte
  • Letterpress Prints (remaining from the first and only printing)

Bibliotheca Paperback Edition

The paperback edition was intended to be a more economical and bare-bones option for backers of the original campaign. It would feature the same sewn binding, dimensions, and premium paper as the clothbound edition. There were no details beyond that; nobody (including me) knew what they would look like. For that reason, relatively few people backed the project at that reward level. But now I can show you exactly how it turned out.

 

Bibliotheca Paperback Edition
Bibliotheca Paperback Edition

 

Bound in 100% recycled acid-free paperboard.
Bound in 100% recycled acid-free paperboard.

 

Sewn lay-flat binding. Free spine.
Sewn lay-flat binding. Free spine.

 

Some folks who own both the clothbound and paperback editions have told me they prefer the latter because they feel they can toss it around a bit more. We made a very limited number of these, and after sending the pledged copies to backers, there are only about 200 of the five-volume and 100 of the four-volume sets left, only available as rewards here.

Bibliotheca Companion Notebook

When production of Bibliotheca was finished, there were a few leftover tons of our very special, made-to-order paper. (It’s standard practice to order some overage in case of problems in the production process – we ordered a total of something like 130 tons.) I wanted to put this paper to use, but I wasn’t sure how. 

A friend of mine, as he was examining a sample of the above-lauded paperback edition, mentioned that he would love to have a blank notebook of the same size and construction. A grand idea, I thought, and a worthy application of the extra paper.

 

Blank Unruled Notebook. Same size and construction as the paperback edition of Bibliotheca.
Blank Unruled Notebook. Same size and construction as the paperback edition of Bibliotheca.

 

Sewn lay-flat binding. Free spine.
Sewn lay-flat binding. Free spine.

 

A notebook, a sketchbook, a journal—there are no rules. (It’s actually unruled.)

Bound in sturdy, charcoal paperboard made from 100% recycled material; the same dimensions as Bibliotheca; and, of course, the same premium Austria-made, wood-free, acid-free, age-resistant, stone-based paper we used for Bibliotheca.

Solid Walnut Slipcase

Made in Michigan of U.S.- or Canada-grown walnut. Can be made to fit either the 4-volume (sans Apocrypha) or 5-volume clothbound set.

Bibliotheca housed in the Solid Walnut Slipcase
Bibliotheca housed in the Solid Walnut Slipcase

 

This was a popular reward during the original campaign. We made a handful of extras in the first round of production, but they sold out quickly. (Although, as I write this, there are still a few of the 4-volume slipcases available for immediate shipment at our store, but if you can wait several months for a new round of production, the reward level here on Kickstarter is a lower price.)

The standard paperboard slipcase (included with all sets) fits snugly into the walnut slipcase.
The standard paperboard slipcase (included with all sets) fits snugly into the walnut slipcase.

 

As far as I'm concerned, the walnut slipcase adds the final touch.

Letterpress Broadsides

Original artwork by Adam Lewis Greene / “Christogram and The Four Evangelists” / Limited edition 12x12 letterpress broadside / Metallic pewter ink / Signed & numbered / (IC XC NIKA = Jesus Christ Conquers)
Original artwork by Adam Lewis Greene / “Christogram and The Four Evangelists” / Limited edition 12x12 letterpress broadside / Metallic pewter ink / Signed & numbered / (IC XC NIKA = Jesus Christ Conquers)

 

 

Mark’s Symbol
Mark’s Symbol

 

John’s Symbol
John’s Symbol

 

Original artwork by Adam Greene / “The Four Living Creatures of Ezekiel's Vision” / Limited edition 12x12 letterpress broadside / Metallic pewter ink / Signed & numbered
Original artwork by Adam Greene / “The Four Living Creatures of Ezekiel's Vision” / Limited edition 12x12 letterpress broadside / Metallic pewter ink / Signed & numbered

 

After the original campaign, we printed a higher number of these than were backed in case we needed to replace items damaged in transit, etc. The first print, “Christogram & The Four Evangelists” is an edition of 900, and “The Four Living Creatures of Ezekiel’s Vision” is 700. Kickstarter Gold seemed like a good opportunity to make the remaining prints available: We have just 50 of “Christogram” and 100 of “Ezekiel’s Vision” spread out across various rewards.

On the Translation (for the Geeks)

“By presenting an unfamiliar translation in an unfamiliar format, Bibliotheca delivers an experience that is especially revelatory.” 

–Lectio 

“This began as a design project, and it is certainly magnificent in that regard alone. But the greatest feat here is the exquisitely poetic new translation.” 

–Matt Steel, Love Letters 

The 2014 campaign surpassed our goal nearly forty times over. This created new possibilities for the project. The most significant development was the decision to carry out a more in-depth overhaul of the exceptionally literal 1901 American Standard Version (ASV) than initially planned. (The ASV is a revision of The King James Version, maintaining its essential style but making many improvements to the translation where three centuries of textual criticism and advances in ancient Greek and Hebrew lexicography had shed light.)

Before the campaign launched, I was planning to go through the text with some bookish friends and simply replace archaic pronouns and verbs (i.e. “thou” with “you,” “doth” with “does”), Young's Literal Translation close at hand for comparing difficult passages. With the extra funding, we were able to hire a managing editor to develop a style guide for updating the archaic language and punctuation in the ASV, a team of professional copy editors to apply the style guide across the text, a few research editors to examine complex issues, two veteran Bible proofreading companies to check for errors and ensure consistency, and seven PhD biblical language experts holding positions at Emory, Oxford, Fuller, Wheaton, and other reputable institutions to review the text. 

“Without damaging the literary quality of the base translation, we were able to suggest many changes that would bring the translation up to par with where textual criticism and Greek [and Hebrew] lexicography currently stand, not to mention alert Adam to a few all-out mistranslations of the original Hebrew and Greek in the ASV (every translation has them).”

David DeSilva, Trustees Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary; PhD Emory University, MDiv Princeton Theological Seminary, AB Princeton University

Essentially, our approach was to update explicitly archaic words and grammatical structures (“Go ye out” became “Go out”) but also to preserve, as much as possible, the markedly literary quality of the ASV. 

We’ve named this revision The American Literary Version.

For more information, check out the original campaign and these informative articles and interviews.

*

What’s the difference between the 4-Volume Set and the 5-Volume Set?

The extra book in the 5-Volume Set includes the collection of texts commonly called “The Apocrypha” or “Deuterocanonical Books,” various assortments of which are included in the Catholic and Orthodox canons and considered by them to be an authoritative second part of the “Old Testament.” They are not included in the Jewish or Protestant canons.

Before I launched the campaign, when I imagined Bibliotheca would be a small affair, I had decided not to include the Apocrypha in the set. But when things started taking off, many people asked me to add it. I hadn’t accounted for a fifth volume in my production costs, so I set a stretch goal: If the campaign hit $1 million, I would add the Apocrypha as an optional volume. Hence the existence of the 4- and 5-volume sets.

These are ancient Jewish texts, most of them predating the New Testament. They are invaluable to our knowledge of this period of Jewish history and literature and in understanding the world in which the New Testament authors lived. And, like the rest, it’s great reading.

Risks and challenges

This is a low risk project.

If we meet our goal, we'll place an order for walnut slipcases with our Michigan-based manufacturer. We’ve already done a large round of production with them, so we know our costs and turnaround.

The clothbound sets, paperback sets, blank notebooks, and prints are ready to ship. If you back a reward that includes the walnut slipcase, all of your rewards will ship with the slipcase when production is complete in December.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Bibliotheca Companion Notebook

    Blank unruled notebook

    All the same specs as Bibliotheca's paperback edition:
    • Smythe-sewn, lay-flat binding
    • made-to-order stone paper
    • durable, 100% recycled, acid-free paperboard cover
    • 448 unruled pages
    • 5.5" x 9"

    Limited Edition

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    Limited 107 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Letterpress Print – “Ezekiel’s Vision”

    “The Four Living Creatures of Ezekiel's Vision”

    An interpretation of the mystifying creatures described in the prophet Ezekiel’s inaugural vision

    Original artwork by Adam Lewis Greene

    • 12x12 letterpress print
    • Pewter ink on pure cotton paper
    • Signed & numbered

    Remaining from an edition of 700

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    Limited 12 backers
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Letterpress Print – “Evangelists”

    “Christogram and the Four Evangelists”

    A traditional arrangement of the symbols of the four evangelists encompassing a Christogram

    Original artwork by Adam Lewis Greene

    • 12x12 letterpress print
    • Pewter ink on pure cotton paper
    • Signed & numbered

    Remaining from an edition of 900

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    Reward no longer available 30 backers
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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Both Letterpress Prints

    “Christogram and the Four Evangelists”
    “The Four Living Creatures of Ezekiel's Vision”

    Original artwork by Adam Lewis Greene

    • 12x12 letterpress prints
    • Pewter ink on pure cotton paper
    • Signed & numbered

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $104 or more About $104

    Solid Walnut Slipcase (for 5-Vol. Set)

    Made to fit the 5-Volume clothbound set that includes the Apocrypha

    Made in the U.S. of solid walnut grown in the U.S. or Canada

    The first production run of the 5-volume slipcase is sold out. We're funding a new round at a lower cost to backers.

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    29 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $104 or more About $104

    Solid Walnut Slipcase (for 4-Vol. Set)

    Made to fit the 4-Volume clothbound set that does NOT include the Apocrypha

    Made in the U.S. of solid walnut grown in the U.S. or Canada

    The first production run of the 4-volume slipcase is nearly sold out. We're funding a new round at a lower cost to backers.

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    2 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    Complete Your Set (for 5-Vol. Set)

    If you already have the 5-Volume Set, complement it with the Solid Walnut Slipcase and the Companion Notebook

    Includes:
    • Walnut Slipcase (for 5-Volume Set)
    • Bibliotheca Companion Notebook
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    Limited 44 backers
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    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    Complete Your Set (for 4-Vol. Set)

    If you already have 4-Volume Set, complement it with the Solid Walnut Slipcase and the Companion Notebook

    Includes:
    • Walnut Slipcase (for 4-Volume Set)
    • Bibliotheca Companion Notebook
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    Limited 3 backers
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    EARLY BIRD 5-Vol. Paperback Edition

    1st Edition Paperback 5-Volume Set
    (includes the Apocrypha)

    • Smythe-sewn, lay-flat binding
    • made-to-order stone paper
    • durable, 100% recycled, acid-free paperboard cover
    • 5.5" x 9"

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    EARLY BIRD 4-Vol. Paperback Edition

    1st Edition Paperback 4-Volume Set
    (does NOT include the Apocrypha)

    • Smythe-sewn, lay-flat binding
    • made-to-order stone paper
    • durable, 100% recycled, acid-free paperboard cover
    • 5.5" x 9"

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    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $160 or more About $160

    5-Vol. Paperback Edition

    1st Edition Paperback 5-Volume Set (Includes the Apocrypha)

    • Smythe-sewn, lay-flat binding
    • made-to-order stone paper
    • durable, 100% recycled, acid-free paperboard cover
    • 5.5" x 9"

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    Pledge $160 or more About $160

    4-Vol. Paperback Edition

    1st Edition Paperback 4-Volume Set (does NOT include the Apocrypha)

    • Smythe-sewn, lay-flat binding
    • made-to-order stone paper
    • durable, 100% recycled, acid-free paperboard cover
    • 5.5" x 9"

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $190 or more About $190

    5-Vol. Paperback Edition + Notebook

    1st Edition Paperback 5-Volume Set (Includes the Apocrypha) and Companion Notebook

    • Smythe-sewn, lay-flat binding
    • made-to-order stone paper
    • durable, 100% recycled, acid-free paperboard cover
    • 5.5" x 9"

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    Pledge $190 or more About $190

    4-Vol. Paperback Edition + Notebook

    1st Edition Paperback 4-Volume Set (Does NOT include the Apocrypha) and Companion Notebook

    • Smythe-sewn, lay-flat binding
    • made-to-order stone paper
    • durable, 100% recycled, acid-free paperboard cover
    • 5.5" x 9"

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Clothbound Set + Companion Notebook

    1st Edition Clothbound 5-Vol. Set with the Limited Edition Companion Notebook

    Note: This reward is only available with the 5-Vol. set that includes the Apocrypha

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    Pledge $275 or more About $275

    Bibliotheca Deluxe Edition

    1st Edition Clothbound 5-Vol. Set housed in the Solid Walnut Slipcase

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    57 backers
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Gold Set

    Bibliotheca Deluxe Edition (1st Edition Clothbound 5-Vol. Set housed in the Solid Walnut Slipcase) + Companion Notebook

    Note: This reward is only available with the 5-Vol. set that includes the Apocrypha

    Includes:
    • 5-Vol. Clothbound Set in Walnut Slipcase
    • Bibliotheca Companion Notebook
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    Limited 104 backers
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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $550 or more About $550

    GIFT PACKAGE – Deluxe Edition

    Get one. Gift one.

    Note: This reward is only available with the 5-Vol. set that includes the Apocrypha

    Includes:
    • 5-Vol. Clothbound Set in Walnut Slipcase
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    Limited 6 backers
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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    GIFT PACKAGE - Gold Set

    Get one. Gift one.

    Note: This reward is only available with the 5-Vol. set that includes the Apocrypha

    Includes:
    • 5-Vol. Clothbound Set in Walnut Slipcase
    • Bibliotheca Companion Notebook
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    Limited 9 backers
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    Pledge $4,500 or more About $4,500

    Bibliotheca: Fine, Hand-bound Edition

    For details see Update #2

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    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)