I received the Cambridge NIV single-column text Bible as a review copy some months ago. The Bible itself has a duo-tone/simulated leather cover (depending upon which publisher is describing the material). It is an ostrich print, two-tone simulated leather, which is very soft to the touch. Cambridge is better known for its smyth-sewn, goat-skin leather Bibles. I own an NASB with these features and it is an exquisite piece of craftsmanship. It is important to note that this is the 1984 edition of the NIV, released prior to the 2011 update (in case anyone was wondering). The Bible itself is easy to handle, being the size of a reference Bible, maybe a little larger. It is very nice to the touch and possible to handle with one hand.
The paper utilized by Cambridge is beautiful. It is off-white and very opaque. You cannot notice any bleed-through from the other pages. This is an important selling point for Bible manufacturers. Readers desire to read one page and one text at one time. We do not want the distraction of bleed-through. I personally would rather pay more for an edition of the Bible that featured high quality, opaque paper, and a sewn-binding, than a cheaper one without these features. In the long run, these features are well worth the extra cost. Such Bibles are not only nicer to use, but last longer. This is not a wide-margin Bible but there is a little room on the pages for note-taking.
The text is in a single-column, paragraph format which is a joy to read. The NIV is very readable and the formatting makes it even more so. The opaqueness of the paper reduces distraction because of not having bleed-through and allows the reader to focus on the biblical text at hand. I wish that every Bible manufacturer followed the lead of Cambridge and featured smyth-sewn bindings, high quality opaque paper, and single-column paragraph format in their Bibles. The font is an old-time lettering, which gives the sense of antiquity rather than the “bubble-lettering” that some publishers are utilizing. It makes the text very readable and sets it apart as something different than a newspaper.
Overall, I think that this edition of the NIV is a very good buy. If anyone is looking for a high quality NIV, smyth-sewn, single-column paragraph-format, without breaking the bank – this is an excellent choice.