I received the Zondervan 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 a two-tone simulated leather, which is very soft to the touch. 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, and a little thicker. It is very nice to the touch and possible to handle with one hand.
The paper utilized is not your normal Bible paper, but it is thicker and opaque. It is off-white and would be very easy to write on. 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. This is not a wide-margin Bible so there is little room on the pages for note-taking. I do wish that this edition was smyth-sewn. I know that this would raise the price of the edition, but it would be worth the increase in price.
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 would produce Bibles with high quality opaque paper, and single-column paragraph formatting. The font is large and very readable. I would describe this as a large-print Bible. There is very little room for anything other than the Bible text on the page. This reduces opportunity for notes. This is a no-frills readers Bible. It is very much suited for personal reading and maybe study with the supplement of other resources. There is nothing extra – no concordance, dictionary, etc… This is fine. The Bible is more suited for personal reading.
Overall, I think that this edition of the NIV is a very good buy. If anyone is looking for a quality NIV with single-column paragraph-formatting that is very affordable – this is an excellent choice. It has sold at Wal Mart in the past and is less than $15.