Back in the day -- back when I was a lowly seminary student (early 1980s) I worked in a Christian bookstore selling Bibles. Back then there were quite a few options, but nothing like today. The NIV was brand new and I was still a fan of the NASB. But as far as editions it was pretty much hardback, leather, paper or imitation leather -- color choices ran from black to burgundy. There were a few study bibles, but not that many. Even then making a decision could take some time.
Well how things have changed. Not only are there many more translations available -- I'm partial to the NRSV (see my bookstore in the sidebar) -- but there are many other choices. Stephanie Simon wrote a Column One piece yesterday (Christmas Day) entitled: "Selling the Good Book by its cover." The focus was primarily on Zondervan, which has sought to bring the Bible up-to-date with all numbers of fabrics and colors, as well as niched bibles for every age and interest (personally I'm waiting for a Hugh Hefner edition).
There are Magna bibles and teen fashion themed one. Why all this effort --- well, how else to you get people to buy Bibles (still the number one selling book) to an American populace -- 91% of whose households already own one? The question is how far is too far? And when does the Bible get lost in its wrappings?
One last thing -- there seem to be so many choices out there that half the buyers go home empty handed -- confused. My suggestion is go to my bookstore and buy one of the NRSV's listed!
So, if you've been wondering about all of this -- read the article here and let me know what you think.