After some speculation about the new 12th Edition handbook and its various versions, a helpful comment has cleared up the questions.
Nathan, a BSA national scout shop employee, who has seen the “shrink wrapped” books, left a comment on the original Scouting News post. Here is the skinny:
The 12th Edition of the Boy Scout Handbook will be released on August 1. There are five different versions of the handbook that will be available. The first two types are the spiral and perfect/glue bound books. The third is a mini handbook, which primarily contains all of the rank requirements. The fourth is a library edition, which is a larger, hard bound/hard cover version of the book. The last version is a deluxe set. I am not that aware of what the deluxe set is, only that it has something to do with all of the past Boy Scout Handbooks.
I should have known originally that there would be a glue bound and spiral version. The mini handbook is awesome for Scouts working requirements, though I wouldn’t consider that a version of the “handbook”, unless it is different than what I am thinking. The library and deluxe versions make sense with the 100th anniversary. I am surprised that there is not an official Spanish version being pushed out.
Thanks Nathan for clearing up the speculation!