Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Semi-Regular Weekly Poll

What is your favorite type of Bible cover?

  • Paperback
  • Hardcover
  • Bonded Leather
  • Imitiation (Tru-Tone) Leather
  • Genuine Leather
  • Premium Leather



rolf said...

I picked genuine leather because I have never had a premium leather Bible (calfskin, goatskin). I have have/had 3 Bibles with French Morocco leather and numerous other marked genuine leather. The price of the Bible also comes into play, I probably won't be paying close to $200 for a Bible. My second choice would be imitation leather (tru-tone, librasario, etc), these have come a long way and are much better than bonded leather and some of them are as good as genuine leather!

Christopher W. Speaks said...

I voted for imitation leather because, as rolf said, these covers truly have come a long way and can easily mimic the overall effect of a genuine leather, which, when one's wallet is concerned, makes all the difference. Plus, you don't have to baby such a Bible, afraid you might get a water stain on the cover. The problem with imitation leather, of course, is that bindings are typically glued and there is a paucity of ribbon markers.

TS said...

I'm not sure I should've voted, given that I've never even held a book with premium leather (goat-skin, etc..). I chose genuine leather but I really like the librarsario.

Theophrastus said...

I vote for hardcover. A first rate cloth hardcover is so pleasant to hold in the hand, is very practical (no problem opening a Bible flat), and can be very high quality without costing a small fortune.

If a cloth hardcover is not available, leather-covered hardcover is a high-end alternative.

If one needs a softcover, I prefer one of the imitation leathers. These are reasonably priced, do not require the regular care that leather does, and are eminently practical.

Jonny said...

My overall favorite? Between the choices listed, I would have to say genuine leather… although I would add “leather-wrapped hardback” as my #1 choice. The best choice for a Bible would combine beauty and function. The leather-wrapped hardback looks great, will stand alone on a shelf without warping, and will stay open flat on a table at the beginning or end of the book. On the other hand, many genuine leather Bibles will stay open lying flat, and also have the smooth, rounded look that contributes to their popularity.

I think a person should also consider what a Bible will be used for before picking a cover. If one is buying a Bible to use as a secondary translation and/or notes for study at home or office, I believe a hardback is ideal. I don’t recommend paperback for any Bible because I have had nothing but bad experiences with them. Whether I shelve or transport a paperback Bible, I have found the edges of the covers and pages get knurled up and look awful. If one is trying to decide on the one Bible that they will use primarily, a hardback is still definitely a good choice if that is ones preference. The cobalt blue hardback Ignatius Bible is an example of a good-looking hardback I use regularly.

The term “imitation leather” can be deceptive and I generally try to avoid these. I have seen this term applied to everything from what amounts to "contact paper"-covered cardstock to the nicer polyurethane covers like the Librosario from Fireside. While the polyurethane is of good quality, I don’t think they look as good as the leather, and they have a tendency to get scuffed easier. Also, two major publishers of Catholic Bibles who are using this (St. Benedict/Tan and Fireside) are only offering them in a glued binding, which is a deal-breaker for me.

If there are any Bible readers like myself, the issue of standing your favorite Bibles on a shelf might not be an issue. I actually have a drawer in which I keep my favorite Bibles, Missals, and prayer books, each in its own zippered case. There are a few of these that are genuine leather with flexible covers, and I enjoy reading from these in my hand or on a table. One thing I really find unnecessary is the “premium” leather. I do not own one, but the ones that I have seen are so soft and floppy that they sag in your hand. I don’t understand the point in wrapping a Bible in goatskin when it costs twice as much and is less functional.

In conclusion, I must remind anyone who may read this not to judge a book solely by its cover. Especially if you are looking for that one special Bible to be your main one to read, don’t do yourself the disservice of buying one that doesn’t have any cross-references and chapter or page headings, no matter how high quality the cover and binding are! There are other features that are also very important, but those two are the minimum requirements for me.

Chrysostom said...

Premium (goatskin) leather top, followed closely by naugahyde, which is almost as nice, but not nearly as durable.

I can't stand cheap "real leather" like many Moroccos, that feel like plastic and don't retain their shape - I'd rather have a hardcover.

Bob England said...

I purchased a beautiful calfskin bible as a gift for a friend (a kjv from local church bible publishers) and loved it, but if asking for an overall favorite I would have to go with Genuine Leather/Berkshire/pigskin, so long as it's good quality. It's the price.

Pigskin is much less expensive, at least in the US, meaning much more affordable, and it's possible for publishers to offer a very high quality pigskin bible for a decent price. Sadly, though, most "genuine leather" bibles on the market use a cheaper grade and they're not worth purchasing. Having just had a bible rebound by Leonard's in mission grain pigskin, I can attest to its excellence as a binding leather. It's strong, suitably flexible (with featherlite liner) although not quite like the highland goatskin bindings that pour off the hands like melted butter, and it looks like it will last for decades. - But Leonard's "Genuine Leather" (which is how it's stamped) is noticeably superior to what I've seen on off the shelf bibles. It's also considerably more expensive to have a bible rebound like that and it's a shame that no Catholic publishers seem to be offering such a well crafted bible.