Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DIY Bookbinding + Leather Bibles

J. Mark Bertrand's blog Bible Design and Binding is a site I check each week, due to its high quality photos and discussion on the best of the best in Bible design. Recently, he posted on how to do your own bookbinding, which you can read here. If I had any skill at all, I might attempt to do this with a couple of my Bibles, but alas I do not.

One topic that is brought up here on this blog quite frequently is the general lack of premium leather Catholic Bibles. This becomes all the more frustrating when you see how many editions the new NIV2011 comes in. However, with the release of the NABRE, there may be a possibility of a premium leather edition of it in the near future depending on any future publishers. As for the other main Catholic translations, most notably the RSV and NRSV, I wonder what the future holds. Any time I have contacted Ignatius Press, they routinely tell me that they have no plans of releasing the RSV-2CE in any new editions. Well, that is too bad if you ask me. As for the NRSV, HarperOne has indicated additional future releases of the NRSV-CE are likely, but who knows what they will actually do. So, we shall see. Do you have any hopes or desires for premium editions of Catholic Bible translations?


rolf said...

After viewing that, I know that I won't ever be rebinding any of my bibles soon. I would pay for rebinding as I would pay for a plumber or an electrician. I am still hoping that another publisher such as Cambridge will publish the NABRE in the future. They should want to be a part of the Catholic marketplace! 1.2 Billion Catholics in the world, is it too much to ask for a high quality bible? Somebody step up to the plate!

Anonymous said...

I took a look at the new 2011 NIV Study Bible the other day. Whatever problems one might have with the translation, the book is beautifully done, every part is carefully considered, and it is full of useful charts and illustrations. Its enormous popularity is I think well deserved.

The new version of the Catholic Study Bible doesn’t look too good in comparison. It appears unfinished, both by Oxford and by the editors, who if I understand Ms. Sperry correctly, have had to struggle to get it done. We should all be grateful to them and to everyone involved, but the whole project apparently needs more support than it has gotten. If Baptists can get together in support of a translation, why can’t the American Bishops? It’s the Bible, for heaven’s sake.

Before binding a Catholic translation in leather I would want to make sure it was ready for that treatment.

Anonymous said...

Im a bit of an ignoramus regarding leather bibles, as I've never owned one. Why would the various SBP leather editions not meet the high quality criteria?

Timothy said...

Anon (2?),

Follow the below link for the differences in genuine leather:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tim. Not to pick on SBP (I have and enjoy their ultrasoft DR) but they offer a "genuine leather" RSV. I assume this is not bonded leather. Anon(2)

Theophrastus said...

In fact, I prefer quality hardcover binding (with sewn signatures) to leather softcover binding. But I think leather softcover rebinding is problematic -- the results are rarely fully satisfactory, even when done by a master bookbinder. The fit is not close, and unless the book was originally smyth-sewn, the rebinding ends up making the book too tight.

The only time I use a book binder is when the original binding is actually starting to fail, and I have only had books rebound in hardcover or leather hardcover.

I have yet to see a rebound Bible that begins to compare with an R. L. Allen or high-quality Cambridge Bible. I think that in most case, rebinding is a gigantic waste of money.

Russ said...

I'm with Rolf. If I attempted something like that I would end up gluing something to either my hand or cat. BTW, Tim, I don't know if you saw this or not, but someone posted the following link ((http://d3p91it5krop8m.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/misc/esv_2011_changes.html)that show changes to the ESV in 2011. Although I own a copy of the ESV, I haven't spent a lot of time with it. Maybe some of your readers would enjoy looking it.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Thomas Nelson and Oxford publish NRSV-CE editions any longer?

Timothy said...


Not 100% sure, but I would say perhaps it has something to do with HarperCollins owning the rights to publish it from the NCCUSA.

It should be noted that Collins UK does publish an NRSV-CE edition with Grail Psalms:

Leonardo said...


I like to collect cd music, and it is very important to have the original, which has the case, the information, the printed portrait. For me is very different to have the original than to have a cd copy.

I have a kindle, and I consider that all its content has an expiration date.

Recently I bought a printed Bible, but for me, the one I use is the kindle's, because I can change the format to suit my needs.

Theophrastus said...

Both Oxford and Thomas Nelson let Bibles go out of print with considerable frequency -- even Bibles that have steady backlist sales.

However, I suspect that one significant factor in the decision to discontinue production of the NRSV-CE version is that both of them sell pew Bibles, and of course, in Catholic churches, the NRSV-CE is no longer authorized as a pew Bible.

Jonny said...

I do own a couple of nice leather-bound Bibles and I like them but the problem with them is that they don't stay open well at the beginning and the end of the book.

My overall favorite Bible in the area of quality and style is the Baronius Press Douay-Rheims leather-wrapped hardback. It is a good mix of traditional and modern style with a good binding.

Anonymous said...

Why does the Ignatius RSV-2CE put 1 and 2 Maccabees at the end of the OT?

Theophrastus said...

Maccabees is found at the end of the OT in the Clementine Vulgate (and the Nova Vulgata), as well as in the decrees of Trent.

However the CCC gives a different book order.

Both book orders are valid.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Theophrastus. I notice the RSV-CE follows the same order as the RSV-2CE, but that the NRSV-CE follows the CCC order for the OT. Do you know why the NRSV-CE editors decided to change it to the CCC order?

Timothy said...


I think there is a desire to keep the historical books of the Old Testament grouped together. That is why the NRSV, NAB, JB, and NJB all do.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a Family Bible edition and premium leather editions of the RSV-2CE. Also, nicer leather editions of the NRSV-CE would be nice. Ignatius Press really needs to do a better job marketing and releasing more, and nicer, editions of their bible. What a shame that they're not.

I like Fireside's New Catholic Answer Bible (Endurahide cover), but the one drawback to this edition is that there are no maps. None. I understand not having a dictionary or concordance, but really, no maps? It's puzzling because their other editions have a few pages of maps.

Timothy said...


Yes indeed! Part of the reason for this blog's existence is to promote better Catholic editions. Ignatius should do so much more than they do. So few editions of their RSV-2CE and so little promotion continues to hinder it's popularity in my mind. A true shame!

Macrina Walker said...

I realise that this is an old post, but you may be interested in the rebound leather Bibles I am selling here:

They're all hard-cover, although I do have plans to offer a couple of soft-cover options too (though I confess that I prefer hard-cover myself).

If you're interested in a Bible to review, I should be able to offer one in a month or two. Just let me know.