Leather-bound books

You can buy leather-bound books for $7 or $700,000. Leather book bindings have been used for centuries because leather is so hard-wearing and durable. It is also ideal for luxury editions. Leather book bindings can be plain, brown and protective, or highly decorative and called a fine binding. Thanks to its protective qualities, a leather-bound book can survive for many years.

Leather-bound books by Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble is also a publisher. This series of affordable classics are bound in bonded leather.
By George Lucas
By Richard Burton
By Alexandre Dumas
By Arthur Conan Doyle

Leather-bound books by Canterbury Classics

Canterbury Classics have genuine leather covers, printed endpapers, and ribbon bookmarks.
By H.P. Lovecraft
By Robert Frost
By Thomas Mallory
By Plato, Aristotle et al
By Henry James, Poe et al

Leather-bound books by Easton Press

Easton Press publishes premium leather-bound books.
By Anne McCaffrey
By James Fenimore Cooper
By J.R.R. Tolkien
By Charles Dickens
By Richard Burton et al

Leather-bound books by Franklin Library

The Franklin Library produced leather-bound books from the early 1970s until 2000.
By E.L. Doctorow
By Mickey Spillane
By William Butler Yeats
By Len Deighton
By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Leather-bound books by the Folio Society

The Folio Society produces limited editions, sometimes in leather.
By Sir Geoffrey Luttrell
By Voltaire
By Brothers Grimm

Fine leather bindings

Custom leather bindings from leading bookbinders.
By Baynton-Riviere
By Baynton-Riviere
By Baynton-Riviere
By Baynton-Riviere
By Sangorski & Sutcliffe

A guide to buying leather-bound books

It’s possible to shop for leather-bound books by searching for books issued by specialist publishers.

Easton Press specializes in leather-bound books with mid-range prices. The Franklin Library was a publisher of fine leather editions from the early 1970s until 2000. The Folio Society in the UK sometimes publishes leather-bound limited editions.

Canterbury Classics publishes famous titles in leather covers at affordable prices. Barnes & Noble also has an affordable leather-bound classic collection of books in bonded leather, which is a mixture of leftover real and artificial leather combined with a polyurethane binder – bonded leather is also called reconstituted leather or composition leather. Both Canterbury and Barnes & Noble produce colorful leather editions with minimal use of plain brown leather.

The Return of the King
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien published by Easton Press

The most expensive leather-bound books are custom bound by leading bookbinding firms such as Bayntun-Riviere, Sangorski & Sutcliffe, Monastery Hill, or Zaehnsdorf. In these cases, the value of the book is in the binding which can feature elaborate gilt designs or lettering.

To understand rare leather-bound books, you need to become familiar with the terms used to describe leather bindings.

Calf is the most common form of leather binding. It has a smooth surface with no identifiable grain. Its natural color is light brown but it can be treated to give a marbled or polished effect.

Morocco bindings, which can be dyed, are made from goatskin and appeal for their appearance. The name has no geographic meaning and just refers to goatskin.

There is also a white leather binding called Vellum, which was originally made from de-greased calfskin and today is produced from lamb, goat or other skins. Books with Cosway bindings, where a miniature painting is inset into the cover, are often bound in fine leather.

A full leather binding covers the front board, rear board and spine. A quarter leather binding covers the spine. Half leather is where the spine and corners are bound in leather.

More beautiful books

By Richard Davies
June 03, 2021
The Book of Miracles is perhaps not the right name. 'The book of biblical drama and things we don't understand' may be a better title. This beautiful book about a book is published by Taschen. It contains a facsimile of a mysterious manuscript from the 16th century along with two modern essays of explanatory comment on the history, meaning and importance of this manuscript.
2 Min Read
By Jessica Doyle
June 03, 2021
Penguin Drop Caps is a series of 26 rainbow-hued hardcover editions of literature's finest treasures. An edition for each letter of the alphabet, the series features authors from A (Jane Austen) to Z (Carlos Ruiz Zafon).
1 Min Read
June 03, 2021
Sandra Hindman is a leading expert on Medieval and Renaissance manuscript illumination. Professor Emerita of Art History at Northwestern University and owner of Les Enluminures, Sandra is author, co-author, or editor of more than 10 books, as well as numerous articles on history, illuminated manuscripts and medieval rings. AbeBooks posed a number of basic questions about medieval manuscripts and Sandra was kind enough to answer them.
6 Min Read