When looking to buy a leather bound Bible it is helpful to know what the different types of leather mean. Common descriptions for Bible binding included bonded and genuine leather. Genuine leather is made from full sheets of leather while bonded leather is made from fibers that are bound together but do not come from a continuous section of animal skin.
Besides the way the material is described, there are different animal sources for the product. When the source of the leather is not defined, it is assumed to be from a cow. Calfskin is softer that cowhide. Goatskin may be softer than cow (but not always), and is generally considered to be more durable. Sheepskin is sometimes used in the making of Bible covers, but not as often as the other materials.
Leather Bound Bible: Bonded
Of the different Bible binding types, the least expensive is bonded leather. This material may be constructed from real leather, but is made of fibers instead of a single sheet of leather. When genuine leather is trimmed to the proper thickness there are smaller strips, or even leather dust, which is bound together to make bonded leather. Because of the process of combining the different strips and fibers together there can be a wide variety in quality of a bonded leather Bible.
A good example to help understand the difference between genuine and bonded leather is to think about wood and paper. Wood used in constructing a house may be made from the same tree that paper is made from. However, one is a solid piece of the tree while the other is bound together from the sawdust and fibers of the tree. The correlation to leather is that one is the full product (genuine) and the other is a mixture of the fibers and a binding agent (bonded). The ability to make bonded leather is a by-product of creating genuine leather covers.
Leather Bound Bible: Genuine
Genuine leather refers to continuous strips of material used to make a Bible cover. These are higher quality leather bound Bibles because there is less of a risk of the binding coming apart. Because they are of higher quality genuine leather Bibles are more expensive.Â
Sometimes the leather is stamped with various patterns to look like other materials. Most of the time, however, when a binding is labeled genuine leather it is from a cow even if it is stamped with another animal pattern.
Leather Bound Bible: Calfskin
A calfskin Bible is enjoyable to the touch. Calfskin is known for its softness and fine grain. It is used in making fine products like shoes and purses. Calfskin is not as durable as cowhide or goatskin, but as a Bible cover it is a delight to hold. Though it is not as durable as cowhide, it is still plenty strong for a Bible cover.
Leather Bound Bible: Goatskin
Goatskin is a good mix between the durability of cowhide and the suppleness of calfskin. Goatskin is often used in making drum heads and rugs because of the strength of the product. Because it is a soft material it is also popular in the making of gloves and boots. When looking for the highest quality material for a leather bound Bible, goatskin and calfskin are the top choices.
Leather Bound Bible: Moroccan
Some Bibles use a material which is listed as Morocco Leather. This is generally goatskin or calfskin, but sometimes sheepskin. When something is labeled French Morocco it is almost always calfskin or sheepskin whereas traditional MoroccoÂ is goatskin.
There are vast price differences in leather bound Bibles. Bonded leather is a lower quality product than genuine leather. Both bonded and genuine leather bound Bibles can be from different sources such as cowhide, calfskin or goatskin.
When purchasing a new Bible it is often possible to spend time in a local Christian bookstore which will allow the customer to look at and handle the different Bibles and bindings. Many bookstores will have their higher quality bindings behind the sales counter. Because of the price of the higher quality bindings, one may need to visit a couple of different stores to have a chance to handle all the different types of leather bound Bibles that are available on the market.