I recently sent my Large Print Greek New Testament (Nestle-Aland 28th edition) off to Leonard’s Book Restoration Station for a custom rebinding. Just got it back and I couldn’t be happier with the finished product.
Before sharing a some pics of Leonard’s excellent workmanship I want to say a few things about why I believe it is worth investing some money in a good quality copy of Holy Scripture. In other words, when someone says he or she doesn’t agree with spending lots of money on Bibles, how do I reply? Personally, I do not insist that everyone should have an expensive Bible. If someone is content with their $15 pocket NT I have no problems. Unfortunately, when people protest to spending lots of money on a Bible there is usually an implicit assumption that we shouldn’t spend lots of money on a Bible, sometimes with the suggestion that our money could be put to a better (more pious) use. Apart from the fact that this seems strangely similar to the complaint of Judas Iscariot when a woman poured expensive perfume on Jesus (John 12.3-8), the following are several reasons why I think a good quality Bible is worth a pretty penny:
- The Bible is the most important book we will ever own. Since we are willing to spend lots of money on other important items (e.g., computers, cars, clothes, food, etc.) why are shouldn’t we be willing to do the same for our Bibles?
- There is symbolic value in having your Bible bound in animal skin (leather of various kinds).
- Good quality books last much longer than inexpensive ones. This is especially important for Bibles because of the sentimental value they often have.
- We call the Bible “Holy Scripture”. The physical form of the book can reflect this fact by setting it apart from others on your shelf. The miserable state of some bibles communicates more that “I don’t care about this book” than “This book is Holy”.
- For those who struggle with spending time reading Scripture there is a good chance they will desire it more if they have a copy of the Bible that is enjoyable to hold in their hand and that they can be proud of. When I see the poor quality of some people’s Bibles I can’t blame them for not wanting to spend time with it.
These are just a few reasons I believe Holy Scripture is worth investing more than a few dollars in. I never claim that having an expensive Bible is more pious than a cheap Bible. I certainly do not make people feel guilty for owning an inexpensive Bible. But if you have the means, then a good quality Bible is a worthy investment. And if you are looking for a place to have your favorite Bible rebound, let me recommend Leonard’s Book Restoration Station (LBRS).
And now to the pics…
I started out with a hard cover like this:
And LBRS turned it into this:
I had some very particular requests and LBRS was happy to work with me on them.
My leather of choice was soft-tanned goatskin. This particular batch was tobacco colored and I asked for them to add antiquing to it.
The antiquing really gave it a masculine, slightly rustic, look. The brown ribbons complement the color of the leather nicely. I also wanted to have an extra ribbon so they put two in, one for the gospels and one for the epistles.
As you can see, the binding is tight but it still lays flat. None of that snap-close-when-you-let-go happening here.
The “Genuine Goatskin” stamp on the inside cover was slightly off balance. But that type of thing can be expected when you are dealing with custom work done by hand. I consider it a reminder that my bible was being handled by a real human, not an impersonal factory machine. Some might call it a flaw, I say it adds character.
I also wanted a full yapp edge. This is when the edge of the leather extends beyond the pages. One nice benefit of this, apart from the aesthetic appeal, is the protection it provides the pages when inside a backpack or messenger bag.
I also wanted the spine to have prominent raised wrap-around ribs. I really like the distonguished look this gives it.
Here you can see how the ribs wrap around the side of the spine. Notice also how the antiquing effect highlights the natural grain pattern of the leather.
Here is a side view. I asked for the title, “Novum Testamentum Graece” to be hand-tooled into the spine, along with the Roman numeral “XXVIII” (28th edition text).
They also hand rubbed the antiquing into the text on the spine.
This really gave the text a bold look. Again the antiquing came out great with this color of leather.
And finally, here is a shot showing the relative size compared to a few other Bibles.
From the top: KJV pocket size snap cover, ESV Cambridge Clarion, NIV Allan, NA28 Large Print from LBRS.
They are all goatskin. The KJV is goatskin suede.
Notice the varying length of the cover edges. The ESV Cambridge Clarion does not have the yapp edge, the NIV does.
In sum, Leonard’s Book Restoration has done an excellent job on this project and I heartily recommend them. I can’t wait to spend time reading and studying Scripture in this new edition.