A Reader’s Hebrew and Greek Bible (Zondervan) Rebound by Leonard’s Books

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I sent a copy of Zondervan’s A Reader’s Hebrew and Greek Bible off to Leonard’s Book Restoration Station in Burrows, Indiana a few weeks ago. I did this for two interconnected reasons: 1) The “Bonded European Leather” it came bound in seemed more akin to “Stiff and Ugly European Garbage.” 2) That is just as well, as I love custom projects and I love high quality leather rebinds!

The specs on this particular project are as follows:

  • Pebble Grain Cowhide in “Distressed Walnut”
  • 3/8″ overhang (“yapp”)
  • Brown leatherette linings and end papers
  • 3/8″ ribbons (forest green, dark brown, and silver) extending about 4″ below the text block
  • Raised bands on the spine
  • Silver imprinting to match the silver gilding

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Simple enough, but the outcome is simply glorious. I am admittedly given to hyperbole, but this is quite possibly the nicest leather Bible I have handed, seen, or smelled (and I have a few to choose from!). I have three of five senses invested, which seems insufficient for this beauty; but I can’t figure out how to hear or taste it (yet).

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A few observations: the leather is thicker than their normal pebble grain, which is well suited to a large Bible like this one (about 9″ x 6″ x 2″). It is incredibly flexible though. It’s grain is very pronounced- large and round. It’s shade is quite nuanced- medium brown with an ever so slight reddish tint. It smells like a fancy leather shoe…a new one though (omit the word “foot” from your mind NOW)!

Brown in context...clockwise from top: Pitt Minion, Pitt Minion, Personal Reference, Chocolate brown Allan, Antique Brown Allan, Brown Calf Clarion, Deep Brown Heirloom Legacy
Brown in context…clockwise from top: Brown Cowhide ESV PRB, Brown Goatskin Pitt Minion, Brown Calfsplit Pitt Minion, Chocolate Brown Allan, Antique Brown Allan, Brown Calfskin Clarion, Deep Brown Heirloom Legacy…and the Distressed Walnut is in the center, where it belongs!

I think I probably tested the patience of our good folks at Leonard’s through my persistent questions and the 15 leather, ribbon, and end page samples I requested! But their patience remained intact; and Margie, you were really a trooper and a delight to work with! And I P1010207honestly don’t think I could be happier with the outcome, and that’s saying something, since I am a very picky one. I didn’t know how silver gilding would go with brown because I’ve never seen that combination. So I was leaning toward forest green or navy blue leather, but I couldn’t shake that Distressed Walnut from my mind. Margie assured me it would work well with silver, and man oh man does it ever. To my fellow Lord of the Rings junkies, I believe wholeheartedly it would be Legolas’ color choice… and you know I’m paying it a high compliment by saying so :). Nerd-talk aside, I can’t really imagine any factors that could make me like this thing more!

P1010209Biblia Sacra / Hebraica et Graeca is Latin, and it means Holy Bible / Hebrew and Greek. Why did I choose Latin imprinting for a Bible containing no Latin? Because it’s a good mediating language for the two included inside, and also Leonard’s doesn’t do Hebrew or Greek letters …not at all because its the hipster thing to do 😉 ! I have paid so much attention to beautiful English Bibles that I’ve almost forgotten my theological and exegetical upbringing, and I deemed it about time to invest some effort in a quality original language edition of the Bible. Since none exist, at least none close to the standards set by Allan, Schuyler, Cambridge, and Crossway, I had to make my own.

If you’re looking to custom make your own premium Bible, or have your old standby repaired or rebound, choose Leonard’s!  Their website does the job okay, but it isn’t a cakewalk finding what you want among the myriad of options, so look around, ask lots of questions (bookbinding@leonardsbooks.com), check out their Facebook page, and good luck!

And lest we get lost in leather-bound English-Bible luxury, please remember to pray for translations in the remaining 1,859 Bible-less languages in our world. Click here to see my heart on the matter and to even support the work of Bible translation.

I’ll quit talking now and let you check out the photo gallery.

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15 thoughts on “A Reader’s Hebrew and Greek Bible (Zondervan) Rebound by Leonard’s Books

      1. I just saw this now as I am considering another project. Your’s is beautiful. I’ll try to remember to post some photos later. Mine is goatskin.

      2. Thanks for commenting, Alan. Yeah, this is a pretty special leather, and a glorious finished product! What goatskin did you chose? I’ve had their river grain goatskin before, which was pretty nice (maybe I should write that one up too at some point). I’d love to see photos of yours.

      3. oh, and if you’re considering another project, I highly recommend this pebble grain cowhide…especially for a biggish Bible. Super flexible but nice and thick too. I have no regrets on this one (which is uncommon for a perfectionist like me : )

  1. My Hebrew Reader is a black soft tanned goatskin, Your’s is a lot nicer. My USB Greek Reader is the same leather in a brown. That one looks a lot nicer I think, and for some reason even though the goatskins are the same product the brown ii a bit thicker and just slightly less flexible. The goatskin on the larger Hebrew Reader is a little more, and a little too, flexible for the thicker text block. I will try to upload a few photos but wasn’t having any success earlier.

  2. Just wanted to drop you a note and say that I had the same project done for me, using your exact specs, minus the words on the cover–I dislike the attention from fellow churchgoers when they see the Hebrew and Greek stuff and start asking questions… Here is the result:

    Thank you for this blog post and for the great idea. I loved my RHGB, but that terrible original cover was like the plastic sheet at the front of a spiral notebook, and soon it had torn away from the pages entirely. Now I’m good for many years!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Trey! Looks like yours turned out great…I’m glad my choices provided inspiration 🙂 …I like the idea of leaving the spine bare; I may have to try it next time around.

  3. Thank you for all the pictures — you have me almost convinced to do the same myself. I’ve sent in to Leonard’s for a quote, but they’re about to go on break for a few days. Could I get an approximate cost for this project?

    1. Thanks for commenting, Bryce. The binding treatment for this particular cowhide was $124.50, not bad at all considering what you get. Add to that the price of the book (if you need to purchase the book) and the shipping costs, which vary based on how you choose to ship it and have it shipped back to you (flat rate USPS priority box is always my recommendation for expensive books like these). The price list for most options can be found here: http://www.leonardsbooks.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Price-List.pdf

      1. Great, thank you. That’s what I was wondering. Yes, it sounds like a good price for what you get.

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