Finely Bound Catholic Bibles


Can the community recommend makers of finely bound Catholic Bibles, either in English or Latin? For the purposes of this thread, fake leather automatically disqualifies a book.

I am a stickler for well-made books. They are aesthetically pleasing, and this very much does translate into a better reading experience. It may sound silly, but it’s true. The layout, binding, art, paper, opacity, colors, and even the smell, all matter.

I do prefer leather, but a regular hardback with paper-covered boards is also acceptable, as long as it really is a great binding.

I think that of any institution worldwide, the Catholic Church should be able to generate sufficient interest in beautiful books.

Would you just look at these beautiful Protestant Bibles?

And for the most impressive, Bible Yoga!

This is a great blog.

I am not aware of a similar Catholic endeavor.


Check out Baronius Press. I got myself a copy of their 1962 Missal after looking at a copy from a friend. I think you could expect their Bibles to be of great quality too :slight_smile:


:slight_smile: Yes, I have their Missal. I would like to own their Knox Bible.


I have a copy of the Baronius Press Douay Rheims Bible. Really like it. I did have a problem with the gold leaf on the cover falling off. But it has settled down and is a pleasure to read.


I’ve seen this subject pretty often on these forums, as well as elsewhere. Honestly, I have come to the conclusion that the words finely made, bound, high quality and Catholic Bible publishers simply don’t mix. Not at least in comparison to what you can find from protestant publishers.

With that said, my personal favorite as far as quality would be a DR I own from Baronius Press. At least it ha a sewn binding, is laid out well, and is decent quality overall. In first place, I probably put my Oxford Press NOAB\RSV with Apocrypha. While not a “Catholic” Bible per say, all the books are there and it is very well made. Still not as good as a KJV, with Apocrypha, that I have from Cambridge, but not bad at all.

I think the only way to get something of the quality you are referring too on the Bible Design page is to take the best thing you can find, and have it sent out for rebinding to a place like Leonards book restoration. I’m thinking of doing this with a very old, yet in decent condition text block wise, copy of the DR with Confraternity New Testament I have.

In the end, I really, really wish a Catholic publisher would come out with something like the following:

Goat Skin Cover
Smith Sewn

I’d be happy to pay pretty much anything for it.


Goat Skin Cover
Smith Sewn


Unfortunately I don’t have much to offer as far as suggestions, but I completely agree with you here. And I think this is particularly true with regards to religious texts, Bibles, Missals, etc

The St. Edmund Campion Missal is a great book, especially considering it’s price :thumbsup:


The Easton Press makes pretty decent leather-bound books–novels, nonfiction, etc–with nice details like watered silk endpapers which is absolutely gorgeous

and of course the to-be-expected blindstamping and inset page markers.

They also make some extremely luxurious special editions. They do make Bibles and Catholic books. They produce a leather-bound Catechism.

However, I am afraid I am not willing to spend $1000 on a Bible.

I think it should be completely doable to make a goatskin sewn Bible in nice colors with a good aesthetic for $300 or less.


Here’s one that should meet your criteria


Yes, especially the Heritage Edition which will only set you back about $100,000. I wonder if that comes with a payment plan?


Yes! I wish Cambridge would publish the RSV-2CE or the NABRE in their Reference Bible edition. I have the NRSV with Apocrypha Reference Bible in French Morocco leather, and it is nice.


Payment plan for that probably includes options for kidneys and livers :wink:

Jokes aside, and back to the original topic.

St. Benedict Press has some beautiful genuine leather bibles in RSV, NAB and Douay Rheims, and they don’t cost a liver and kidney either :slight_smile:


Saint Benedict Press has an impressive collection of Bibles and translations, ranging from the NABRE, to RSV-CE, to Douay, and a Confraternity NT. One thing to keep in mind, is that their leather covers are not premium leather and the binding is not sewn.

However, they are having a fantastic sale this week:


I have a few editions from Saint Benedict Press. They are a prime example of a mediocre Catholic publisher. While their Bibles look OK, as you state, they do not offer premium leather, sewn bindings, or anything else that goes into a quality book\Bible. (And their normal pricing is not that great either for such average quality).

I don’t mean to sound so negative on them, but they are no different than Ignatius in terms of quality. Why can’t either of these major publishers make anything that’s even close to a Cambridge or Allan Bible? Even the Oxford Press NOAB editions have sewn bindings.

Sorry to sound frustrated, but I am.


Your frustration is shared by many people. However, I have been in contact with RL Allan’s in the UK and they are seriously considering publishing a Catholic bible in the next year or two.


This would be a major break through if it ever comes about. They don’t even publish an English translation with the ‘Apocrypha’ in it now, so we can only hope. I would have thought someone like Cambridge would have jumped on this first!


I don’t have any to recommend for this thread unfortunately. Pretty much every Bible I see in stores-whether they are Catholic or Protestant-are printed in China with cheap paper, cardboard covers, poor binding, tiny font, and sometimes words that are spelled incorrectly. I collect “antique” Bibles (well, if you consider Bibles made in the 1950’s and earlier as “antique”) and I generally find that they are better quality. I’m a huge “bibliophile” so I’m always on the lookout for interesting Bibles, especially Bibles from the 1950’s and earlier.

I’ll admit that the Bibles you (topic creator) posted in those links look superb and amazing. I’m not sure I would invest in them no matter how good they look though. I guess we’re stuck with buying either cheap or incredibly expensive Bibles.

My poor Catholic Living Bible is made of some of the worst materials imaginable: cardboard cover, non-sewn binding, Yet this is supposedly printed in the USA…what has happened to quality? I have barely used any of these Bibles but they already look beaten and old, like they’ve been put through boot camp. But in all honesty who came up with the idea of making cardboard Bible covers? Seriously?

Also, this may be a dumb question but how do you know if your Bible has sewn or non-sewn binding?


Also, this may be a dumb question but how do you know if your Bible has sewn or non-sewn binding?

The way I tell, is to look at the top or bottom of the text block where it meets the spine.

A sewn binding means that it has signatures or gatherings, which are then sewn, stitched together. This means that when viewed as I mention above, there is a ripple or sawtooth pattern, albeit small. If you can determine the exact center of an individual signature or gathering, you should see the threads holding it together. BTW, even though a book has a sewn binding, it will still use a layer of glue to hold the textblock to the boards.

A perfect binding (ironic name for a glued one) means that the entire book’s text block is glued at the spine. These books are usually very square at the spine… no curvature. All paperbacks use this method. Many (if not most) modern hardbacks are merely paperbacks glued into a hardback cover/spine.


Not say fine goat skin…but nice


I’ve got a Baronius Knox and its very nice. Yes it’s bonded leather, but it’s avery high grade of bondo, not the typical stuff. It’s nicer than my genuine leather Confraternity NT. It’s not premium, but it’s the best out there currently.

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