Types of Leather Book Covers

David Rogers

Leather book covers provide a unique and distinctive look for your case bound book. Knowing the different types of leather available will allow you to choose what cover will work best for your book project.

A quick note: if you are printing a hardcover book you have two general choices: case wrapped and case bound. Leather is only available for case bound books – case wrapped have a printed image on the cover.

Our standard case bound books are covered in book cloth that comes in a variety of colors. There are many other book cover options available as well, including linen. Please get in touch with us to learn more about the different options available.

But choosing the type of leather best for your project may be a bit confusing due to the variety of leather available. To give you a better idea of what you’ll be getting with the different types of leather you can choose for your book binding, below are the characteristics of the three types of leather we offer for your books.

Genuine Leather

Genuine leather may cause the most confusion because genuine leather is a specific category of leather – in this case “genuine” is not simply being used as a synonym for real.

Genuine leather is made from a layer of animal hide, though it is not the top or second layer that is often used in high end clothing, furniture, etc. Because of this, it undergoes a finishing process adds color or grain to the leather. This will provide a consistent look and feel to the leather.

Genuine Leather Book Cover

A genuine leather book cover with custom gold foil stamping

Because of the production process, genuine leather is an extremely durable book cover.

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather also consists of real leather, but it is actually assembled rather than simply being a layer of animal hide. Instead, scraps from other grades of leather are bonded together, often with latex, to form a new surface. Like genuine leather, color and grain are added to the other surface of bonded leather.

Bonded Leather Book Cover

An embossed bonded leather book cover with gold foil stamping

Because bonded leather is made in the tannery with real leather, you get the look, feel and smell of leather without the cost of genuine leather.

Imitation Leather

The final type of “leather” isn’t actually leather at all. Imitation leather is made from another product (often cotton) that is treated with added grain and color to look like leather. This method gives you the look of leather without the cost.

Imitation Leather Book Cover

Close-up photo of a book cover made of cotton and embossed with a kidskin leather pattern