Vegetarian readers and the leatherbound book dilemma

Makes me right mad to have to pass up a really nice book because my ethics don’t allow me to buy leather. Is anyone else in the same spot? Why can’t they come up with something besides leather for “nice” books?

I’m confused.

If it’s an old book, then I doubt whether your purchase will lead to the death of many animals.

If it’s a new book… I’m not aware of any books that are available only in leather, as it were.

But maybe this is a matter of aesthetics. I personally don’t find leather more attractive than a regular hardcover. In fact, the sort of leather editions I find advertised in, um, National Geographic seem phony to me. YMMV, of course, and maybe we’re thinking of different things.

Unles you plan to eat the book, why is it an issue for vegetarians?


Dead cow wrapped editions sometimes have style. Like my leather bag.

Well, not to answer for Opal but the vegetarians I’ve known who objected to this type of thing are vegan, and won’t use any products that come from animals. That includes meat, dairy, leather, jello, tons of stuff us meat eaters don’t think twice about.

Opal, as far as your question, I don’t know of any other way “nice” books are sold, other than plain old hardcover. Besides, if you don’t prefer the leather, its not really nicer to you, is it? If you really want to find a special edition that isn’t leather, as the bookstore if there are any limited edition copies available to order or something like that. I don’t know if you have Barne’s & Noble in your area, but they are usually pretty helpful about looking stuff up. Of course, you’ll probably be able to find that stuff online too.

  1. Unless the definition of “vegetarian” has changed, it pertains to what one eats (or what one does not eat). While one can certainly have a personal philosophy which involves not using products made from animals, it does not necessarily equate to “vegetarianism”.

  2. If this falls under the category of “veganism”, then where is the issue? If vegans eschew all animal-based products, then they should avoid leather-bound books. If one does not have a problem with such books, then one isn’t a vegan.

It doesn’t necessarily equate, but in this case it does. She may not have said “hey, I don’t want any animal products”, but that is certainly the point I got from it.

The issue would still be she wants to find nice books that aren’t leather bound, and is trying to avoid it.

Personally I think the choice between being bound in leather or not should be up to the book. If consenting adult books wish to wrap themselves in leather that is a choice that they should be free to make that decision for themselves. Bondage isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it sickens me that someone would question the rights of books to practice that lifestyle.


Which, again, has nothing to do with vegetarianism (note the thread title).

The obvious solution, then, is to not buy them. Ethical choices sometimes require sacrifices, do they not?

I’m not trying to be a jerk about this, or start an argument. Nor am I critizing OpalCat’s ethics. I just don’t see how the “vegetarian” bit factors into this at all. I’m a meat-eater and I won’t buy any number of animal-based products - including leather.

I don’t think your being a jerk about it. (hopefully neither was I ) After reading this last post by you, I understand more what you meant. Vegetarianism doesn’t specifically have to deal with it, but she would probably (I would think) attract the attention of others who have had the same problem. (thats my thought on it, not Opal’s of course)

Actaully, after reading this combine with your other posts, I think our view on it are pretty similar. Maybe I just didn’t get what you meant at first, or the other posts cleared it up. Who knows, its too late to think about it. :slight_smile:

  1. Just because I’m not the first person to buy it doesn’t mean that an animal wasn’t killed for it. I am extremely against killing animals for human “use”. As such, I will not buy a product that is the result of that process, if I can possibly avoid it.

  2. I never said that a book was only available in leather. I simply said that the “nice” or “fancy” editions typically are. And so my library consists of paperbacks and books with cardboard covers, and none of them are the really elegant fancy books that I’d like to have once in a while.

  3. I’m actually pretty offended that you would consider such a strongly held belief of mine to be a matter of aesthetics. Would you suggest to someone who was anti abortion that their position was a matter of aesthetics?

I’m stunned that you are this clueless. I am a vegetarian because I find it abhorrent that humans kill animals unneccessarily. WTF kind of hypocrite would I have to be to say “well I think it is morally wrong to kill an animal. Here, let me buy that book with a totally unneccessary dead animal cover.” !??!

As to your second point… are you really this dense or are you pretending? I’d guess that at least half of the vegetarians I know became vegetarians for animal-ethic related reasons. Are you completely unaware of this or are you just arguing a semantic point that I used the word ‘vegetarian’ hoping that intelligent people would gather from my post which people I was talking about, rather than titling my thread “Vegetarians who chose to be so out of concern for animal life, or anyone else who doesn’t agree with killing animals, and the leatherbound book dilemma” ? Frankly I think you’re just being dense for argument’s sake, and I’m fairly confused as to why you even bothered to enter a thread that was primarily geared toward the vegetarians on the board. And while vegans don’t consume/buy/etc any animal based product (including silk, wool, honey, etc) there are a LOT of vegetarians who don’t buy/eat/etc anything resulting from animal death. They aren’t vegans, they are vegetarians, but they won’t be buying leather shoes or fur coats, etc. As a cite, visit which sells non-leather shoes. Note that it isn’t because it isn’t only vegans who avoid leather and similar products.

I think your semantic quibble is uninformed and I’d appreciate it if you’d just knock it off and maybe, just maybe I can salvage this thread and discuss the ACTUAL ISSUE WITH OTHER ACTUAL VEGETARIANS, AS I HAD HOPED TO FROM THE BEGINNING.

You are missing the point. I can either settle for genetic hardcover or paperback, and that is it. They haven’t come out with anything special that isn’t leather. Sometimes I want an ornate or fancy book… it isn’t that I want a leather book, it is that I want a special one, and I’m annoyed that they haven’t come out with a non-leather way to do that yet.

For the record, almost any vegetarian related discussion group, community, message board, mailing list, etc that you find, except ones that are specifically for recipes (and even those sometimes) will also have discussions about leather/fur/etc and animal rights. They are inextricably linked and it is quite a fair assumption to make that vegetarians won’t buy leather. Some will, but many if not most will avoid it and quite a few will get mad at you for even suggesting it.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 16 years and I think I can say that I know the vegetarian mindset and community a bit better than you, Darwin. Despite what you want to believe, or how badly you want to derail my thread for an assumed semantic “problem” you are wrong. There is a longstanding and neverending vegetarian/leather “issue” whether you want to believe it or not.

Oddly enough I know no vegitarians with your particular ideological bent.

I would say that your presumption that your take on vegitarians, while valid, is not a default presumption (as apparently few of the respondants saw the connection.)

Chill, don’t buy leather if that’s your bent.

Smear `em in tofu.

Slight OT, but hoping OpalCat will forgive me since I bought one of her cute son’s bracelets.
Why don’t vegetarians or vegans use silk or honey or wool? No animals are killed for these things, right?
Wouldn’t wool be considered a renewable resource?
It doesn’t hurt the sheep and it grows back.
What’s wrong with using honey? And silk?
Or is it the treatment of the bees and sheep that they protest?
(Asking out of ignorance, please don’t jump on me)

I have a modest library of classics and reference material, and I sprung for the leather covered Encyclopaedia Brittanica, they smell wonderful and are a joy to use.

Get a grip on things and don’t worry about leather. Eat a steak, drink good beer, wine or whiskey, enjoy a smoke, get laid, twice.
You only live once, some people not even that it would appear.

The only way to get the silk off the worm is to kill it.

I, also, don’t know of any “really nice books” that are only leatherbound…

Exactly–that’s what I think of as ‘ornate’ books. Now a well-designed dust cover (like, for an odd example, the cover of Dave McKean’s ‘Dust Covers’) is a thing of beauty.

Glad you live in a silverfish-free environment, btw.

Opalcat, I bind books. I make “really nicely bound books” and none of my books have leather or any other animal derived products in them. I also make beautiful journals with innovative touches (embossings, hidden pockets, half french door openings, bone clasps, unique papers, all archival…etc the list goes on for quite a ways.) I make my own artist books illustrated with my prints and hand-set type. I can also re-bind books. If you are interested in any of these services or in my artist books please let me know and ill send you my email adress.


Bone clasps, but no animal derivatives? :rolleyes:

plastic bone clasps :slight_smile: sorry should have mentioned. i have both types.