I do like the covers, but come on, SHARK SKIN? Yuck!!

Elizabeth at the Reading Copy Book Blog (the bookish blog run by the staff at AbeBooks) points to a very interesting portion of AbeBooks.com labeled ‘unusual bindings’.

Featuring 30 different books arranged in groups, with bindings ranging from vegetarian unfriendly eelskin, goatskin and python skin to the more luxurious silver & velvet, 22 karat gold and Mother of Pearl, this is definately an online collection worth exploring. The most interesting for me has to be an early eighteenth-century edition of the GOSPELS of the New Testaments (as pictured), which is intricately decorated and sheathed in a cover of sharkskin (?!?). At a little over £8000 ($12,000) though it’s a little out of my price range, but what a book to put in your collection – wow!

My most favourite, which unfortunately is now sold (not that I could have afforded its fairly reasonable £120 ($189) price tag anyway), is a 22 karat bound copy of The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, a perfect book to have bought only days away from Poe’s bicentennial anniversary.

So if you fancy adding something a little more unusual to your bookshelf, then the ‘unusual bindings’ section at AbeBooks may be the place to go. Be sure to bring that credit card with you though, because as I hinted above, something so unique doesn’t come cheap, and that’s definitely the case with these ‘unusual bindings’.

So what’s the most unusual book in your collection? I can’t claim to have anything as exotic as anything this AbeBook’s collection has to offer, but certainly one of the most unusual books I own is a 1953 edition of Medical Jurisprudence, a forensic science book full of images of the putrefied remains of murder and accident victims – definitely NOT a coffee-table book :o).

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I guess my most unusual book is a nineteenth century medical dictionary that proves, upon closer inspection, to be a sort of an infomercial for quack remedies. It delights me.