Penguin 'Leatherbound' Classics: Collector's Guide and FAQ
About the books
This series was opened in 2017 with a ‘special set of 10 hardcover classics’ designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, ‘that innovatively uses foil and a special new binding material to create a highly collectible set’. Additional volumes have been added sporadically to expand the set over the following years. The books have a repeating motif beautifully foiled on the covers and spine, an additional second related textured motif underneath the foiling, and a short quote pull-out included on the front cover. Titles are written on the spine either horizontally or vertically, depending on the width (page count) of the book. The Penguin leather-bound series matches well with the much larger Penguin clothbound classics, series, with a large overlap of titles and in some cases similar design motifs. The design of the leather-bound Pride and Prejudice is my favourite, as the choice of the peacock feather motif so clearly harks back to the beautiful vintage Victorian bindings that inspired this series.
Are the bindings really leather? Are the books quality productions?
No, the ‘leatherbound’ name is a misnomer, as the bindings for this set are ‘faux’ leather – meaning they are made of a material that mimics leather but can be considered vegan-friendly. However, the bindings do feel luxurious to hold and look beautiful on a shelf as the foiled designs warmly reflect the light. Unfortunately, the bindings are glued rather than sewn, but the pages are acid-free, and they are designed to last.
How many books in the series?
As of 2020, there are 14 volumes to collect, listed below. There are also some variations between earlier and later printings (including UK and US editions, as the latter are usually released later), e.g. Frankenstein had teal covers for the initial UK release in 2015, which changed to navy for the later US release in 2017. Alternate earlier covers are also listed below, but as they have the same ISBN as later printings, you may not be able to tell which you are purchasing online without a photo of the actual book.