The best explanation I've read of the terms yapp and semi-yapp comes from R. L. Allan's Nicholas Gray, which you can read here: "Meaning of Yapp." Long story short, think of yapp as the edge of the cover. A semi-yapp cover will wrap around the page edges, while a full-yapp cover wraps even farther, to the point of touching or thereabout. Imagine an old-style zippered Bible minus the actual zip. Or better yet, just look at this picture:

Image0000Above: The R. L. Allan Compact Text Edition of the ESV, with semi-yapp edge.

There are two factors at work here: the extension of the cover, and the curve. A full- or semi-yapp cover is not simply one that extends out past the edge of the paper. It also curves around, as if to cup the book block in its leather embrace. The Bible in the photos, an R. L. Allan ESV Compact Text Edition, gets things just right. When executed well, a semi-yapp edge adds some Old World elegance to a Bible. 

When you compare the Bible to the hardback journal underneath, you can see how a semi-yapp cover delivers practical benefits. Not only does it feel nice in the hand, but it also offers protection to the gilded page edges. On a small Bible like this, I find it particuarlly attractive … but in all honestly, I like semi-yapp in any size cover.

The downside? Some people find that the extra leather around the edge of the cover gets in the way when flipping pages. I haven't had much trouble in that regard — but I don't often rush from text to text (on principle, not just because I'm slow). Your mileage may vary, so be advised.

15 Comments on “Semi-Yapp

  1. I’m not enamored of the ESV as a translation, but I love the bindings you feature.
    And I covet your pen.

  2. I have the ESV Compact in brown, and love the yapp. The more I carry it, the more it gets “trained”, and the better it looks and feels (in my humble opinion).
    I’m eagerly looking forward to the promised Compact v. Pitt Minion comparison review!

  3. Mark (or anyone else),
    Any idea how they get the leather to wrap around the text block in the first place? Leonard’s has stated that they don’t do a wrap around yapp .. and Ace seems to be the only shop besides Allan’s that even attempts it. But from what I have seen even Ace’s work on the yapp does not look quite as polished as Allan’s.
    I can almost imagine stacks of Allan bibles wrapped up and sitting next to wine casks in an under ground wine cellar somewhere until the yapps are “aged to perfection” ..

  4. The only Allan’s I’ve gotten that have actually wrapped the text block are the 6C and Longprimer. Even then, the photos on EB are greatly exaggerated. The new Allan 5 I’ve gotten recently has no wrap around at all. It’s just a straight piece of leather.

  5. Then again, EB or BD don’t exactly seem to keep their photos up to date.

  6. I find full yapp very attractive, but worry about damaging it when stored upright on a shelf. Do yapp Bibles have to be stored lying down? What do others think, please?

  7. How is the “curve” achieved? Good question. I’ve always assumed that the reason Allan Bibles come tightly wrapped in bands of heavy paper was to create that curved overlap, since the corners (which are not covered by the paper) are where that graceful uncurling, pinched thing happens. On reflection, I don’t *know* that this is the case.
    Unless they’re in slipcases, like the wonderful Cambridge slipcases of the 90s (?), I store all of my softbound BIbles flat with the exception of a few genuine leather volumes whose covers seem sufficiently stiff. This would definitely be the case with semi-yapp bindings.

  8. For a compact Bible, “yapp curve” can be achieved simply by carrying it in your pocket. I suppose that if you’re extremely large, even a Longprimer could be trained this way. 😉

  9. A zippered cover, a little on the tight side, will do the same thing. I like the neoprene style intended for tablet, netbook, and laptop computers.
    A little leather preservative (e.g. Lexol in the brown bottle) will hurry the process along.

  10. Can’t wait to get my hands on one of these Allan compacts. Anyone know if its printed by Jongbloed of Netherlands?

  11. I too am looking forward to the Pitt Minion comparison, I’ll hold out making up my mind till then.

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