This is not going to be a dystopian post, in which a supposedly wonderful innovation (like robot servants) turns into a nightmare (like robot masters). But over the summer I found myself wondering about the longevity of the new imitation leather. I've written glowingly in the past about the flexibility of polyurethane covers. They're more leatherish than pleatherish, and on the rare occasion manufacturers don't go crazy with the color combos, giving us yet another Frankenbible, I think they offer a very attractive alternative to real leather.
The only downside, though, is that they don't seem to age well. Case in point:
Above: Heat and polyurethane don't mix.
Forgive me for the cell phone picture. The ESV Slimline belongs to my friend Mike Schutt. We did a speaking engagement together, and while he talked, I did what any other self-respecting buddy would do ... I dug through his briefcase. Lo and behold, he was packing a Bible that looked like it had not quite survived an acid attack. Turns out it wasn't acid that did the damage; it was the sun.
I was kind of surprised. With that image in mind, I did a little experiment over the summer while teaching at Worldview Academy. Between lectures the classroom clears out, and students often leave their notebooks and Bibles behind. So I walked the aisles, checking to see how other polyurethane covers had fared. People who read Bible Design Blog might agonize over things like constructing protective slipcases to protect their Bibles, but high school students at summer camp rarely do. As a result, I spotted more than a few raggedy examples like Mike's.
As I've written, there's nothing like a little neglect to bring out the best in a quality Bible. Unfortunately, this seems to be one place where the imitation and the real thing part ways.
What's your experience been with the TruTones and NuTones and TuTones on the market? Have they aged well for you, or badly? Have you noticed any advantages, wear wise, in comparison to leather? I'm interested in hearing what you've experienced.
J Mark Bertrand