Manufacturers can change their ingredients at any time so please always double check for yourself before buying anything.
Leather-bound books are wrapped in animal skin, so obviously not vegan. But what about regular hardback and paperback books?
All books are bound together with glue, an adhesive substance that can be made from a variety of materials, including animal connective tissue.
So is the book vegan? And what should vegetarians look for when buying books? This article explains it all.
Is the book vegetarian?
Most of the books are vegetarian. At one time, most books were bound in leather using glue made from animals. Nowadays, almost all books are bound using thick paper or imitation leather and man-made bookbinding glues that do not contain animal ingredients.
What is animal glue?
Animal glue is an adhesive made by boiling the connective tissues (skin, bones and tendons) of animals over a period of time. This process is similar to how gelatin is made.
What animal glue is used these days?
Animal glue is rarely used in bookbinding. Because it is inconsistent, brittle and can stain the paper. Modern alternatives include polyvinyl acetate (PVA), methylcellulose and hot melt adhesive (HMA).
Although animal glue is not commonly used for book binding today, it can be used for low-quality publications such as telephone directories or mail-order catalogs.
How to make sure your books are vegan
There is no easy way to check what glue was used in the binding of a particular book. If you’re worried about buying books made from animal waste, a better option might be to borrow books from the library instead.
Are second-hand books vegetarian?
There is some debate as to whether second-hand items made of leather are vegan. Some vegans will say that buying second-hand leather, such as leather shoes, is not vegan. They will argue that if you buy them, you are preventing a non-vegan from buying them and that person can then go out and buy a pair of leather shoes.
Books are slightly different as they are usually antique books made of leather and animal glue. If you buy an antique book, which causes someone else to buy a new edition, the new edition will be made with more modern ingredients that are not derived from animals.
It’s usually a good idea to donate the book to a charity shop once you’ve read it. That way they can be enjoyed by someone else and you are not impacting the animals or the environment.