Yapp binding, also known as yapped binding, is one of a few standard types of binding for Christian Bibles. Other devotional works may incorporate this style of binding, but it is the Christian Bible for which this is known.

This style is characterized by the following features.

  1. Thin but durable cover, customarily leather
  2. Rounded corners on both the cover and the pages
  3. End papers of a solid color, customarily black
  4. Gilt edges to the pages, frequently on top of a solid pass of red ink
  5. The top, right-hand, and lower edges of the cover extend beyond the edges of the paper, bending in slightly around the edges.

An optional feature is a zipper connecting the front and back covers, allowing a reader to zip the book closed. Both the extended edges and the zipper serve to protect the thin pages from damage. It was invented to increase market penetration amongst the increasingly mobile revivalist set of the time, whose Bibles might otherwise suffer from the ravages of travel. It has since come to be associated with devotional works independent of its protective qualities, and many Bibles, from pocket versions to hand bibles are done in this style.

Yapp books are apparently named after the English bookseller William Yapp, who refined and popularized these features in the latter 19th century. The only trouble is I can't find any information about Mr. Yapp other than as a reference to the namesake of this style of binding. In fact, almost every online source that does reference him seems to be a copy-and-paste of some unidentified source text. The only other source of information I could find on him is that he might possibly be the author of the religious tract The revision of the liturgy: A letter to the Right Honourable Lord Ebury, which, for the irony-appreciative, is listed on amazon.com with "Unknown Binding."

The Yapp binding differs from the circuit edge or divinity circuit styles of binding in that the Yapp binding's cover is continuous around the edges, whereas the circuit edge has independent flaps for the top, edge, and bottom.


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