The Franklin Library was the distribution arm of the Franklin Press, and produced thousands of beautiful, high-quality leather bound books throughout it’s history. The Franklin Library began publishing in 1973 and closed permanently in the year 2000. The leather bound books created by the Franklin Library remain highly sought after by collectors of beautiful books to this day.
Since The Franklin Library is now closed, the only way to buy Franklin Library leather bound books or book collections is through secondary markets, either from individual sellers or through collectible booksellers — which are also found online through Amazon. Unfortunately it can be hard to find complete lists of all the books in each Franklin Library series, which is why Leather Bound Books was created: so you can easily find lists of all the books in every literary series published by Franklin Library and Easton Press.
List of The Franklin Library Book Series
Following are lists of all of the series of leather bound books that The Franklin Library produced in its quarter century of book manufacturing. Click on the name of the series for a full list of all of the books published within the series.
- The 100 Greatest Books of All Time (100 books)
- The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature (100 books)
- The Collected Stories of the World’s Greatest Writers (100 books)
- 60 Signed Limited Editions (60 books)
- Pulitzer Prize Classics (53 books)
- Franklin Mystery Masterpieces (51 books)
- The First Edition Society (72 books)
- Great Books of the Western World (96 books)
- World’s Best-Loved Books (100 books)
- Greatest Books of the 20th Century (50 books)
Franklin Library Binding
Most Franklin Library books were produced in full leather binding. These leather bound books were printed on acid free archival paper to prevent page yellowing over time. The leather bindings were stamped with gold letterings and/or designs, and the page edges were gilt in gold, which helps to protect the paper from humidity damage. These Franklin Library full leather bound books included silk pictorial end pages and sewn-in silk or satin ribbons as bookmarks.
Franklin Library books were designed and bound by the Sloves Organization, which was an affiliate of the Franklin Mint. The Sloves Organization was one of the few binderies that focused solely on leather book bindings, and they produced exceptionally high quality leather bound books for the Franklin Library — a testament to which is how widely sought after they remain today, more than a decade after Franklin Library closed its doors.
It’s important to note, however, that some Franklin Library titles were issued in other bindings, such as faux leather (leatherette) or quarter bound leather for a reduced price. These slightly lower-quality bindings were still printed on archival papers and with gilt page edges. The leatherette titles (such as most of the Franklin Mystery Masterpieces series) were bound with fake, or imitation leather. The quarterbound books were bound with a coated cloth cover, but with a true leather spine.
When searching for Franklin Press books for sale, be very careful to check whether it is a full leather bound book (most of them were), or if it it leatherette or quarter leather.
How to Tell if a Franklin Library Book is Full Leather
The easiest way to tell if a Franklin Library book is genuine full leather or leatherette is to check the bookmark. If there is no sewn in bookmark, then that Franklin Library volume is leatherette, and not full leather. You should expect to pay less if you buy a leatherette version of a Franklin Library book.
Franklin Library Illustrations
In addition to their gorgeous leather bindings, Franklin Library Press books are known for their interior illustrations. The Franklin Library commissioned fine art illustrations from known artists for many of their titles. These illustrations were commissioned to be used only for that particular Franklin Library book, and cannot be found anywhere else.
These illustrations add to the sensational book experience of a Franklin Library book, especially due to the fact that you know when you’re looking at it that you’re seeing an illustration that cannot be found in any other book out there. This help to make Franklin Library books unique.
Franklin Library Subscription Model
Like most fine leather book publishers, the Franklin Library offered it’s various book collections on a subscription basis. Each series generally held around 100 titles and customers would subscribe to a series and pay a set amount per month, and each month they would be sent a new book from that series until many years later the customer owned that entire Franklin Library series.
The books were not generally made available as single books — customers had to subscribe to the series, rather than picking and choosing the books they wished to own. Lists of books in the Franklin Library collections can be difficult to come by today, but these book lists have been compiled here at Leather Bound Books.