Huh, vegan books?!

The word “vegan” may seem confusing in this context, as it otherwise mainly stands for a plant-based diet without animal products. But just like many foods, clothing textiles, and cosmetics, conventional books often contain hidden animal ingredients. To understand how books can be “veganised”, the following question comes first:

How do materials from animals end up in books?


Among other things, so-called bone glue (glutin glue) is used for binding books.

Printing Inks

These consist partly of the dye carmine (E120), which is produced from lice.

Book Covers

Animal skins are predominantly used as the basic material for covers made of leather.

One component of regular books is glutin glue, which consists of animal ingredients. These are produced by boiling out bones, hides, and leather. The raw materials are dried, crushed, degreased, and treated with a lime solution. The collagen obtained is then converted into glutin. In addition, printing inks in offset printing consist of pigments, resins, mineral oils, and additives. Organic dyes, among others, are used to produce pigments. To obtain the dye carmine, lice are bred on selected plants, “harvested”, dried, and boiled in water. In leather production, animal skins go through various mechanical and chemical processes. The upper and lower skin is removed from the hide, resulting in a “pelt”. This is cleaned, depilated, pickled with sulphur sodium, and then split by machine.

Our Materials

matabooks books are free of animal components in printing inks, bookbinding glue, and book covers. Furthermore, all processes of book production are carried out with regard to environmental aspects and sustainability. All finishing processes of the books are implemented taking into account their eco-balance.

Grass Paper

The grass paper is produced with a grass fibre content of up to 50 %, the fresh fibre content comes from FSC-certified forests and the grass fibres are also certified organic. The grass paper itself is recyclable and compostable.

Sweetgrass Paper

Sweetgrass paper is 100% wood-free, vegan, eco-friendly, sustainable, socially responsible, organic, compostable, and recyclable. The paper mill uses agricultural waste and works with farmers in India.


For the production of the books, matabooks works with water-based, glutin-free adhesives.

Eco-printing Inks

The eco-printing inks used are free of mineral oils and are therefore kind to the environment. These palm oil-free, vegan inks are based on tree resins as well as soy and linseed oil. They are also more easily biodegradable and sustainable.

Bookmark and rubber band

Natural rubber and organic cotton in Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX® are used for bookmarks and elastic bands. This excludes genetically modified cotton.

Book cover

Instead of leather, our covers are made of sustainable grass paper.

Getting curious?

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Print your project on our sustainable grass or sweet grass paper.

About us

Learn more about matabooks.