Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hardback books and Dust Jackets?

Do you mind getting books without their original dust jackets?

I have a thing about books having their dust jackets on them. For me, it seems that a book isn't complete without it. It almost feels naked. I swap books at Paperbackswap and Bookmooch and have gotten a few hardback books without their dust jackets. I just got one recently and it's just an ugly black book without the dust jacket. It makes me wonder where the cover is and what happened to it and what did the cover art look like? I know that some people don't like the dust jackets and actually....throw them away!!! You may be one of those readers, it's your choice, and your books. I could never throw out a dust jacket, to me it's like defacing a book. I think that the dustjacket is part of the book. It's probably just a pet peeve for me and my preference. I understand that some people find the covers annoying and they get in the way. I've found some a bit cumbersome and they slip as I'm reading them. I can understand taking them off while you're reading a book but putting it back on when you are done with it, especially if you will be passing the book on. My son even takes off the dust jackets of his hardback books, he's only 10. I found a pile of them in his desk drawer once when he was younger and asked him about them. I was curious....he told me that they got in the way while he was reading and they just weren't important to him. I did tell him that they are part of the book and should go back on when he is done reading them.

Tell me, what are your preferences with dust jackets? Even if you throw them out, it's your opinion and I want to hear it.


  1. I love the dust jackets on books! They don't look complete without them - just a plain, boring book. I do take them off when I'm reading, but then put them right back on.

    I have a few books without dust jackets. These are books that I probably bought on e-Bay. They're really old books and I don't think I'll go to the expense to replace them with books with dust jackets. But they just don't look good on the bookshelves.

  2. I always keep the dust jacket. I usually read the book with the dust jacket in place, but every once in a while, I do take one of while I'm reading the book.

  3. I keep my dustjackets on my books, but some of my really old collection don't have any and it doesn't bother. If a book is from 1927, I figure it's part of the charm.

  4. Could not, would not throw out a dust jacket! I do take them off to read the book though!

  5. I love dust jackets so much that I take them off the book while reading (because I don't want them ruined), then immediately put them back on when they are put back on my shelf. Also, when a book with a dust jacket is loaned out - it goes naked! :)

    We had a flooded basement once (actually more than once, but that's beside the point) and many, many of the dust jackets of books that were temporarily stored down there were ruined. The actual books themselves were still in pristine condition (thank goodness!). Anyway, I started hunting for these books at book sales and located a great deal of them. I still have about 5 or 6 to hunt down. I bought them all for $1 each and then returned the books to the library for their next library sale (for those that don't mind that the cover is missing).

  6. Honestly, I've never thought about it! I prefer books with dust jackets, but will sometimes take them off while reading a book. Our Harry Potter series is looking pretty well-worn right now, because it's been read so much with the DJs on.

    My son does what yours does. He takes them off and I find them in his room and put them back on!

  7. MUST have dust cover...must have dust cover.( I say it as a prayer..chant.. ha ha...okay not really) I guess the exception is a classic old book that lost it's cover on the journey. .. I mean how could I discriminate?

    I read the books with the jacket on as well. Very rarely will I take it off. I have a very old Of Mice and Men with its dust jacket on it and a Mrs. Dalloway with it's jacket on. To me these are some of my prizes in life.

    At a used books sale I usually pass on books without a jacket and hold out for copies that have a jacket.

    Great topic Bonnie!

  8. I also love the dust jackets. They just help to add a little bit of color and art to the book.

  9. Oh my, I would never throw away the dust jackets. That's the cover to me and we both know how much I like covers. I do take the dust jacket off to read a hardback if it's one of those that just won't stay put. I do like to try and keep it on though just so I can keep glancing back at it. For shame to anyone who throws them out!

  10. When I am reading a hardcover book, I take the jacket off. I take it off because I don't want it to get bent or torn. I am very careful with how I store it too because if someone puts something on top of the jacket, it's gets totally flattened and then is in a sense ruined. OK, I'm a big anal.

    After the book has been read, I find the jacket and reunite it with the book. It would bother me to no end to have a book on my bookshelf without its jacket.

    So in a nutshell, you are not the only one to feel this way :)

  11. I'm with Ti about taking off the jacket to keep it from getting ruined.

    My problem is that I often lose the jacket after that. I find that I actually prefer my books without the jackets. Something about the shape and color of the book stands out better without the distractions of the marketing material.

  12. I love even old, torn dust jackets and never throw them away (although I sometimes tape them from the inside). But, I do take off the jackets when I'm reading a book. And, if I have a choice between acquiring a book I desperately want to read without the jacket and not getting a copy at all, I'll take a naked book.

  13. Thanks for all of the comments. What a great discussion.

    Lynne-I feel the same way, they just don't look complete without them.

    Kathy-I usually keep the dust jacket on as well. I rarely take it off unless it is cumbersome.

    Nicole-I agree, if it's a collector book it is part of the charm.

    Luanne-I couldn't throw one away either!

    Joy-That's a good idea to take the dust jacket off when you loan out a book. That's great that you've found most of the replacement dust jackets. I would probably do the same for those special keeper books.

    Holly-You've made a good point that a dust jacket can get pretty worn out with a book you re-read.

    Toni-That's amazing that you have the older books with the dust jackets. I pass on books without dust jackets at book sales also.

    Jo-Jo-I agree, the cover art on some dust jackets are works of art.

    Dar-I couldn't throw out a book cover either!

    Ti-I understand your need to preserve the dust jacket!! I'm so glad that I'm not the only one that feels this way!

    TexasRed-That's an interesting point, maybe that is why some prefer their books without the dust jackets.

    Bookfool-I repair dustjackets as well. I can't stand to see them torn!

  14. Hardcover books without their dust jackets seem...naked to me. I always keep my dust jackets, but I do sometimes take them off the book while I'm reading (especially if I'm carrying it around in my backpack where it could be easily damaged).

  15. Good question Bonnie,
    I love the dust jackets but I do take them off while I'm reading the book. When I'm done they go right back on. I think they look dull without that glossy cover!!

  16. I like the dust jackets on the book. But to be honest, I am reading a hard cover without its dust jacket on right now because it keeps sliding down the book while I am reading it- very annoying! So I will wait and put it back on when I am finished reading it. Like Nicole said, I think part of the charm of older books is not having a dust jacket, but the least they can do is have them so they don't slip off while you are trying to read.

  17. Hi Bonnie! I really prefer dust jackets on my books. I did receive one the other day from PBS without one, but the owner of the book e-mailed me first and asked if that was ok, which I thought was very nice of her. I took it anyway because I really wanted to read the book. My daughter is an avid reader and she takes the dust jackets off while she is reading the book and then puts them back on when she is through.

  18. I am one of those horrible people that - GASP! - get rid of dust covers. They're pretty, they're just not functional. Fist, if I take them off just while reading the book, it either gets lost or demolished. If I leave them on, they slide around on the book, and so that's no good either. Probably I'm this way because I like the look of naked books. I love the old classics with nothing but a name on the makes me think of a treasure chest, where the plain chest outside hides a beautiful treasure inside. :)

  19. I love dust jackets too, and also feel like a book is incomplete without them. I don't even take them off if they are annoying because I know that they will most likely get damaged in some way while sitting around the house.

  20. I love dust jackets, so much so that I go to great lengths to keep them in pristine condition. If a book is going to just sit on my nightstand, I'll leave it on. If I'm going to take it with me to read on the train, I take the dust jacket off, and when I'm finished with the book, I'll put it back on before I shelve it. I can't believe that people throw them away!

    Diary of an Eccentric


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