Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Question: Dust jackets on or off?

Do you always remove the dust jacket before reading a hardcover book?  As I sit here with three jacket-less hardcover novels by my side and a lopsided pile of dust jackets sitting atop a bookshelf across the room, I am realizing that this is a very common sight around our household. On any given day, there are loose dust jackets stacked atop a bookshelf or two (or three), and I can tell which books are currently being devoured by the members of our household by glancing through those piles.

If you are a dust jacket remover too, what do you do with your dust covers while you read?  Have you ever misplaced a dust jacket or inadvertently destroyed it while it was off the book?  I've done both, which is extra silly when you realize that I'm also the crazy lady you see looking through all ten copies of a book on the bookstore shelf, searching for the one with the least-scuffed & least-crinkled cover.  I try to find the mint-condition cover because I know that once we purchase the book it will inevitably be passed from person to person, dragged along on walks to the park, shoved in a purse, loaned out to friends, shuffled around near watercolor paints and crayons, carried along on car drives, and picked up by children with peanut butter and jelly on their fingers. The dust jacket is basically the only part of the book that has any potential to remain relatively pristine over the years, so I search for the perfect cover then promptly set it aside before reading.

Because I tend to read hardcovers with their jackets off, I am always thrilled by any little unique touches underneath the dust jackets (embossed covers, shiny lettering, textured covers, lovely colors, etc.) Those types of cosmetic features certainly aren't necessary for my enjoyment of a book, but they are kind of like finding a special bonus prize in your cereal box.  So, do you keep the jackets on while reading a hardcover book, or do you take them off? If you take them off, are you interested in what is underneath? Are there any books you particularly like without their jackets?

A few random examples of happy surprises underneath the dust jackets:
 
Colorful and fun!
1. It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder (cheerful pink)
2. Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland (gorgeous purple)
3. Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White (lovely coral with an embossed willow tree)
4. Heck by Dale Bayse (bright red with an embossed devil wielding a spork)
5. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (blue with holographic lettering & an embossed key)
6. The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (secret sword cover underneath the dust jacket)
7. Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography (a false obituary on the back & my very favorite reversible dust jacket, which is designed to disguise this Series of Unfortunate Events book as "The Luckiest Kids in the World: The Pony Party")

4 comments:

Angela said...

We definitely take the dust jackets off when we read our hardcovers. Generally, they just get slipped back into the space on the bookshelf where the book belongs. We've had to take some of the ones off the books on the lower shelves though and stack them on top of the bookcase because our 17 month daughter likes to pull the books off the shelves. (You should see her sitting there 'reading' the adult books - it is insanely cute!)

Jenni Elyse said...

I always take the dust jacket off. I'm afraid I'll ruin it. I want the book to look nice, even if the book is falling apart, lol. :)

Violet said...

Angela - Aww... your 17 month old 'reading' adult books sounds completely adorable! That age is so much fun! :)

Jenni - I totally feel the same way. My copy of City of Bones has crayon marks in it, a cup ring on the cloth cover, frayed corners, and smudged edges, but the dust jacket is in excellent condition. ;-)

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