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What To Do with Dust Jackets?

Okay, you may know that I love books — reading them and collecting favorites. I'm by no means a high-end collector (no money for that), rather, I collect books I have enjoyed and either want to re-read or lend to others.

Over the years I've wondered what to do with the dust jackets that come with hardcover books. I'm not sure if I ought to throw them out or keep them. Dust jackets drive me nuts when reading hardcovers, so my gut says "toss 'em!" However, it's possible that a dust jacket could increase the price of the book, should I sell or I might love the graphic design.

What to do with dust jackets? Legendary book designer Jan Tschichold didn't understand why readers insisted on keeping dust jackets. He pointed out in The Form of the Book, that dust jackets were designed as "wrappers" meant to sell the book then tossed out after the purchase.

So, I have Jan on my side... but should I really toss the dust jacket? Sometimes I have no problem with this, if the dust jacket isn't that attractive or is damaged. However, sometimes these graphic wrappers really do make the book — especially for books like Gibson's Pattern Recognition or Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. I love these and other dust jacket designs, but dislike dealing with them while reading.

My practical solution has been to keep dust jackets I like, but park them on the shelf when it's time to read the book. That way, I can hang onto the wrappers I like, but won't have to deal with slippery covers when reading.

Any suggestions you can share? Are you a dust jacket collector or do you toss them away like candy bar wrappers? Is there a protocol for dealing with dust jackets I should be aware of? Inquiring minds want to know. :-)

Reader Comments (1)

Thanks guys! Seems like my set aside to read approach may be the best option. Your insights are much appreciated. :-)
April 27, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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