Let’s Talk About Dust Jackets

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about books and how I treat them as I read them.

If I am reading a hardcover I remove the dust jacket to read the book. If I have the option I do not buy books with damaged dust jackets. I want my book to look pristine. I check under the dust jacket to see what publishers did to the front and back boards as well as the spine.

(I also do not dogear pages. I don’t even crack the spines for paperbacks. If I am reading a paperback/arc it usually goes into a plastic bag before it goes into my purse.)

That said, the hardcover usually gets tossed into my bag and sometimes gets smudges or discoloration on it (Loop it turns out is a white book and now has a grey blotch on the back cover). If the book is black or another dark color I usually end up with stained fingers.

Recently it occurred to me that some people actually use the dust jacket to protect the book or leave it on when they are reading. If I receive a copy that’s already a little worse for wear, that’s okay. I’ll keep it. If it’s special to me I won’t “upgrade” to a new one (see my mismatched copy of Megan Whalen Turner books comprised of discared library copies and a used arc).

But if I get a book in new condition I want it to stay that way. Especially the dust jacket.

What about you? Do you read with the jacket on or off? Do you treat your books carefully? How do you carry books in your bag? (This last one is especially of interest to me as I feel like there has to be a better way than my totally busted used shopping bag strategy.)

Let’s talk about it in the comments!

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11 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Dust Jackets

  1. Dust jackets come off while I’m reading. I can’t stand broken spines and dogeared pages make me cringe. I have a special bag for my books. I don’t put them in my purse.

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  2. I can’t dogear pages. I cringe when a spine breaks. When I travel, I usually use my Nook and leave my hardcovers at home due to weight and because I don’t want my books to get beat up in my bag. Depending on the book, I will take off the dust jacket when reading. Most of the time it’s because the dust jacket keeps sliding off.

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  3. Dust Jackets on at all times, and I try to keep everything a nice as possible. I haven’t gone so far as to put a book in a separate bag, but I do usually have a bag with all my writing stuff that I put my paper books in, so they stay pretty safe there.

    One time I did try underlining a quote I really liked and it hurt my heart so much I had to erase it. I just like quotes on Goodreads now if it’s that important to me.

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  4. I am also EXTREMELY careful with my books. At the bookstore I look through the entire stack of books to choose the one in best condition. I read with the dust jacket on, but I usually carry the book by hand instead of placing it in a bag.

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  5. Once I figured out that there are so many other cute options for bookmarks, I stopped dog-earing. But I admit to having done it in the past!

    Generally I keep the dust jacket on, unless it slips around too much. Then it just ticks me off when I have to keep readjusting, so I take it off.

    And yes I carry books in my bag. Normally I put them spine down, pushed up to one side so all the rest of my junk sits next to the book instead of underneath it. But usually I take the book out as quickly as possible and stick it on top of my bag when I get to work so it lays flat :)

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  6. I always take the dust jacket off. To me, that dust jacket is what I see when the book is sitting on my shelves… I want it to stay pretty! I’m right there with you on not “using” books though. No dogears, writing, nothing. My best friend bought me a personalized embosser for my birthday, and while I love the idea, I haven’t used it yet. I’m terrified of leaving my personal stamp in my books, even if I plan on keeping those books forever. I’ll get over it eventually… hopefully.

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